You know them. We all have at least one. They drive you crazy or maybe you just can’t stand them. Is it time to let them go?
You know when it needs to happen. They refuse to do the things they need to do to succeed. Or maybe they are just a pain in the … What am I talking about? BAD CLIENTS. We have all had at least one. What do you do? Well, it depends on why you see them as a bad client and if things can change. Here are five reasons it may be time to fire a client.
The “Excuse makers” – You know those clients. The ones that are all fired up to work with you until the ink is barely dry on the contract and they are finding reasons why they can’t give you the documents you need or they are too busy to get things to you. Or maybe you have given them tasks to complete and they are always coming up with excuses why they didn’t do them. Regardless of the client or the industry, they are the excuse makers. Anything you ask them to do is met with an excuse why they can’t. Steer clear – the excuse makers are never going to stop making excuses.
The “Experts” – You might have 25 years of experience, an advanced degree and be considered an expert in your field but they see themselves as the expert at everything. They even tell you how to do your job and how they can do things more efficiently or better than you. They make lots of “suggestions” for how you should change things to fit them. We all know this person. No matter what you say, they have done it better, have more experience or know a better way to do things than you do. Run from these types – they will micomanage you even though they are the client. They secretly are a “disrespecter”.
The “Nickel and Dimer” – They hired you years ago when you were just starting your business. You gave them a basement bargain price. Now you want a modest increase as you realize that you have charged them way too little for years. Even with the increase they will still be way below the market rate for the services you provide. When you go to talk to them about the increase they tell you how they know Jane who is cheaper than you. Walk away – very fast. Nickel and Dimer’s never see the value of the services you provide. They just want cheap. Let them go get it somewhere else.
The “Disrespecter” – They have disrespected your time, you and your expertise many, many times. It is clear they don’t respect you. Set your boundaries, be clear in your expectations but if they still refuse to change then move on. Disrespecters see themselves as superior to you or more important than you. Either way, you win by walking away.
You just can’t stand them! If you find that you simply can’t stand a client and you hate working with them then fire them and move on. We didn’t get into business to be miserable. Our work needs to be enjoyable and that includes enjoying those that we work with.
A couple of times a year you need to take the time to rate your clients and how much you enjoy working with them. List criteria that you can rank each client for and how they score. See who ends up at the bottom of the list and why. Is the why something that can be changed? Maybe they are paying you too little. If you are providing a client value then you should discuss the pricing with them. They may eagerly agree that you should be paid more for the services you are providing. Has the work that you are doing for them changed? Are you doing things you don’t like? Find alternatives that provides a great solution for both you and the client. You have to determine the problem before you can develop a solution. Are there communication issues? All relationships take work and client relationships are no different. Are you putting in the time to build a good relationship with your clients?
In the end, only you can decide who is a good client or a bad client. We can all agree that no one benefits if you are miserable. So, get started reviewing your list of clients. Is there someone you need to fire today? In my next blog we will discuss the proper way to fire a client. Yes, there is a proper way to handle it.