Who are my people pleasers out there? You know who you are—when making waves feels more like a tsunami. You hate conflict and try to avoid it all costs. I’m one of these people too. In my personal life I’ve learned to confront things head on versus never saying anything, but setting boundaries in my business life is still a challenge that I’d rather not have to admit to. But for the sake of transparency, I will be honest and say that I’ve had a hard time saying “no” to a client a time or two.
Setting Boundaries in Business
The lie we tell ourselves:
Saying “no” to a client means we are going to ruin her wedding day. Saying “no” means she will hate us forever and leave a bad review. Saying “no” will turn my wedding planning company into a nonexistent business.
Why this is silly:
I’m not sure why we are so afraid to tell a client “no”—nicely, of course. Is it because the phrase “the customer is always right” has been ingrained into our subconscious? I’ve been in the wedding industry for quite a while now, and I’ve been taken advantage of a few times—I’m not going to lie. When it was just me, I was more inclined to just give in to a client’s desires rather than make a fuss. But once I had a team to think about, I didn’t want them to give away any freebies. The fact is that freebies detract from the work-life balance we all strive for. When you give freebies, your time with your husband and kids gets sacrificed and in the end, the client seldom appreciates those sacrifices.
Changing Your Mindset
Saying “no” doesn’t imply giving a lower standard or less of a client experience. It simply reaffirms the boundaries between business owner and client. To prevent clients from overreaching, I like to prepare them ahead of time. As a formality, I go over the contract at our initial meeting. A good contract is essential for creating strong boundaries. If there is ever any overreaching, I tend to say “per our agreement…..” This will help a bride remember her role and your role in the wedding planning process. Then, once I’ve booked them, I send a welcome email reminding them of my policies and procedures. Making sure they understand what your role is will help them understand their role. No one likes a guessing game, so make sure to explain everything right from the beginning. We provide a sample welcome email with policies and procedures in our Wedding Planner Foundations course.