How To Say “No” To A Potential Client


You’d think that two simple letters would be much easier to say, but when it comes to saying that one small word to potential clients, it can be HARD.

Believe me, I’ve been there, too Buttercup! 

There were too many times as a photographer that I made the mistake of taking on clients either because I needed the work or because I didn’t know how to say no, even if I KNEW that we weren’t a good fit.

I finally reached a breaking point and realized something:

>>Life is too short to work with people who aren’t a good fit for you.<<

*It wasn’t about the money anymore. Saying no was for the sake of my time and sanity!*

Boo boo, I’m here to help you learn from MY mistakes, so you can avoid the freaking miserable feeling that I experienced one too many times. Here are two ways that you can say NO without feeling guilty:

Tell it to them straight

“It’s not you, it’s me.”

Have you ever heard (or said) that phrase? Well, it applies to more situations than just dating!

Here’s what I would say to a potential photography client upon realizing that we wouldn’t be a good fit after having a meeting:

“I don’t think that I am going to be the photographer to document your special day in the way that you desire.”

You can also go the extra mile and suggest other options for them to explore, such as a professional referral.

*And yes friend, honesty works in other industries too!*

Give yourself a backdoor option

When I was just starting out in my business, telling someone “no” right off the bat and letting them find another option was the route I took. 

But as my business grew and I began to offer premium services, my market changed to more luxury clients, so I needed to provide more of a solution if I told them no.

Any time someone reached out to me and I wasn’t sure if it would be a good fit to photograph their wedding, I would tell them during a meeting that I have another client interested in that same date, so I couldn’t commit to anything without running it by them first. 

>>Leaving this backdoor option open gave me time to process my thoughts and decide whether or not I wanted to take on this client.<<

If I decided not to, I wouldn’t be blindsiding them because I had told them from the beginning that it might not work! 

Also, because they were high-end clients, I provided at least three other recommendations for them to check out so I wasn’t leaving them high and dry.

*Cushion the blow, ya know what I mean?*

Listen, Buttercup, no matter how hard it may seem to tell someone no, my advice is this:

>>Your intuition is never wrong. EVER.<<

If you have this feeling in the pit of your stomach that you are not the right fit for someone, then you’re exactly right.

Trust your gut and just say no! You’ll be glad you did.