When it comes to client management, just saying “no” is not an option.

We often hear from friends and loved ones that saying “no” is the best way to manage our daily stress. If you’re juggling never-ending PTA meetings, obligations to your son’s soccer team, and book club duties, that option may work. However, in client management, saying “no” may actually escalate your stress levels.

That does not mean following every single client request without regard to how it will impact your business. It means developing compromises and scenarios that play to your team’s strengths to create success while keeping both parties satisfied in the partnership.

How can you maintain a healthy, growing partnership with your clients?

1. Keep a Positive Attitude

All client requests should be met with a positive attitude. Members of client facing teams can become overwhelmed by the heavy flow of daily requests, which can dampen their ability to successfully carry out their responsibilities.

As a manager, it is your responsibility to identify and address negative attitudes to eliminate conflict between staff and clients. Pull the staff member aside and ask them to reflect on what they enjoy about their current position. What can they do to harbor a more positive outlook? If their attitude does not improve despite a strong work ethic, consider offering them a position more compatible with their abilities. If their attitude and work ethic are still suffering, it may be time they look for a position elsewhere.

2. Look for Learning Opportunities

With a positive attitude, client challenges can be turned into learning opportunities for your team. Prompt your team to have a brainstorming session on ways to help your clients overcome their obstacles. If your team is having trouble with generating ideas, try reverse brainstorming.

3. Provide Choices for Your Client

Providing choices is much more productive than simply declining your client’s request. Choose a handful of solid ideas from your brainstorming session to present to your client, because they will see you went the extra mile to find multiple solutions to just one problem. It allows your client to choose a method they may not have otherwise considered. Also provide them with the processes necessary to get the desired outcome(s), so they know what to expect from you and what is expected of them, whether that means investing more money in your company’s services or determining whether they can carry out the process themselves. What value will this change add to your client’s project? How will it affect their business’s bottom line?

4. Listen to Your Team

You are part of your team. If you stress over the effects saying “no” can have on client relationships or struggle to do the impossible just to make your client happy, look to your team to help guide your decision-making process. If you tend to just say “yes” to your clients without proposing options or learning more about the project, your clients may realize that they can take advantage of you and your services at any time.

A client may also find they can unload their responsibilities on you, knowing that you always deliver, regardless of how busy you may be with other clients. Keep in mind that you can help your client solve their problems; you cannot, however, take on the problem in its entirety.

5. Work Together with Your Client

You cannot do everything yourself, especially when you have a plethora of clients who expect quick turnarounds. Quality client management is a team effort. Each client needs to understand that they are not your only client, that you value your relationships with all of them. Clients will respect you for being upfront and honest with them, making them more likely to work with you and your team to get their most desired outcomes.

If you find the work of one client is abusing your team’s time, find a way to compromise with that client. Discuss options that will allow your client to help move the project along in a timely manner.

Client management is more than just making sure nothing falls through the cracks. It is about building and maintaining healthy client relationships and helping your team grow. Giving your client options and keeping them involved with your team provides them with a sense of accomplishment upon the project’s completion. Your client will also place a stronger value on your services as they see the time and effort involved in creating top quality results.