How to Dismiss a Client With Finesse

CPC Business Development

By Stephanie Clark.

An earlier blog, on accepting client rejection, generated a question about how to dismiss a potential toxic client, with finesse. (Thank you to Janet Barclay for asking a question that truly begs to be answered!) After all, as service providers we must conduct our business with professionalism and with a commitment to building, rather than burning, bridges.

This is an excellent question, and one that is not easily answered.

There are as many potential scenarios as people; each situation will require a slightly different approach, and thus one must have to think rather nimbly! With a few ideas to launch the thinking process, you will be better prepared.

  • A simple answer might suffice for some. For example,

“I really don’t feel that I can best assist you,” or

“I am quite unprepared to work in that area,”  or

“That’s not an area that I am qualified to work in.”

  • Of course, there are those who don’t like to take “no” as an answer, and you may have to be a little more strident in your response. For example,

“I honestly feel that there is a disconnect between what I offer and your expectations. I am certain that with a bit more research you will find exactly the right person for your project.”

  • And then there are people who hang on like bulldogs with nary a thought of letting go.

“Let me give your request some thought and I’ll get back to you.”

Now you must marshal your resources: conduct a bit of research, for example, by posting a question on our CPC forum. With thought and expert advice, you can then devise a strategic reply. So as not to engage in further verbal discussion, I suggest emailing the response, which must be written with no hint of possibilities, and a definite note of finality.

Not all conversations are pleasant and easy; self-employment demands that we develop many abilities. Stand firm. It is after all YOUR business, and yours to direct and grow as you see fit.

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