Just Say “NO”…Nicely

The word “No”, it is surely one of the shortest words in the dictionary.  BUT  those in the quilting business must acquire the ability to say it confidently and clearly.  I know, we always hear “stay away from negative words”, but when it comes to customer contact, networking, and growing your business it is imperative to understand that it is okay to say “NO”…nicely.

In case some of you out there need some examples of when it’s appropriate (or alleviates your guilt) to share that word, here is a short list.

The Okay to “No” List (according to Lisa)

When asked to use red thread  on the top of the quilt, and white thread in the bobbin.

If you don’t think the color choice is going to work it’s okay to give your opinion.  I would hope customers would appreciate your input and concern for the outcome of their project.  You are only giving a suggestion, and if it helps you sleep better at night for heaven’s sake “Say what you gotta say!”…nicely.

When your customer feels that quilting their king size top should cost $60.00 to complete.

It is ultimately YOUR time, and what does YOUR time mean to you? It’s okay to kindly indicate the price YOU feel is appropriate (that’s if you want to quilt a king size top in the first place).  But if you know that the price and size aren’t to your liking kindly tell your customer no…nicely.

You are asked to give a lecture, very exciting.  The lecture is 5 hours away and they want you to speak for 2 hours, is it really that exciting?

Perhaps it’s considered exciting if you feel that after adding up all your expenses, and time taken to do the lecture you can find some margin of profit that would be beneficial to you.  Again there is absolutely nothing wrong with feeling that the distance just doesn’t meet the criteria that makes it a worthwhile venture.  Decline the offer by saying no…nicely.

Your quilt has caught the eye of a client who asks to purchase you prize-winning quilt for $400.00 dollars.

This should really be an easy “no”.  I realize that it is very flattering when a customer, or fellow quilter, is in awe of what you have designed. It’s especially attractive in regards to a project that’s been highly recognized and given a pretty blue ribbon.  However, the love, and sweat you poured into this amazing piece is way beyond $400. 00 if not priceless.  So give careful consideration when tempted to part with the quilt that has won “Best In Show”; be mindful of the dollars you are going to receive in exchange for the art you have created and probably will never forget.  You needn’t respond like Wonder Woman (although you may want to), but humbly say thank you and no…nicely.

Uttering the word “no” is not easy, but it needs to be communicated.  When I say communicated, I mean spoken “nicely” to that particular individual.  It’s not what you say to those around you, but how you say it that matters.  Done in a polite, respectful manner, the word “no” can be a very beautiful, short, and sweet expression.

Do you have a hard time saying no? Or maybe you can’t even fathom telling someone “no”.  Please share your experience on how you have/haven’t come to terms with that forbidden one syllable word.

8 thoughts on “Just Say “NO”…Nicely

  1. I have problem saying no to something fun that I don’t have time for. Usually quilt related for my guild. I am getting better. I don’t have a problem with my business as a quilter. I have set prices and have no problem letting people know. Yes I sell, make quilts and these are my prices. If you do teach, say, Yes I do lectures/classes and these are my prices. Let me check my schedule and Get back to you. A lecture 5hours away involves charging the client for the lecture fee of $400 to $600, mileage, and hotel overnight. That is the going rate in my area. Make it worth your while. Or just say you are booked out time wise.

  2. For me it has come with experience & maturity. If I am taken off guard I have learned to deflect–such as I will need to check my schedule, I think I am unavailable that day etc…….. Which gives me time to time about it!

  3. Oh, I was AWFUL at saying no for years!!! But I finally learned this little slogan to tell myself when I am battling, “It is time to be politely rude right now.” Because I feel like I am being rude in some way, but it okay in my head to do it politely!!! It works for me!!!

  4. I learnt to say no as early on. My mother had always said yes to everything, running herself ragged in many ways. I knew I didn’t want to do that. The first time I said no was one on my greatest treats to myself, and I showed myself some respect with that word. I was asked to become the treasurer at church. I hate accounting and (sorry maths friends) maths and knew it would be the proverbial noose around my neck. I think I was doing them a favour too. I would rather share my gifts with people when I choose and be in the right frame of mind to do it. I think every one benefits.

    I totally agree with charging people what you think your time and quilts are worth. The couple of times I have not done this, I felt like I let myself down. When it came to increasing my quilt teaching prices, I was told that wasn’t a good idea when everyone else was (at that shop) and mine were the cheapest and longest courses they ran. It was insulting when I put my whole heart and soul into giving my students the most and best value for money I can every time. The fact that I got more money for about half the time teaching at a symposium was a real eye opener!

    Have a great day.

  5. This was timely. This afternoon i had to call a friend of a cousin who wanted a t-shirt quilt. I said No so nicely. You would have been proud.

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