Saying No To A Client

There are some red flags to watch out for when accepting new clients.

“Have You Ever Said No to A Client or to New Business?”

So, I’ve been asked this question a number of times, I thought I would do an AMA video. 

Have I ever said ‘No’ to a client? 

So, the short answer is, “Yes, often”.

Especially now in the later stages of my career.

The truth of the matter is, it’s a very tricky position to be in, especially starting out in business, to have to say ‘No’ to a client.

You want to grow, you want the additional work and revenue and to build your portfolio, have additional testimonials and case studies, etc… 

After many years in business, my litmus test for adopting new clients often falls on how well the prospecting phase went, and no matter how badly I may be tempted to say “Yes”, if they do not pass my initial test, I’ve learned it is far, far better in the long run to say ‘No’. 

So, here’s a few example questions from my test.

Was communication clear and concise from the start?

Were your messages replied to in a timely manner or was it like pulling teeth to try and get answers from them?

Were they more focused on price versus value? 

The former being somewhat of a red flag if all they see are dollar signs and look at you as costing them money versus being an investment that’s going to make them money.

Finally, do they speak negatively about others? 

It has been my experience that there’s a common denominator when chatting with a prospect who bad-mouths previous or existing partners, agencies and contractors and it’s usually the prospect. 

As tempting as it is to pick up new business when it comes along, it is important to be prudent in your selection process and ensure they will not become more trouble than what they’re worth, down the road.

Many times in my career, I have found the lowest paying clients are often the squeakiest wheels and will ask you for the world and if you can kindly provide it at a negotiated price. 

Exercise caution and run through a similar question set of your own the next time you have a bad gut feeling about a potential new client.

Weeding out the riff raff and working with the right clients will make all the difference in the world to your frame of mind, your day-to-day and your business. Cheers.

Student Feedback


Kevin O'Leary

Shark, Dragon, Entrepreneur

“Anything you can do to enhance the productivity of your marketing in the digital world is extremely valuable, and Mike has the credibility to do this.”

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