Saying “no” is daunting in itself, especially if you have to say it during a phone call or in person. With an email, however, you can take the necessary time to craft the perfect refusal, one that will maintain the professional relationship between your accounting firm and the client. It is good practice to create a refusal email template to reduce the time spent on writing emails, so this article shows you how to structure one. Here is how to say no to a client in an email.
The 5 building blocks of a refusal email
Regardless of your reason for declining a client request, if you follow this specific structure when you craft your email, you can start saying “no” to new clients or existing clients quickly and effectively.
Start with an appreciation of time and work
Show your appreciation for their time and their interest in working with you/the firm. You want to start the email positively by acknowledging how much you value their business and then show them that you understand their certain need or issue.
Break the news
Deliver the news of rejection as early on and as quick as possible in the email. Be clear and firm in your decision. Don’t leave anything open to interpretation that can raise the client’s hopes.
Follow this up with your explanation
When thinking about how to say no to a client email effectively, it is all about explaining why you have to decline. Give them an honest and proper reason that will help them understand the rejection and come to terms with it.
Offer alternative solutions/help
If you actually want to work with the client, suggest other ways of partnership or discuss how you can maybe work together in the near future. If you want to cut most of your ties with them, try to help them find an alternative solution to get what they need to be done.
Close the email
A proper closing should leave a favourable impression on your client. The idea is that, although the client will be disappointed with the refusal, they’ll see you as helpful for finding them another solution and caring for the effort that you made.
2 example email templates
How to say no to a client in an email? Here are two email templates that you can use and tweak to craft your own perfect refusal email.
The examples I have given are for new clients. With existing clients, just make sure to make the emails more personal, such as asking them how they are and mentioning details of how much you enjoyed previously working together on a successful project in the introduction.
Template 1: You can use this if you would like to decline the request but still leave the door open for future communication and opportunities.
Hi [name], Thank you so much for taking the time to reach out to me and for your interest in our business. We really appreciate you putting your trust in our services. Unfortunately, at this time, we are not able to fulfill your request for you [insert reason: time restraints, not a good fit for the firm etc]. However, we will get in touch if circumstances change because you align with our firm’s values and goals perfectly. We would be keen to work together when the timing is suitable and we would appreciate it if you kept [insert accounting firm name] in mind for future partnerships. If you have any other questions, please feel free to reach out to me. Yours Sincerely [or a sign off of your choice], [Name]
Template 2: You can use this if you would like to decline the request and are not interested in any future work with the client.
Hi [name], Thank you so much for taking the time to reach out to me and for your interest in our business. We really appreciate you putting your trust in our services. Unfortunately, at this time, we are not able to fulfill your request for you [insert reason: time restraints, not a good fit for the firm, etc]. Should things change, I will, of course, be in touch. In the meantime, however, I would like to be available to you for any specific guidance that you may need to find a solution for the work that you are looking for. If you have any other questions, please feel free to reach out to me. I’d be very keen to help. Yours Sincerely [or a sign off of your choice], [Name]
Do you know how to say no to a client in an email?
These example email templates are just for guidance, it’s up to you to tweak and construct the perfect ones for your accounting firm.
Although saying “no” is hard, just remember to be firm and clear in your refusal, be as helpful as you can be, and decide whether you want to keep the door open with the client before you write and send your response. If you do, you need to leave them with a positive and memorable impression of your firm.