How to say No with a Yes

Still Too Busy [Nikon D5, Sigma 24.0-105.0 mm f/4.0, ISO 100, ƒ/4, 1/500]

Still Too Busy

This photo illustrates my inner frustrations when I am asked to do just one more thing or someone wants to add something to my load. The cops do not see the big sign saying “Still Too Busy” but are there to arrest me for not complying.

Usually, there are two answers for a request–1) Yes and 2) No. Sometimes you even can supply more information to the person asking to see if they will withdraw their bid.

There are some legitimate responses that most people would take back their request. Say today is your wedding anniversary and you have plans you should tell them. Maybe you have nonrefundable tickets to an event you have planned for a long time.

I will never forget a moment when I was shocked when the person I was saying no to wanted complete access to my calendar to call everyone to reschedule so that I would do their project.

At that particular time, I was reporting to 5 different directors. I needed a hand big time to pull me out of this difficulty.

[Nikon D4, 28.0-300.0 mm f/3.5-5.6, ISO 200, ƒ/9, 1/125]

I wish I had known then what I know now. What helped me was to see this from the requester’s perspective.  When I said no, I wasn’t helping the client at all. If they still needed it done, they would find someone who could make it happen, and often then, I would usually no longer be used for future projects.

When I was in a staff job, I often said no because I didn’t have time with all the other things on my plate. As a freelancer, I was saying no because they were asking for more without offering more pay.

Had I learned this tip earlier in my career, I would have become a more valuable team member when someone would ask me to do something; I would now be saying how I want to help them. I would be saying YES–IF.

Yes, I can make that happen for you if you tell me which of these other projects I can delay or not do to be able to take on this extra work.

As a freelancer, I am saying YES–IF you decide what on the list we were shooting comes off because I don’t have time to do all you have, or I might be saying yes if you agree to the extra XYZ cost.

My new goal since learning this technique is to say yes as much as possible and to be sure the client is the one saying no, not me.

As a freelancer, the client asks me to do something, and my response is I would love to help you. The additional cost to make this happen is XYZ. Just sign right here to the changes on the contract, and I will make it happen.

The client will then respond great or no; we cannot afford to do that. If they have to have this done, then you are not the reason it gets done; they don’t have the resources to make it happen, or maybe the request then no longer necessary.

As a staff person, I am not asking for more money. I am taking the burden of what is on my plate and the difficulties of making it happen back onto their plate.

My boss asked me to take photos of their event; in the past, I would have said no, I am already booked. I now say I am already covering another event at the same time. I am more than willing to have this event covered. Which event do you want me to cover, and would you like me to get another photographer to cover the event I cannot hide?

Saying No makes you a problem!
Saying Yes Makes you a problem solver!!!

When you say no, the person requesting your help will have to find someone else. Had you said yes, their problem is solved.

Today when I get a request for something, and I am already booked, I always offer to find someone for them. One of the best ways to keep those clients returning is to handle the booking of the photographer and have the photographer work as a subcontractor for you. This way, they show up to shoot the project, and you handle the billing. This way, they continue to come back to you.