How to Deal With That Awkward Moment When Your Prospect Client Says “NO”

I’m really thankful for all the done deals, inquiries and feedback we’ve received these past months. Since I started our website using our own domain,  we doubled our search engine optimization and inquiries from Google links and social media accounts. It really helps! But it wasn’t that easy. Since we don’t have Web Developer, I ended up doing our own SEO, links, etc. and I’ve enjoyed it! I always develop our website layout, features and theme almost every month.

In the past 6 months we have received 150-300 views per day on our website and social media accounts and this means more traffic, more inquiries and more prospect clients.

With all the inquiries, quotations, deals and transactions I have encountered, here are some top reasons why I received “NO”:

  1. Your design fee is too high
  2. I don’t like your initial idea/ concept board
  3. We’ve found another designer that we felt we have a “personal connection” with
  4. We’ve decided that we won’t hire a designer at this moment
  5. You can’t tell me your design fee via phone that’s why I won’t hire you

OUCH! That hurts for someone like me who is a go-getter, gives my heart and my very best in everything that I do and who doesn’t believe in NO.

We can’t force something that is not meant to be for us, so I have learned to move on quickly and here are some of my responses to these awkward situations:

  1. Your design fee is too high

My response: I can’t argue enough on what amount is to “too high” for every person. What is “too high” for you might be “too low” for someone else. As for me, we have researched and based our design fee on the published rate of professional interior designers. We also dedicate our time and effort to continuously enhance our design techniques through travelling here and abroad, attending seminars/ trainings and visiting trade expos and latest exhibits. We devote our selves to improve our design skills so that we can be better designers for our current and future clients.

  1. I don’t like your initial idea/ concept board

My response: Usually when a prospect client requests for design fee quotation, I include a concept board (my initial idea for the space) which this is free of charge. As we move forward and agree on the design contract, that’s the time that we dedicate our time and effort in custom interior design based on their personal style. Great things in life are free! right? Do we have to complain? hahaha

  1. We’ve found another designer that we felt we have a “personal connection” with

My response: Ooh.. that “personal connection”.  Well.. me too, I want to hire someone who shares the same values, principle and same work attitude as I do. This is too personal and I don’t want to blame anyone if this is the reason why my prospect says no. I simply reply.. It’s cool, no worries (This means we are not meant to be).

  1. We’ve decided that we won’t hire a designer at this moment

My response: In some cases, people realize that they need to enhance their space and they can’t do it on their own, so they seek for a professional. When the professional provides them proposal/ professional fee they tend to disregard their will to enhance their space because they think it’s too expensive to hire them. BUT in most cases when I asked my clients why they hire me, they said that they have tried doing their own renovation but it didn’t worked and they’ve spent a lot of time and money doing trial and error. Instead of saving money, they regret that they should have sought professional help first to avoid common mistakes and improve their lifestyle within their space.

  1. You can’t tell me your design fee via phone that’s why I won’t hire you

My response: I really can’t discuss and negotiate my professional fee via phone because for me it’s too tacky and informal. I make it a point to put everything in writing and in print so that I can clearly explain the details and scope of work of my design contract. You can’t expect me to dictate my design fee via phone without defending or even backing up data on why I charged that amount.


What I usually do when I received rejection thru emails and feedback?

Just like a normal person (with emotions), I tend to feel sad and disappointed. But I guess I have learned how to move on quickly. The moment I received the bad news, I reflect on the situation and what went wrong. I write down my mistakes and find ways on how to improve my negotiation skills so that next time I can avoid the same mistake. I point out some mistakes and difficulties I have encountered and search for articles and books on how to deal and avoid it. I pray to the Lord for guidance on what to do next, give my very best on the next client and God will do the rest.

How do I deal with this kind of awkward situation?

  1. I divert all my negative energy like frustrations into positive ones like perseverance
  2. I immediately search for answers how can I improve and develop my business skills
  3. I review my business plan, portfolio, website and social media accounts and improve it as best as I can
  4. I stick to our brand features and personality; WORK HARD+STAY HUMBLE
  5. I keep it cool, calm and collected
  6. I seek for mentorship thru Youtube videos featuring my favorite business tycoons
  7. I research on what my company pegs do: Victoria Beckham, ZGallerie, Rachel Zoe, etc.
  8. I re-layout and re-design my website with more informative and valuable content
  9. I pray to the Lord for help, enlightenment and guidance on my decision making


Here’s an online article that helped me cope up with this situation.

6 Surprising negotiation tactics that get you the best deal


  1. Share information
  • Studies have shown that revealing some information, even when it’s unrelated to the negotiation, increases the outcome

2. Rank order your priorities

  • Grant recommends another approach called rank ordering. His research shows that you are able to achieve better outcomes by ranking and leaving all the issues on the table and being transparent about it. That way both parties can compare their rankings and determine what the full set of options really are
  1. Go in knowing your target price and your walkaway terms
  • It’s critical to do the research ahead of time here. You need your research to be based on firm data, as not only will it provide more confidence and power to you, but it also reduces the chance that you’ll throw something crazy out there
  1. Make the first offer
  • Higher prices make the buyer focus on the positives, while lower ones invite focus on the downsides. In other words, we find data that supports this anchor
  1. Don’t counter too low
  • Let the other person know that their offer is way off, and go back in with a new reset. It also may be helpful to call out what you’re observing to redirect the conversation, i.e. you may be trying to test my thinking with that first offer, but here’s more of what I had in mind
  1. Counter offers make both parties more satisfied
  • Every buyer wants to feel that they got a good deal; every seller wants to feel as if they drove a hard bargain. Parties are most satisfied on both fronts if there was some back and forth


Hope you’ll find this helpful 😉




Published by CMV Interior Designs

Manila-based Interior Design company

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