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General question: How to say "No"?

Hey all! First time posting here, so please forgive me if I come across as a bit awkward. I have been reading through a lot of the stuff in the A_B community for a little while now, and being someone who has started taking commissions, it occurred to me that sometimes I may have to turn away potential clients who have a troublesome reputation.

My question to the community is this: If I'm approached by an interested client who I KNOW is going to cause problems for me, how can I bow out gracefully? Obviously, I don't want to be in bad form and say something like, "Well thanks but no thanks, I've been told you're a complete (insert rude name here) and I couldn't stomach doing business with you."

So......advice, anyone? Thoughts? Thanks in advance!

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( 47 comments — Leave a comment )
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ursulav
Aug. 6th, 2011 04:34 pm (UTC)
Well, there's always "I'm a little busy at the moment and not taking on any commissions just this minute, but you could try back later."

This is a problem if you're doing, like, open commission posts, but if they're approaching YOU, can't hurt.
neolucky
Aug. 6th, 2011 09:13 pm (UTC)
Sadly the problem with that is they DO try back later! I've fallen into that rut so many times from being a total pushover...then I get stuck saying it to the same client repeatedly. It ends up becoming very awkward for both sides =\ when finally you're kind of forced to explain why you don't want to work for them.
(no subject) - poprock_grey - Aug. 8th, 2011 12:29 pm (UTC) - Expand
gizagiza
Aug. 6th, 2011 04:41 pm (UTC)
Agree with both Ursula and Volmise, that' s the sort of thing you should say. If you're professional and they get offended or throw a hissy fit anyway, well then... there's not much you can do about that. Then you don't have to respond to them anymore. :P
taelifoe
Aug. 6th, 2011 04:46 pm (UTC)
Hmm, you bring up a good point. I guess there's only so far I can take it, and then however they react beyond that is up to them.
(no subject) - gizagiza - Aug. 6th, 2011 04:51 pm (UTC) - Expand
squirrelly_kaku
Aug. 6th, 2011 04:44 pm (UTC)
Lying about being too busy to take on commissions if you say you're open is a really bad idea. It kinda puts you in a bad light when you say that, even if they are a troublesome client.

The best thing you can do is just be honest and polite. Tell them that you're sorry, but you feel that due to their history, you can't accept their commission.

Sometimes you gotta accept that you can't make everyone happy. It's alright to say no to prevent something bad from happening. As long as you're polite about it, there should be no need for you to fret about it.
taelifoe
Aug. 6th, 2011 04:48 pm (UTC)
Yeah, that's exactly one of the things that had me concerned. I'd rather be honest and up front with people, instead of having something like, "Ohh, I'm closed right now, sorry!" when I may have just posted something about how open I am for commissions. Thanks for your advice!
aerospiritual
Aug. 6th, 2011 04:47 pm (UTC)
I'm really looking forward to the responses here; this was actually a question I was literally /just/ typing up to submit to the comm.

it's a little tricky to think of something appropriate to say to a reputedly troublesome commissioner when you're advertising a whole bunch of open slots. what one person told me in the past, was to just wait for the slots to fill by other people and to just tell them that you're full. or that you just closed up due to time constraints and some of the complexities of the other commissions.

but I really don't know; I don't like to be dishonest and it's a pretty awkward situation that I too, would love to read some feedback on.

Edited at 2011-08-06 04:48 pm (UTC)
kadaria
Aug. 6th, 2011 04:55 pm (UTC)
How about "I don't think I am the best artist to be handling your commission. Thank you for your interest, but I must decline.". The only caution I have about this sort of decline is being certain that they really have this bad reputation and it's not just hearsay. Having proof is nice because when they press the issue you can link them back to their AB beware.
cissa
Aug. 10th, 2011 08:53 pm (UTC)
Yes, this. It's very difficult for them to argue that you are indeed suited to do their commission- though some will try, and you can just keep repeating the declining. :)

If pressed too much, I just say "I am not confident we can work well together, and it's very important to me that my clients be happy with my work. I think you would be happier with someone else's." (In my case i mean that if they want Wal-mart designs for less than Wal-mart prices, they should hie themselves over to Wal-mart and stop bugging me. :P )
notorious_hunty
Aug. 6th, 2011 04:58 pm (UTC)
"I appreciate your admiration for my work, but because of your past feedback, I'm afraid I cannot accept your commission."

That's how I'd say it. Lying and saying you're busy is asking to open a can of worms.
(no subject) - fenris_lorsrai - Aug. 6th, 2011 05:08 pm (UTC) - Expand
wolf_goat
Aug. 6th, 2011 05:13 pm (UTC)
I disagree with a lot of people here I'm afraid. I would not talk about any past histories. People are always friends with loads of other people, no matter how much of a douche they are, and if you make comments about their "past history" there's a good chance you're poisoning a bunch of people you don't even know from coming near you. It's not good business. Why would you intentionally do something inflammatory?

The best way to handle it, imo, is either "oh I'm very sorry, I'm afraid I'm not taking new commissions right now" (if they approach you) or if it's some kind of open post, you can either lie and say you've just filled up (if you are certain you can get away with that) or you can ask what their idea was and then tell them you don't think you can do it justice for blah blah whatever reason. Leading lines like "I'm sure you can understand...["that I would want to do the best work possible and give you a picture you're truly happy with", for example]" are great for getting people to happily accept things like that.

But yeah, that's my two cents. Other people might have more qualms about being dishonest, but in my view, business comes first. Be nice, and keep 'em happy, even if you're turning them away.
oceandezignz
Aug. 6th, 2011 05:15 pm (UTC)
"Please accept my apology, but I don't believe I am the best artist to assist you in your project."

To me, if you're going to decline someone, do your best to make it so they have no way to weasel in, in the future. Don't use words or phrases like 'currently' or 'at this time/moment' because that will just invite them to ask you when you WILL be, which is ultimately what you want to avoid!
gizagiza
Aug. 6th, 2011 05:20 pm (UTC)
This is the best response I've seen so far imo. Putting the fault on yourself rather than them is always easier for them to swallow.
kairi_koitra
Aug. 6th, 2011 05:17 pm (UTC)
Maybe just "I'm sorry I recently filled up my open slots so I really do not have time to take another at this moment. Please give me a few weeks/months to catch up and then maybe we can work something out." Or you can wait until they post their idea and say that "I'm really sorry but I don't feel comfortable with this type of a commission with the complexiety or content. I just do not feel I can give you my best work on this. I hope you find someone else."

At least your letting them know that you've acknowledged them and things, plus its not out right lying to them its just saying no but with a nice tone about it. not sure if this helps or not though.
hellebore
Aug. 6th, 2011 05:18 pm (UTC)
I just say No and if they keep persisting, I don't read notes/emails from them. It's that easy. Let them throw a fit, but don't let it get to you, either. I did this with Hirtes and never had lashback.
bailzzararco
Aug. 6th, 2011 05:20 pm (UTC)
If I were approached, I wouldn't want to say they were black-listed. I think I'd go with a "gosh, thanks so much for your interest, but I don't think I can do this one...it's out of my usual comfort zone, and I wouldn't want to disappoint." and then ignore any further pestering, or just keep saying "sorry, gotta pass." Maybe you could also put something in your TOS that you are a member of "artists beware" and will not do business with anyone with unresolved issues there. That way, they'll know in advance why you'r not even acknowledging them. Maybe that'd put the kibosh on them even asking.
kayla_la
Aug. 6th, 2011 05:23 pm (UTC)
"Thank you for your interest! But I'm afraid I must decline, though I am flattered you would want to do business with me."

I'm not a big fan of lying and pretending to be too busy because then they get the impression they can get something later, and might come back, and then you have to keep lying... and it'll look bad if you take other people's commissions.

You don't have to be apologetic or anything. Just firm in exercising your right to not do business, and no need to start drama. If they ask why, I would handle it on a case by case basis, but the whole point would be to not give them room for argument.
kayla_la
Aug. 6th, 2011 05:24 pm (UTC)
I also have a 'I have a right to refuse service to anyone' clause in my TOS.
(no subject) - fatkraken - Aug. 7th, 2011 03:35 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - mandyseley - Aug. 6th, 2011 06:23 pm (UTC) - Expand
whereisourcrown
Aug. 6th, 2011 05:26 pm (UTC)
The best way to respond is to be as TRUTHFUL as possible because saying things like you're full or do not have time currently is not a rejection. It gives the troublesome client a reason to harass you further down the line. You'll either have to tell them the REAL reason you don't want their money or keep up a string of lies.

If your reason for turning them down because of their reputation, your best bet would be something like, "Thank you for taking interest in commissioning me. However, for personal reasons I don't feel comfortable accepting you as a client. I wish you luck in finding another artist to fulfill your request and appreciate your understanding in this matter."
vauvakolibri
Aug. 6th, 2011 05:31 pm (UTC)
Maybe something like "I'm sorry, but I'm afraid I wouldn't be comfortable working with you". Whether you point out their history or not is up to you though might prevent them of asking why you're not comfortable. Also agreed with oceandezignz and the "don't lie" thing. Don't say you're not doing commissions if you actually are (seeing if the person keeps hanging around your site and sees you uploading commissions, they may feel need to call you out) and if you say your list is full or you say you might open up later, it just gives them reason to keep coming back and contact you again.
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