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Saying no is easy—but expensive

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Oftentimes it seems there’s more risk in saying “yes” than “no” to a client’s concern or inquiry. For that matter, anyone who comes to you asking for a fix or solution is easier met with a negative than an affirmative response. That’s because with “yes” comes additional time and effort on your part. But what if you changed your mindset? What if the risk were actually in saying no?

Ultimately, there’s a lot less work for the employee who says no (think compliance departments). If you say yes, you may have to do more work and then take a risk for doing that work. And frankly, it seems that some service people don’t see the benefit of saying yes. It’s too much work. But eventually, much less work may lead to no work (especially if you’re in an industry providing services to clients).

What if service people were given incentives for saying yes to clients and docked for saying no? I guarantee they’d find ways to say yes more often and, as a result, provide better, more personalized service.

    • “Yes, I can change that for you.”
    • “Yes, I can do that for you over the phone right now.”
    • “Yes, I can add that to your order.”
    • “Yes, I will talk to my manager about doing that for you.”

Perhaps you could say “Yes, I can do some hard work for you even though it would be easier for me to just say no.” The result? Happy clients who will share you with others because of the above-and-beyond way you have tended to their needs.

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Maribeth Kuzmeski is the founder of Red Zone Marketing, LLC, which consults to Fortune 500 firms on strategic marketing planning and business growth. For more information, go to