Why it pays to say no

If someone told you that you could make more money by doing less or saying "no" to customers looking to give you their hard-earned money, you'd probably look at them like you just saw Bigfoot breaking bread at the Denny's booth next to yours.

The thing is it's a real thing and I'm going to show you how with another restaurant related tale from last weekend.

It started with me going onto Doordash and seeing "temporarily closed" as the label for the restaurant we were trying to order from.

So I tried to call in for pickup instead -- and the person who answered told me they had temporarily turned off online and phone orders due to volume but I could come into the restaurant to order. Believe it or not, this 30 second exchange gave me a lot of info:

  1. They at least are paying attention to the demand on the kitchen. In a pre-covid world, a crowded restaurant was all you had to worry about, not so much people calling in for pick-up.
  2. Inside the restaurant must've been packed too
  3. There was no way I was going to the restaurant to place a takeout order and then just wait, especially after the other incident
  4. While it was annoying, I realized I'd rather know that up front and come back to them a different day when they're not as busy. If they had taken my order and then I showed up and waited another hour at the restaurant (again), I would've been annoyed and probably complaining about it to my wife. Pre-covid I would've been lighting them on Twitter for not valuing their customers' time but I know the constant flux in demand and struggle to find staff must be making restaurant life incredibly stressful.
  5. This isn't that different than being in consulting.

Here's what I mean on #5. Managing your client/boss/stakeholder/significant other experience is a real thing.

Here's a career example…

If others consider you a top performer or a go-to person or whatever and they keep coming to you past the point where you can deliver at your typical level, what happens?

People start to feel like it was all hype and that maybe you're not the top performer they thought. And if it happens long enough your personal brand could go from one of the best to being on an improvement plan or counseled out of the firm. And that definitely translates to real dollars.