Why We Say ‘No’ to Our Clients’ Ideas


No, you did not read the title wrong. We do tell our clients ‘no’ from time to time. Why? Sometimes their ideas simply won’t work.

It’s a hard pill to swallow at times, but in the end we have our client’s best interest at heart. The greatest service that any firm can provide to their clients is strategy. Saying yes to a multitude of ideas isn’t a strategy—it is a list of tasks.
This is what separates us from most other firms. We believe in a working peer-based relationship with our clients so that we are more than doers, but a team working towards a common goal.

So, that means that as peers we make recommendations, implement adjustments and occasionally have to say ‘no’ to ideas and concepts. It’s not to bruise feelings or to inflate our own egos, it is simply the best possible way that we work and collaborate as a team to provide actionable results and enact change. Here’s how we build these relationships and help clients respect and digest our recommendations of ‘no’.


Without trust we would not be able to create websites that speak to our client’s desired audience and generate traffic. To be completely frank, saying ‘no’ requires more than a movement of lips, and instead a connection and respect between both parties.
It’s not about saying ‘no’. We experiment and explore our client’s idea and compare it to the competitive landscape, test it, and use our years of experience to decide whether an idea is truly branded as a null option.

We Explain Our Reasonings

We aren’t dictators that wield heavy clubs from high podiums with little regard to our client’s thoughts. We examine different avenues and provide our clients with detailed reasonings to back our response of ‘no’. This gives them the respect and courtesy of understanding our stance and the opportunity to counter our response and perhaps provide insight we were unable to come up with.

By studying a variety of factors such as demographics, market climate and competitive landscapes, we use the data to form our strategies and help our clients understand why an idea isn’t going to work.

We Take another Lap

Yep, we go over the client’s idea again. We want to make sure we have all the details, to ensure we didn’t miss anything the first go round. This gives our brains a much needed exercise and allows us to see things more clearly before saying ‘no.’

Our clients respect us and know that we respect them by taking that extra jog around the strategy track.

It is a Democracy

Much like the U.S. government, it’s all about checks and balances. We don’t move until we are given the okay and in the end the client has the final say.

If a client isn’t comfortable with a strategy we will ditch it and go with something that is agreeable to both parties. So, no twisting of arms or forcing clients to go with our ideas—we just don’t work that way.

In the end, if we complete our job and do it well, telling a client ‘no’ will be seen as a strategic move that benefited them in the long run. We will have worked as a team to solve the problem and come up with a logical solution, because content and ideas without a strategy is dead.
photo credit: Corey Ann via photopin cc

Leave a Reply