How to Say No to a Client

by - July 26, 2016

There are many people out there who's role in life is just plainly to disturb others.  Whether it's just being flat out annoying and rude or something more sinister and creepy as in making sexually charged or violent comments.  No matter what the reason, these people are someone we want to say no to when they enter into our lives.

As a people who do things "on the fringe of society", such as tarot reading, we tend to attract more "kooky" characters to us than say, someone who sells house insurance.

I will say, though, I haven't had to deal with many people I've had to say no to, but it helps to have a plan just in case you do. 

So here are a few strategies I've found that work:

Strategy One: Being Polite

The Troll:

Let's say you have a Faceook page where you get your clients and a message pops up on your phone.  You see it's from a possible client, so you click on it.  At first the questions seem normal, but eventually after getting into a longer conversation, you notice they are making fun of you.  This one is easy, you just block them or ban them from your page or account.  No need to say anything, just *click* and they're gone.

The Religious Troll:

These guys think it's their mission to let you know that tarot is evil and you're going to hell.

Again, easy, just block them and be done with it. No need to say a word.

The Angry Customer:

Someone may feel ripped-off by your price (even if they haven't gotten a reading from you yet).   If they have, there is nothing they can truly complain about (just make sure you actually gave them exactly what was advertised or discussed) because they entered an agreement with you when they agreed to pay.

So, politely say privately  "I am sorry my reading didn't resonate with you.  As with anything in my line of work, there are no guarantees.  If you feel I misled you, I am sorry, but we agreed upon this (write what you agreed upon) and I delivered exactly what we discussed."

IF (and only if) you feel like this person will ruin your business by badmouthing you or if you feel they are a good client and you wish to work with them again, you may offer them something to make up for it (a free one-card reading, half-price next reading, etc.)

But instead if you feel that this person got exactly what they asked for and they're just trying to get something for free (and you feel your business can take a hit of bad publicity for a moment), then stand firm in the above message.  Let them know you are sorry that their reading didn't resonate with them (this puts the responsibility for this situation squarely on them, where it deserves to be) but you don't offer refunds (consider putting this on your website).  If they continue to harass you, do as above and ban/block them.

The Non-Believer

Good news, you don't have to believe in the tarot to know it exists.  You can hold the cards in your hands.  You can see them.  Feel them.  Touch them.  Smell them.  I don't know why you'd want to smell them, but you can if you want to.  They'd probably smell like cardboard.  But go ahead.  Smell them.  I'll wait.

Okay, so, cardboard, right?  I thought so.

Anyways, so yeah.  You get a message "The tarot isn't real".  You could reply "Do you want to smell my cards to prove they're real?" but that might make you look like a weirdo.

Instead, you can reply with something like "Of course they are real, I can use my five senses to experience them, so therefore they are physically real.  They have mass.  They have volume.  But what I am thinking you are referring to is that you don't think they're magic.  Good news, neither do I!  They are cards.  There is nothing magical about cards.  We don't live in the Harry Potter universe, where sticks can cast magical spells.  No, instead we live in a world where cards with pictures on them can universally speak to every single person looking at them by using the Jungian psychological idea called archetypes.  Here are some links to archetypes and how and why they speak to our subconscious.  My cards can't tell the future or predict anything at all, but perhaps I am using the wrong cards?"

Okay, that wasn't as polite as much as it was snarky, but still.  It's a nice way to stop a non-believer in their tracks.  They can either stop talking to you all together or it can open a conversation to something deeper (and may even end you up with a new client!).

Strategy Two: Being Hardcore

Do you feel threatened by your client in any way, shape or form?  Then get away from them as fast as you can.  If they are sending threatening messages on social media, then REPORT THEM FIRST before blocking...if you block first, then you can't report them.  If they are threatening you for real?  Call the cops.  Take screen shots and send them where the officer tells you to (I've called the police on people on Facebook before and had to forward my screen shots).

THIS is why I stress using an alias, a professional name, a pen name, etc. when you do just about anything online.  There are too many weirdos out there and this helps to protect you and your family (check out my post about Protecting Yourself Online).

I have had christians tell me that if they knew me or who I was, they'd find me and kill me because the bible says "thou shalt not permit to a witch to live" (this was back when I was pagan and back in the early AOL chatroom years...).  I have no idea if that's actually in the bible or not, but I don't think this matters to crazy people LOL  So again, anything like that happens to you, DO NOT HESITATE TO CALL THE POLICE.

With that being said, this almost never happens.  So do not let this deter you from putting your business online.  I have never, in all my years since those AOL chatroom times, had anyone talk to me like this.  I have had people tell me "Tarot isn't real!" but that's just about it.  I just had to add this just in case anyone else out there has had something happen.

In Person

-I once had a man I just did NOT feel okay reading for.  So I made up an excuse and told him "I am sorry, but I just had a family emergency come up and I need to go, but I will call you to reschedule."  I never did, obviously.  And with cell phones having a vibrate feature, you can fake any call you want!  (this worked once to get out of riding with a drunk driver, as well!)  Every time I got near him, my stomach felt sick.  Never hesitate to walk away from someone who makes you feel sick or scared.  Many times I didn't listen to that little voice in my gut, and it never turned out well.  I am not saying every single person who makes you feel strange will physically hurt you, what I am saying even if one of them does?  It's worth saying no to every single person who makes you feel bad.  I am all about safety before I am about tarot or money.  If it bothers you to meet anyone in person, stick to online readings instead.

-In person I had a woman become rude with me while I was reading her cards (she honestly was the only one I had do this in the 25+ years I've been reading).  I politely said "I am so sorry, but I don't feel like you're really enjoying yourself.  Why don't we put this reading on hold for now and pick it up at a later date?"  If they pre-paid, offer them a refund, minus your gas if you drove there.  If they didn't pay yet, tell them to not worry about the payment, even if you drove there.  It's better to walk away from a situation like that than it is to waste your time with a jerk.  If they offer to be nicer, you can choose to stay or go--depending on whether you believe them or not.  Most people who are being rude will not get nicer but some don't like to be called out on their shit, so they may back off.  It's up to you and how you feel.  Never feel bad about having to walk away.  You deserve respect and nobody has the right disrespect you.

-Once I read for a totally insane person, (you can read about it here) and I just texted my hubby the entire time to come and get me (he dropped me off...never EVER do a reading in stranger's home alone, NEVER!).  So I just hurried my reading and told them it was on the house because they were my (insert number here) customer! LMAO  OH god, it was scary and horrible.  I laugh now about it, but I wasn't laughing them.  If they had pushed to pay me, I'd have let them, I just wanted out! But they didn't, so I ran outside as soon as I was done to wait for him to come get me.  I couldn't tell them now because I made a bad choice.  But learn from my mistake rather than making the same one yourself, and after that stupid choice?  I never read in anyone's home ever again.  I've had people come to my house (though these were people I mainly knew--but not completely, some were my online tarot students, and some were friends of friends) and I've read in their places of work, but mostly I read online, which is the safest place, in my opinion.

For me, that's all I've ever dealt with.   And I've been doing this a very, very long time.  So luckily I've almost never had to deal with annoying or rude people or hurtful people.  What about you?  Have you had to deal with any clients you've had to tell "no"?    Share your story below.

And remember: never feel bad about having to tell a client "no", because your safety and sanity is worth more than a reading or money.  

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