The Power of Saying “Yes”
As a dad, business owner and on occasion, “glass is half empty” guy, I routinely say no. No to toy requests, business model considerations and boring restaurants. “No” can be deflating and helpful in some ways, depending on the context and how old you are.
Businesses often protect and insulate themselves by saying “no.” No, to special requests, payment options and anything outside of the lines. Just think how airlines use no to drive billions of revenue (“no, sorry you can’t change your ticket without a fee”).
Service firms from my experience often have a similar mentality, and that is a shame. Whether it is a 2-person landscaping company or a firm made up thousands of consultants, we should only say no when we really need to. We should be saying yes, because they (meaning clients) really need us to. Service firms after all are beholden to their clients. We are getting paid because of our knowledge, skill set and ability to do something that has monetary value to someone else, whether it is a business or homeowner or just average consumer dude. So why do we say no so much?
A very important client (they all are though, right?) asked us to do something outside of our core competency, in a tight time period and during a time that we had little to no resources to make it all happen. I should expand that their needs were not even related to what we do for them but their other agencies and partners failed or couldn’t assist them. So as the CEO I am battling two masters: my employees and my clients. The funny thing is we all just realized we needed to say yes and help them because that is our job. We had plenty of suitable excuses to tell them no, but they needed us, and what good is an agency that prides itself on our ability to move fast and deliver for our clients but fail to deliver on that promise?
A few days before another great brand asked us if we could help them out as their main marketing agency could not. While this is a loaded conversation in and out itself, we had no choice but to say, yes we can help.
So we said yes on 2 circumstances where “no” was the easy reaction. Our business is plenty strong so we don’t have to take on any new clients and projects. However, that is how we are building the team, culture and company as other service firms continue to dole out invoices better than they do service.
So how do you respond to a difficult request from a client? “Yes” really is not only the right thing to do (most of the time), but saying “yes” can prove whether you are a vendor or a partner. Of course, saying no can also do the same thing – but that is a different kind of post.