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Tradies: How To Say No

We often talk about how we can improve business: fine-tune our customer service and become more efficient with our processes. But when things are going well and you’re in demand, it can pose a different problem: stretching yourself thin.

It’s hard to say no, isn’t it? Whether you have a returning customer or you’re keen to impress a new client, saying no isn’t the easiest. While saying yes and seizing every opportunity might seem like an easy ticket to success, unfortunately, taking on too much work can often mean sacrificing performance and the quality of your work environment.

That’s why it’s important to understand that you can turn down new opportunities if your workload is at capacity, as it will ultimately benefit your company long term.

“I see trade business owners and builders trying to keep everybody happy and do what they want – often at the expense of themselves, says Small Fish’ Jon Dale. 

“Your customers will put pressure on you to give them what they want – they don’t care or don’t consider the impact it will have on you but it does have an impact so you should learn how to say no.”

When should you say ‘no’?

According to Dale, there are usually three scenarios that warrant turning down business:

  1. Stress levels – When you have too much on your plate, and you’re trying to juggle clients, it can take a mental toll on you. 
  2. Time – Staying back after work or leaving the house an hour earlier is valuable time that could be spent with your loved ones.
  3. Profits – If your staff have to stay back after work, it’s usually not worth it. You have to pay them overtime without charging the client extra. 

How to say ‘no’

According to Dale, you need “a prepared line and an alternative.” 

When you turn down business, it’s important to offer a solution. If you’re unavailable on Monday, but free on Wednesday, suggest that time. Forcing it when you know it’ll be a stretch can end up a terrible experience for the customer. How many times have you sat there waiting for a tradie, only for him to show up 2 hours later because he got caught up at another job? That job didn’t run three hours over, the tradie just tried to fit in too much. 

Equally, if you know you can get the job done, but it will result in paying staff overtime, Dale suggests letting the client know and including that in the quote. “You’d be surprised how much less urgent it becomes when they have to pay,” Dale adds.

At the end of the day, there’s nothing wrong with turning down business. In actual fact, it can make sure your client has a smooth experience and doesn’t have negative feedback.

Looking to start your own business? Head to Qualify Me! to see how a tradesman coach like Dale can give you the keys to success.

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