Trust Your Gut and Say “No” to Bad Clients

In today’s episode of Silence Is Golden, Troy and Simon are going to talk about that all-powerful two-letter word WordPress consultants need to get better at using: NO. And, specifically, how to say “no” to bad clients before they have a chance to wreak havoc on your life and business.

Watch the episode, check out the highlight reel below and make sure to get your copy of the free Clarity Worksheet mentioned during the show.

Watch the Video

Commandment #2: Thou Shalt Learn to Say “No” (:30)

How many of you have taken on a project, knowing full well that:

  • The client was going to suck?
  • The project was going to drag on and on?
  • The money made would in no way compensate you for the time, energy and stress that you expended on it?

Say No to Bad Clients - Commandment #2

Stop wasting your time on clients that aren’t worth your time — no matter how badly you feel that they really need this website but have no budget. If you want to stop being the pinball getting smacked around by everyone in the game of life:

You need to learn to say “no”.

Say “No” to Open Loops

Clients aren’t the only things you should be comfortable saying “no” to. Open loops can be just as harmful to your productivity and profitability.

The Client Scorecard Framework (2:20)

How do you know which clients are the ones you should say “no” to? Troy and Simon say you should check in with your gut as you assess the quality of life you’d have working with a client.

Take out a piece of paper or open a Google Doc and let your gut provide the answers to The Client Scorecard:

1. Does your client have a realistic budget for their expectations?

2. Are you passionate about this project?

3. Has the client respected your process so far?

If you answered “no” to any of these questions, then it’s time for you to exercise your right to say “no” to the client and job.

Simon Kelly Say No

What Else Do You Say “No” To? (3:25)

Troy has a lot to gripe about, but he sums it up well when he says:

“I’m saying ‘no’ to everything except for what’s in my schedule for the day.”

When Dana Malstaff joined Agency Mavericks in Santa Monica for the live event earlier this year, she said:

“Stop being helpful and start being impactful.”

Sometimes WordPress consultants forget this when they encounter a prospect they know they can help but has no budget. Just because they’re in need doesn’t mean that you have to be the one to help them. Return to the Client Scorecard if you’re ever in doubt as to whether you’re making a mistake.

Agency Mavericks Live Recap

Want to get a glimpse into the valuable gems given away at Agency Mavericks Live in Santa Monica? Catch the recap now.

Did You Say “Yes” and Regret It? Tell Agency Mavericks About It (5:00)

Troy invites you to share your bad client/project from hell stories with Agency Mavericks. In other words:

If you’ve ever said “yes” to a project when you knew you should’ve said “no”, we want to hear all the gory details about how it bit you in the a$.

To share your story, you’re going to need to grab a piece of paper and write it all down. Then, put it in an envelope and send to:

Mail To:

Troy and Simon @ Silence Is Golden

6 Alexandra Ave, Elsternwick VIC 3185

Troy and Simon will read them on a future episode of Silence is Golden.

Get Yourself a Bigger “Yes” (7:40)

A lot of the times WordPress consultants fail to say “no” to bad clients is because they don’t have a big or strong enough “yes”.

In order to define your “yes”, though, you have to get clarity on what it is that you do. Ask yourself:

  • What is your vision?
  • Why is that your vision?
  • Who is your ideal client?
  • What is your sweet spot?
  • What do you actually do to bring your vision to life?
  • What does the 12-month road map for this mission look like?

Get clarity on what you do and it’ll be easier to say “no” to bad clients.

The Golden Nugget (12:40)

One of the toughest questions to answer is:

Who is your ideal client?

Peter Freeman talked all about Niching for profit on episode 181 of the Agency Mavericks podcast.

Peter Freeman Agency Mavericks Podcast

Tool of the Week (17:10)


If you have no immediate need for the Tool of the Week and it doesn’t get you closer to realising your vision, don’t buy it.

That said, Troy and Simon think it’s pretty rad, so give it a quick look before you decide what to do:

Gravity Forms

Troy uses Gravity Forms to generate leads and applies conditional logic to automate the next steps in the process. This enables him to get the right kinds of clients signed up for discovery sessions without having to lift a finger.

Want to see Gravity Forms’ conditional logic in play? Simon walks an example of how to onboard new clients more efficiently with it.

Let’s Get Unstuck

The first question to “get unstuck” isn’t a question at all. At 20:50, Leslie Surel says:

Leslie Surel

Nothing else to do here is to applaud Leslie for trusting her gut when saying “no” to what surely would’ve been a bad client.

At 22:40, Natalie Zisman asks:

Nat Zisman

Troy paraphrases the great Dan Kennedy:

“Work with people you like on projects you enjoy for the fees you deserve because life is too short to do otherwise.”

Or, as Simon says:

“There are no bears hunting you.”

Wrap Up

Head over to Facebook and join the Digital Mavericks group. You’ll find other WordPress consultants experiencing the same fears and roadblocks to success as well as those who’ve gotten past them and are willing to share their lessons learned.

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Suzanne Scacca

Suzanne Scacca is a freelance copywriter whose work has been featured on WordPress and web design blogs like Elegant Themes, Pagely, and A List Apart. She believes in the power of good quotes, timely statistics, and simple, easy-to-follow language that speaks directly to the pain of the audience.

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