If you haven’t fired a client yet, then you will. More likely than not, you’ve already encountered this situation, but you chose to grin and bare it. This behavior doesn’t serve you or your clients. The truth is that most entrepreneurs aren’t prepared to handle these tough situations. This can have many harmful effects. In fact, withholding your truth and denying your values actually block your financial abundance.
When you’re solely focused on the end result of making money, then firing a client may seem unthinkable. The end result is pointless if you’re unhappy. If you want to work with people that you dislike, then you should probably go be an employee. As an entrepreneur you have the power and freedom to say NO. By focusing solely on making that next sale, you relinquish your power. In turn, you lose your entrepreneurial spark. That light in your eye dims. Your energy is sapped. Dare I say it? Your business becomes more like a dreaded J.O.B. All of your business activities are shrouded in negative energy. You’ll even attract more clients like the first client that you should have fired.
You’ve bought into the idea that a client is better than no client. Not true. All clients are not good clients. Of course every client will not be your ideal client either. As hard as you’ve worked to get your clients, there will come a time when you have to fire one of them. Trust me, I know that you want to help everyone, but you can’t. You are here to help a specific group of people. These people get you. They respect and value you. They will feel like your extended family. Compassion, respect, and honesty towards others are non-negotiables in building strong client relationships.
Your body will give you signals when a client needs to be fired. You’ll feel tension, anxiety, and even pain at the sight or mention of your client’s name. These warning signs occur in order to get your attention. Picture a flashing, bright yellow neon sign with the words “You’re Out of Alignment” in front of you. Your body is telling you that you’re working with the wrong person.
In addition to your internal indicators there are also external ones. Here are 5 reasons to terminate your professional relationship with a client :
- Your client participates in activities that violate your moral and ethical codes of conduct.
- Your client has asked you to participate in activities that violate your moral and ethical codes of conduct.
- Your client is disrespectful, insulting or demeaning towards you.
- Your personalities and energies do not mesh together. It happens.
- Your client isn’t ready. They may not have the necessary mindset, dedication, finances, or intention to work with you in this capacity.
Once you’ve gained awareness and identified your reason, then it’s time to address the issue. The problem will not go away if you just ignore it. It will only get bigger until you take action. Use this 3-step process to handle difficult conversations with clients:
- Politely inform your client of the situation or behavior. They probably aren’t even aware that they did something improper or that it came across that way. This can be considered their first warning. Clearly state the consequences of another incident. Follow-up with an email highlighting what was discussed. Be honest and considerate of their feelings.
- (Optional) Speak to your client again if the situation or behavior occurs a second time. Changing a habit takes time. This may be the first time that anyone has spoken up about their behavior. This is where compassion comes in. You may elect not to perform this step depending on the severity of the situation.
- Terminate your professional relationship with your client. Politely and calmly remind your client of the initial conversation. Then, inform them of the second (or third) violation. Tell them that you will no longer be able to assist them professionally because it’s simply not a good fit. To maintain goodwill you should refund all or a portion of their payment depending on the nature of your business/services. Also, you can give them a 15% coupon to use on any of your digital or physical products. After the conversation you need to take a deep breath and release any lingering tension. Simply, let it go and move on.
A few words of caution:
- Do not speak to your client when you’re upset, angry or extremely emotional.
- Never fire a client without giving an initial warning.
- If you’re going to make an exception in steps 1 or 2, then clearly state that it’s a one-time thing.
- Do what you say you’re going to do.
- Focus solely on the undesirable behavior and the facts. Do not make it personal!
- Remember, your objective is to end the relationship on good terms and in a professional manner.
It’s time to stand up for your values and speak your truth. Are you ready to become an Empowered Entrepreneur? When you serve others from a place of total alignment, then waves of financial abundance will flow to you. You’ll attract clients that truly value and respect you and the services that you provide. Comment below and share how you’re going to align your business and values. I’ll come back and join in the conversation.