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3 scripts for dealing with past clients

bossy-mug-how-to-say-no-to-past-clients
Photo source :: I’ve been eyeing this mug for a while.

First, let’s talk about the importance of saying ‘no’.

When you’re first starting your business, I believe that saying ‘yes’ is how you build your business. However, once you get to a certain point — maybe you’re booked solid, you’re reaching your income goals each month, or whatever it may be that makes you feel like your business is killing it — you get the choice of saying ‘no’ to some clients or projects that don’t get you super excited.

If you fill your client roster with a bunch of clients you aren’t really excited to work with or aren’t paying you well, you’re not leaving any room for those clients and projects that make you love what you do AND pay you top dollar for it.

But then, you start to struggle with whether or not you should say ‘no’ and how to say it without burning any bridges. I know… the struggle is real, folks.

This question landed in my inbox from Amy F., a new email subscriber, so I figured I’d answer it for everyone. Just in case you’re going through the same thing right now.

Amy asked:

One issue I struggle with is how to say ‘no’ to people whose requests don’t fit with what I do. Some of them might even be past clients. For example, I struggle with whether I should do their cheap spring break trip (I tend to focus more on destinations more far afield, such as Europe, South America, Australia) just because I’ve previously planned their custom 10 year anniversary trip to Italy. It feels mean, or like I’m not taking care of my past clients…. Suggestions?

I’ve put together 3 different situations where you may need to say ‘no’, and what to say in each situation.

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Script #1 :: To past clients asking for a service you no longer offer:

Hi (name),

It’s so great to hear from you again. Hope you’re doing well.

Unfortunately, I’m no longer offering (insert service they’re asking for).

I absolutely loved working with you, though, and would love to work with you again. Here’s how I can help you in the future:

Insert list of things you do now

Let me know if you need my help with any of the above. I’d love to whip up a quote for you. 

Hope to hear from you soon!

(your signature)

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Script #2 :: To past clients asking for a service at a price you no longer offer:

Hi (name),

It’s so great to hear from you again. Hope you’re doing well.

I would absolutely love to work with you again. Just so we’re both on the same page, I wanted to make sure you knew my updated rates. Attached is a 1 page pdf describing my services and new rates.

I absolutely loved working with you and hope we can work together again.

Let me know if you have any questions.

Talk soon,

(your signature)

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Script #3 :: To past clients you no longer wish to work with (for various reasons):

Hi (name),

It’s so great to hear from you again. Hope you’re doing well.

Thanks for reaching back out to me to work together. Unfortunately, I’ve got a packed client roster at the moment, with no wiggle room for new clients.

I don’t want to leave you stranded, so I’ve rounded up 3 potential people that I know and love that may be able to help. 

Person 1 (with link to their site/portfolio)

Person 2 (with link to their site/portfolio)

Person 3 (with link to their site/portfolio)

I hope you can find someone out of those 3 that can help.  

Let me know if you have any questions.

Talk soon,

(your signature)

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Well, there you have it.

3 ways to say NO to past clients for a few reasons. Whatever the reason may be, just remember that you DON’T have to work with a client just because you have in the past. If they’re asking for something you don’t offer, not wanting to pay your new rates, or were a PITA client in the client before, politely decline their request and offer something in return.

TELL ME

What’s a sticky situation you’ve been in (or are in) and you weren’t sure how to respond? Or got another question for me? Send me an email or leave a comment below. These make the best blog posts.