We don’t like to make assumptions around here, but there is one we are willing to go out on a limb for and it’s that making sure you have happy clients is at the core of what you do. Because, when we think about the amazing pros in this community, it is full of people who will go above and beyond to help make their couples’ wedding days the best ones ever. But, the other thing we would go so far as to say? It’s that, at some point, almost everyone has found themselves in between a rock and a hard place when that couple you love actually asks you to do something that is out of scope. So today, we wanted to share some communication tips and swipe copy to help you hold your boundaries without making a fuss that your couple might have crossed a line. Read on to get what you need to confidently respond to clients when you receive out-of-scope requests (and hold that line!).
Why even small out-of-scope-requests can be a problem
You might be thinking about all of the small ways you have willingly done something out-of-scope for a client and wonder what the big deal is. (You are, after all, in the business of pulling off what sometimes seems impossible!) But, here is the thing, while you might sometimes choose to do the extra thing because it’s what you want to do, there is a difference when you are asked to provide extras. Take these two scenarios into consideration:
You are on a consultation call with a potential client that was scheduled to be 30 minutes. And, you find yourself hitting it off with them and really wanting them to book you but they still have a few questions. You decide that letting the call go for an additional 15 minutes is worth it because it might be what gets them to request a contract.
You are on a consultation call with a lead who doesn’t feel like the right fit but who has a million questions. You want to help even though it’s unlikely you’ll get hired but when you try to end the call after the scheduled 30 minutes, they say they have one more question. You let them ask it but it seems to have opened the floodgates and all of the sudden an hour has passed.
How do you feel after each of these calls? (We’re guessing pretty good after the first and pretty frustrated after the second.) We know these examples are benign, but they do demonstrate how extra phone calls, meetings that repeatedly run long, additional revision requests, or a poorly timed ask that requires a trip back to the flower market can turn a simple ask into a scenario where you feel like you are forced into giving more of your most precious resource—your time.
How to respond to an out-of-scope request
Needing to say “no” to clients can make even the most confident wedding pro feel uneasy because the right words never seem to spill out. But, when it comes to protecting your time so you can ensure that all of your clients are getting the best customer service you can give them, an out-of-scope request is certainly on the short list of things you might need to draw a line for and say “no” to. So, when it comes to formulating your response, here are some of our top communication tips to keep in mind:
Pro-tip: The first thing you should do after getting a request that feels like it might be out-of-scope is read through your contract to confirm that it is. Doing so will also make it easier for you to clearly communicate why the request is out-of-scope if it gets to that point.
- Use the communication channel you are most comfortable with. If the thought of saying “no” to someone’s face is enough to keep you ever responding, consider sending your reply via email or giving them a call
- Think about delaying your reply (just a bit!). Making someone wait 24 hours for your reply when you usually get back in touch within a few hours is a subtle way of communicating the request is out-of-scope
- Keep your response simple and, if possible, give them another choice that is in scope
- If saying yes to the out-of-scope request inhibits you from providing services you are contracted to do, communicate that. You can use phrases like “no, but…” or “yes, if…”
- If the request can be accomplished with additional budget or resources, say something along the lines of “in order to make that happen…”
Don’t know where to start with your response? Here is some swipe copy you can tailor to your scenario:
Hi [client’s name],
I received your request yesterday and it is a great idea! I definitely think it will add to the overall design and I wanted to discuss what it will take to bring those to life. We are just one week out from needing to go to print in order to get your invitations out as planned, so at this point in the process, the additional round of revisions will push things back by two weeks. Also, there will be an additional design fee of $350 since you have already received the drafts outlined in my contract. Does this sound like a good plan to move forward? Let me know and I will get working on the updates!
Finding yourself needing to say a “hard pass” to clients and want to know what a lawyer thinks you should do? Read more about how to say “no” to clients confidently and politely!
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