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October 11, 2016

For Photographers: Saying no with Grace

Hello, sweet photographer friends! It’s fall wedding season. Are you drowning in it? Are you riding the wave with ease, having fully prepared yourself the season before? I’m somewhere in between, but leaning toward the latter, finally.

Today, I want to talk about saying “no”. Since adding another baby to our family almost 3 years ago, “no” has been my most favored and my most challenging word. While I’ve found much more comfort in my continual pursuit of “no” (knowing what you best yes is, really helps with this), finding the language to convey a definitive no without sounding harsh took some time. With this in mind, I’d love to share a few real life examples of when saying no was a challenge for me, but I said it anyway, and I said it with love and grace.

saying-no-with-grace

Scenario One: A sweet friend of mine asked me to be involved with a ministry (that I love) on a regular basis. My heart ached over this one, y’all. I longed to be involved in every way possible. My initial reaction was YES, which clearly indicated that I needed to take a step back and consider everything at stake. Carolina Tru is in preschool 2 half days and 1 full day per week. That’s 3 weekday mornings that I don’t have my baby with me so that I can work. Had I accepted a position within this ministry (that I love dearly), I would have lost one of my precious 2 remaining weekday mornings with her. My children are my best yes, so declining this amazing offer was was the right choice for me and C. Appropriate language for this type of situation: “Thank you so much for considering me for this ministry! As you know, I hold these women/men/kids ETC near and dear to my heart. This season of my life is a busy one, and I feel strongly that I need to be spending the morning with my baby each week, and not serving the church. She is my best yes, and she will only be little once. While I would love to serve, I just can’t add another commitment at this time.” Simply explaining this, being honest and sharing my heart was sufficient enough justify my decision of “no”, and my sweet friend fully supported my decision.

Appropriate language for this type of situation: “Thank you so much for considering me for this ministry! As you know, I hold these women/men/kids ETC near and dear to my heart. This season of my life is a busy one, and I feel strongly that I need to be spending the morning with my baby each week, and not serving the church. She is my best yes, and she will only be little once. While I would love to serve, I just can’t add another commitment at this time.” Simply explaining this, being honest and sharing my heart was sufficient enough justify my decision of “no”, and my sweet friend fully supported my decision.

Scenario Two: A local vendor that I just adore emailed me with a great idea. It was a collaborative event for exposure, without compensation. First, let me say that I’m all about the right kind of exposure. However, as a businesses woman, I know that exposure doesn’t pay the bills, so to speak, and the wrong kind of exposure can negatively impact any business. This was a tricky situation because it certainly wasn’t the wrong kind of exposure, it also wasn’t exactly the right kind of exposure. After weighing all the options, I felt that the event wasn’t in line with the KMP ideal client and the vision of our company. We have a very, very small niche that we joyfully serve and didn’t feel that this event would attract brides of our niche. This “no” was very difficult because I love and respect the vendor friend who had invited me along, and hope to work with her again in the near future. However, I had to be forward thinking and stick with our core values and brand message.

Appropriate language for this type of situation: “Thank you so much for considering me for your project! It’s always an honor when a fellow vendor reaches out to collaborate. As you know, we serve a very specific type of client/bride/couple. I don’t feel that the proposed project is perfectly in line with our ideal client and overall business vision/brand/core values, and will need to pass at this time. Again, it’s an honor to be considered and do I hope to work with you again in the future.”  Honest. To the point. Full of grace.

Scenario Three: The price shopper. We’ve all dealt with price shopping in our businesses and it’s never fun. You’ve worked hard to set prices that you believe you are worth. You’ve run the numbers, you know your cost of doing business, your overhead, your taxes ETC. You’ve spent years learning, investing heavily in your gear, you have a specific style and a look that no one else in your area does. You’re worth it. I’m worth it and I believe it, do you? If you’re past the portfolio building phase of your business (and even if you’re not) it’s ok with say no when people ask you for a discount. Just this past week, I had a groom literally email me the financial details of another husband/wife photography team in my area and ask me if I can “beat” that. No, sir. No I can not.

Appropriate language for this type of situation: “Thank you so much for your honesty regarding your photography budget! Due to demand, we do not offer discounts at this time. However, I think so & so might be a great fit for you! You can view his/her website here …. Best of luck to you!” While you may be letting them down, you can also soften the blow by proving trusted referrals that will be in their price range. Honest. To the point. Full of grace.

I hope these few examples from my day-to-day life/business experiences will help equip you to make meaningful decisions, and perhaps soften the blow of “no”. I’m rooting for you, friends!

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