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The Power of No - How Declining Clients Can Enhance Business Growth

Matej Budimir, Business Development Manager

For a service-oriented, software development company like ours, sales is a component that drives business growth and revenue. At Serengeti, we prioritize the quality of our partnerships over sheer quantity. Establishing long term partnerships, understanding the needs of our clients and aligning our services with their goals is the driving factor of our business.

During negotiations with a potential client, we evaluate many more factors than just revenue potential. We evaluate compatibility in terms of values, long-term objectives, and the potential for collaboration that extends beyond the initial project. This allows us to allocate resources effectively, ensuring that we devote our time and energy to partnerships that align with our company's vision and mission.

Each encounter with a potential client presents a chance to grow and to foster a mutually beneficial partnership. But in order to ensure growth and success, it is important to recognize that not all potential clients are a god fit to business, and there are instances where declining an opportunity is just as crucial as accepting it.

In this blog, we'll delve into the art of client qualification We'll discuss the types of clients outsourcing companies may choose to decline, the rationale behind these decisions, and how this approach ultimately leads to stronger, more successful partnerships.

Criteria that should be taken into account when negotiating with potential clients


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Whether it's an unfeasible timeline, budget constraints, or scope creep, these factors can derail a project before it even begins. Accepting projects with unrealistic expectations can lead to disappointment and dissatisfaction for both parties. By saying no, outsourcing companies maintain the integrity of their services and avoid setting false expectations. Additionally, projects with unrealistic expectations often require excessive time, effort, and resources to meet unattainable goals. By declining such projects, outsourcing companies can preserve their resources for endeavors where success is more feasible.

Projects with unrealistic expectations are more likely to fail or result in subpar outcomes. By declining these projects, companies can focus on engagements where success is achievable, benefiting both their business and the business of potential clients.


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Every outsourcing company has its area of expertise. Taking on clients whose needs fall outside of their specialty can result in subpar outcomes and dissatisfaction. For example, Serengeti is specialized in software development, but a potential client requires extensive hardware solutions, it might be wise to refer them to a more suitable vendor and look for potential cooperation in other areas.

Undertaking projects outside of expertise increases the risk of errors, setbacks, and project failure. By saying no to clients whose requests are not main focus, software outsourcing companies mitigate these risks and safeguard their business against potential losses by focusing on core competencies. Building a reputation as experts in certain field requires consistent delivery of high-quality work. Saying no to projects outside of expertise ensures that company remains focused on what they do best, laying the foundation for long-term success and sustainable growth.

Communication and Collaboration

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Effective communication and collaboration are fundamental to project success. Research indicates that effective communication is the cornerstone of successful partnerships, yet 63% of businesses struggle with poor communication from clients (PMI’s Report). Clients who struggle with communication and collaboration may ultimately be dissatisfied with the outcome of the project. Poor communication can lead to misunderstandings regarding expectations, deliverables, and timelines, resulting in a final product that does not meet the client's needs. By saying no to such clients, outsourcing companies prioritize client satisfaction and uphold their reputation for delivering high-quality results. Clients who exhibit a lack of communication skills or collaboration may hinder the project's progress and lead to dissatisfaction on both sides.


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Saying no helps focusing on principles and goals. When a company says "yes" to every project that comes along their way, they are effectively stating that money takes precedence over principles. However, when they say "no" to a project that does not line with their values, they demonstrate that they have principles and are prepared to uphold them.

Building long-term relationships with clients is essential for sustainable business growth. Potential clients who share the same values are more likely to appreciate the approach of outsourcing partner, respect their decisions, and foster trust and loyalty over time. By saying no to clients with misaligned values, outsourcing company prioritizes the cultivation of mutually beneficial, enduring partnership.

The financial risk

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Last but not least is the financial risk that potential partnership can bring. Studies have shown more than 80% of businesses experience issues with late payments or non-payment from clients (CreditorWatch). Projects with financial risk often require additional resources for collecting the money in the event of non-payment. By avoiding these projects, outsourcing companies conserve resources and allocate them towards endeavors with a higher likelihood of financial return.  For this reason, they should carefully assess the financial stability of potential clients to mitigate the risk of financial strain on our business.


In conclusion, while it may seem counterintuitive to turn away potential clients, the commitment to client qualification should be rooted in the desire to foster successful, long-term partnerships. By being selective about the clients outsourcing companies choose to engage with, they ensure that their resources are allocated effectively, their values are upheld, and projects have the best chance of success.

In Serengeti we believe that transparency and honesty from the outset lay the foundation for a strong client-vendor relationship built on trust and mutual respect. As we continue to navigate the ever-evolving landscape of sales and business relationships, we remain committed to prioritizing quality over quantity and saying no when necessary for the betterment of our company and our clients.

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