Saying “no” to a potential CAS client can make you feel like the bad guy… and nobody wants to be the bad guy. However, not every prospective client is the right fit for your firm. There are many reasons why you might decide to reject a client or business, and you shouldn’t feel guilty about it. Instead of wasting energy and resources on difficult or unprofitable clients in 2024, let this be the year you learn to say NO.
More business means more income — what’s not to love? Actually, there’s a lot. Approaching business with this mindset can cost your CAS firm more in the long run, draining both your resources AND your energy. You might choose to say no to a client because they don’t match your ideal client profile. Maybe you don’t feel that you have the specific expertise they need or maybe you already are stretched to your limits.
You might also be met with a client you’ve worked with before. Say you worked with this person before and they were always calling you outside of office hours — it’s perfectly understandable to not want history to repeat itself.
Whatever your reason may be, it’s alright. At the end of the day, you know what your firm does and doesn’t need. So, how do you navigate a rejection?
Don’t Put it Off
Dragging your feet to respond to the prospective client will only worsen things. If you’re going to decline to work for them, be quick and be direct. It would be best if you also made it a point to respond in the way that you’ve already been communicating to this client. If you’ve only communicated over email, an email is an okay way to reach out; if you’ve met in person, then this might need to be a face-to-face conversation.
Tell Them Why
The client doesn’t need a fifteen-page essay on why you’re rejecting them, but a simple explanation can be welcome. You have your reasons, after all, and you have nothing to hide or feel guilty about. Keep it short, but let them know how you reached your decision.
Say “Thank You”
Manners matter. Parting ways on good terms can help prevent any bad reviews or negative conversations around your business. Maybe next time someone asks this client for a CAS referral, they’ll remember how professional and kind you were even when having a difficult conversation.
Give Them Some Options
One way you can go above and beyond in your customer service is by providing alternatives. Do you know another CAS firm that would be a better fit for this prospective client? Give them a referral!
Stay Poised & Polite — No Matter What
In conversations like these, you can’t predict how the other party will react. Sometimes, emotions take over. People raise their voices. People say harsh things. In the age of social media, it’s also incredibly easy to hop online and spam a business with negative — and sometimes even hateful — comments and reviews. It’s important to remember one thing: the only person you control is yourself. If you handle negative reactions with poise and professionalism, onlookers will take note and probably take your side to boot.
Have you ever had to say no to a potential client? Let us know in the comments how you navigated the conversation successfully!