Saying no to customers

Saying no to customers

At a Nurture Talent webinar two weeks ago, a participant raised the query, “How to say no to customers?”. In my experiences with 10,000+ Indian entrepreneurs, I have felt that we find it very tough to say no to people, reject proposals, negotiate hard or give up something. In some ways it works in our favour and helps in keeping existing business or getting new ones. But in many other situations, it leads to loss of profits, or in extreme situations, closure of the company. Let us see in what ways can entrepreneurs say no to customers:

Request to get back

When you have to say no, it is best to request for more time and revert with a thoughtful response highlighting your reasons for the reply. It leads to cooling off at both your and the customer’s end.

Need partner’s consent

There may be a situation where you have to avoid a certain customer (for example, your product is not ready yet). Instead of saying no or giving false promises, you can put it as a decision that would require your partner’s consent.

Use email or sms

If you cannot say no to the customer face-to-face, then use digital media. You can use email or sms to send the message that your products or services are of value and cannot be made available for free.

Give choices

When you give choices to customers, you give choices to yourself. If you do not have a product that customers need, refer your competitor or some other vendor and gain loyalty of your customers. Next time before they close a deal with your competitor, they will take your reference!

Offer freebies

We have seen various pricing strategies, like free gifts along with silver, platinum and gold packages. This kind of strategy helps you segment customers and allows you to put a price to your product/services. It is important to keep upgrading your customers as you grow. Remember, your character is built by taking sides, not by being in the middle.

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About the Author

Amit Grover, founder of, is an IIT Delhi and IIM Indore alumnus, having more than 12 years of industry experience. He started Nurture Talent Academy, and earlier worked with Infosys, Asian Paints, Onida and Mumbai Angels. He regularly blogs on AHA Taxis, his recent venture, offers one way outstation travel across India.

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