Some clients or customers simply do not belong in your business.
I will say that again – some clients or customers simply do not belong in your business.
I am not talking about the borderline customers or clients that are only just profitable. Some clients just simply will not follow the system that you have in place to service them. These challenges can be solved with open and honest communication and will result in either the client staying or leaving because you are not the right fit for each other. Either is OK.
What does a bad client look like?
We have a few key criteria that tell us if it is time for a client to go – these may be different for your business or they may be exactly the same;
• Not respecting payment terms – We are not a bank! We provide services for a fee, we expect to be paid this fee on time as agreed. So should you.
• Rudeness or abuse of our staff – Our business is only as strong as our team. If you are going to disrespect or abuse them we do not have the time for a relationship with you. Do not allow clients to mistreat your greatest assets – your staff!
• Unethical or illegal behavior – It goes without saying that if you are doing the wrong thing either ethically, morally or operating illegally that we do not want anything to do with you or your business! It’s as simple as that.
This is in no way an exhaustive list – there are many more! If a client fails one of the above then they are out the door, no questions asked.
Now the hard bit, how do you actually fire the client?
I can only offer a couple of observations around this.
First that it doesn’t get much easier the more you do it.
Secondly, you had better be damn sure that you believe that firing the client is the right course of action. Do whatever you need to do to ensure that you believe it in your mind.
Then, just pull the band aid off. There are a million different ways you can do this but you only need one – decide on it and take action.
I find the best medium for completing this is either face-to-face or on the phone. It should go without saying but do not expect a great reaction if you try to do it via email or a text message. If you have ever broken up with someone via text you will know why this is a really bad idea.
Once you have made the decision to fire the client – you can turn your mind to focusing on the benefits this will bring to your team, your business and your own well being. That means less stress, a more engaged team, better paying clients and the time and space to grow your business. By letting go of these bad clients, you have more time and resources to do the best work you possibly can with clients that value your business.
Before you do any of this – it is important to change the belief system that many business owners have. Stop thinking that every client is the right one for your business. The fact is, that is a truly damaging and false belief to hold. Once you have changed the belief, the hard work can begin!
Have you ever had to fire a client? What was your experience? Let me know in the comments below.