Insight from the Wedding Planning Institute: Saying No
I’ve been told that I do a fabulous job telling potential clients thanks, but no thanks. The line I actually give them is, “I think you and I speak a different design language,” and then I send them on their way. That may seem glib, but doesn’t that just sum it up sometimes? It’s not easy to tell an enthusiastic client that they need to choose a different designer, but to me lying is never an option. I’m never rude, just short and sweet. The best part is I know in my bones that every time I say no there was no other alternative than to let this client sail into the deep blue night without me. I’ve made my instincts my master and I don’t disobey them. My art suffers when I am working for the wrong client, and I believe my soul suffers, too.
If you want to honor your creativity you must trust your intuition and not make fear-based business decisions. There will always be more clients. Saying yes when it’s just not a right fit causes you to change who you are for your client, something a creative person should never do.
Refusing a client, however, should not be the result of a poorly conducted consultation so work hard to hone your interviewing skills. Learn to listen to clients and watch for their nonverbal cues. This will enable you to turn around many meetings that start out rocky. Building creative rapport with a potential client takes intense focus and stamina fueled by passion for your craft. The best client’s enthusiasm rises to the occasion. If there isn’t mutual energy between you, or if no spark ignites, trust that gut feeling—a mix of dread and lightness. Learn to say no to the wrong client.
By Amanda Allen
Amanda Allen is co-owner of MMD Events and an instructor with Lovegevity’s Wedding Planning Institute at St. Petersburg College.