Have you ever sold a project that while you were selling it, you have a feeling this might not go well, and then later, while you were doing the project, it didn't go well?
Well, if you're like me and most small business owners, you're not alone.
You've probably done that several times to figure out which projects are a yes for you, which ones are a good one.
But what many people struggle with is saying no, saying no to those projects when you're meeting with those clients, because hey, as a small business person, we're here to take care of clients and serve them. But saying yes to things that are not a good fit is actually a disservice to your customer and it can tarnish your reputation and profits. So in today's episode, I'm going to share with you an easy formula for saying no to clients without being a jerk and how you can teach your staff to do this too.
I learned customer service at a young age from my mom
I grew up learning about customer service from my mom. She was a real estate agent and I at a young age of eight or nine or however old I was when she started that business, I would go and do showings with her and hand out flyers to people. She would bake cookies around Christmas time. She would make chocolate for her clients and I would help deliver it. So I was raised around her and I saw her answer the phone and smile on the phone. And I asked her why. And she said, because it helps you sound friendly and people will enjoy talking to you. So taking care of people is just part of who I am. It's something I've been around my whole life. And I know many of my clients love taking care of their landscape clients. It's one of the best parts is the relationship with your client.
We all want to serve customers, AND, saying "no" is part of the job
So we all want to take care of our clients and serve them at a very high level, but that can easily get mixed up with trying to please everyone and being afraid to say no. Now saying yes to a client when it should be a no is actually a disservice to them because it could go poorly and then what's going to happen to your reputation then? Wouldn't it have been better to just say, "You know what? I don't think this is the best fit for me. I recommend somebody else," earlier in the process? Saying yes to everything can also lead to big projects that eat up a lot of time and stress and bandwidth from your employees. And if you're saying yes to projects that you don't really have the systems for or the skills or the staff or the tools for, that can burn out your people and they'll be more likely to quit.
Put No On The Table With A Verbal Agreement
So I want to share with you the way that I learned to say no to clients from my sales coach when I was at a... I literally did door-to-door sales at a dairy farm as a milkman, door-to-door sales, selling milk delivery. So I certainly heard no a lot, but I also learned how to say it to potential customers in a way actually made them want to buy from me more. So my sales coach at that time was Hugh Little, and he's somebody that I still keep in touch with. And he shared with me the idea of a verbal agreement. And it would sound something like this: "Hey, if during our conversation, I realized that milk delivery isn't the best fit for you and your family, would that be okay if I let you know that? Okay, thanks. I mean, a lot of times it is, but occasionally we're not able to help people. And if you learned that, what we do isn't a fit, would you be okay just telling me "No, thanks"? Great, because the last thing I want is to waste your time or make you feel like you need to buy milk delivery when you'd really like apple sauce delivery or whatever it is."
Right? So that verbal agreement, put no on the table, it gave me an out. So that way, if I'm learning in the sales process that it's not a fit for me, I'm able to tell them no. And it also makes them feel really comfortable because they can tell you no. And telling people no is a key part of a healthy relationship. It's actually a really good thing. If you can't tell people no, do you really have a relationship with them? Sounds like a weird relationship to me if you can't.
Do Your Employees Know How To Say No?
So as a business owner, you've probably gotten pretty good at this over the years. And if you haven't, it's time to develop this skill. And even if you have it, maybe the people answering your phone or the people on your team who are talking to customers, maybe they don't know when they can say no, and you should train them. You should teach them. You can use some of that verbal agreement that I just shared with you.
Join Us At The Upcoming Webinar!
I'd love to see you at our upcoming live webinar. It's How to Say No to Landscape Clients (Without Being a Jerk). In this live interactive workshop, we'll share the shocking, hidden price of saying yes, there's a big price tag, real case studies and video interviews with landscapers who have learned to say no, scripts and templates to train yourself and your staff how to say no.
Generate Enough Qualified Leads That You Can Be Picky
And in order to do this, we're going to share with you how to generate enough qualified leads that you can be picky about the projects that you take on. But it all starts with you, the owner, and you need to adopt the leader's abundance mindset, so you can see that there's enough work to do that you don't need to stress out and try and sell to everybody. Why saying no actually improves your close rate with new clients, your retention with existing clients and ultimately protects your reputation. And surprisingly, why doing fewer sales meetings by meeting only with the qualified ones can actually alleviate the amount of hiring and people you need on your team. My name's Jack Jostes, and I look forward to seeing you at our webinar. So register online at landscapersguide.com/events.