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Saying No to a Client Can Be Saying Yes to Your Business

By: Sandy Saburn, CTIE[/caption]Whether you are in the building stages of your business or have been doing this for a while, one of the most valuable assets you have is time. As a result, you should guard your time like the precious resource it is. Even the simplest of tasks can rob you of time you could have spent on something that yields better results.Travel entrepreneurs have to be especially vigilant. There is so much out there to grab your attention. Webinars on beautiful properties! A new ship with unbelievable amenities! Stories about what’s going on in the news! Facebook alone can steal hours from your day. But here’s one you might not expect me to include: Prospective clients who aren’t your ideal client who want to book outside your area of specialty.If you are starting a new business and someone wants to do business with you, you should always say yes, right? Not necessarily. Even the simplest of bookings takes time. Sure, you might make money on it, but is that amount of money greater than the benefit you would have gotten from spending that time in other ways?Our American culture is obsessed with being busy. If you aren’t busy you aren’t working hard enough. What’s wrong with you, anyway? But being busy isn’t the same as being productive. You can sit in front of a computer all day, but that doesn’t mean you accomplished anything. You might actually accomplish more to sit outside and stare at the clouds. That would free your mind and you might be more creative and productive. It’s one of the reasons your clients should go on vacation!Unfortunately, this belief in always being busy means we have a hard time saying no to things we probably should say no to.You may be asking yourself, What’s the harm? The client is happy and will likely refer others to me and I make some money. Perhaps that’s true. Perhaps the client will refer people to you. But will they be your ideal clients? If they aren’t, you are just digging a deeper hole to climb out of.Perhaps what is driving you is fear. You are afraid that if you say no to this client you won’t have any others – and that’s a lot more common since clients have been few and far between over the past year. The rational part of your brain tells you that’s not true, but fear is powerful and causes you to say yes when you should have said no. When fear is in the driver’s seat things never turn out well.Probably the most common reason that travel entrepreneurs aren’t more protective of their time is that they aren’t quite sure what to do. This is particularly true early in the life of the business. You know you need to be “building” the business, but what exactly does that mean? Isn’t it working with clients so they will book with you again and refer others? Not necessarily.This is one of the reasons having a niche or specialty is so important. When you have a specialty and understand who would benefit from your service, you understand your target audience. Then your task becomes getting in front of them. If you have a good marketing plan you will know what you need to be doing.But if you don’t have a specialty and you just take whatever comes along, you have a reactive business. Everyone becomes your client. You are hoping for business rather than driving it. This is the most exhausting and least profitable way to work.When opportunities arise, I encourage you to stop and think: How will this contribute to my short- and long-term business goals. And also ask: Is this the highest and best use of my time right now?Listen to your intuition. It will tell you whether to say yes or no. Of course, there are lots of reasons to do things that don’t directly – or even indirectly – contribute to your business goals. But getting in the habit of questioning whether or not you should do something will help you make better decisions.