When I launched my business 23 years ago, it seemed like any client was a good client. Over the years, my philosophy has changed, and I no longer think all clients are desired. In fact, I recognize, in some cases, I am better off “getting divorced.”
How do you recognize when you should divorce a client? Here are several key indicators:
- There is no longer a match between what the client wants or needs and what you can or will provide.
- The client is asking you to do something unethical. Conversely, the client is doing something unethical.
- The client is being unreasonable in terms of his or her demands, and, despite your best attempts to negotiate and reach an understanding, he or she is unwilling to budge.
- The client treats you or your staff in an abusive manner.
It’s in your best interest to retain the relationship. But if nothing you’ve done has seemed to work, it just might be best to sever ties. So how do you divorce a client with a minimal amount of acrimony?
- You must maintain a professional demeanor. When you tell your client about your decision, you don’t want to burn bridges or make enemies.
- Don’t leave a client in a lurch. Attempt to find a replacement for the services you provide and help make a smooth transition.
- Give your client ample warning to make the necessary adjustments.
- Leave the door open. You never know how, if or when the situation might change.
- Make certain you have adequate business to fill the revenue gap that is precipitated by the divorce.
Make certain you’ve explored all of the options and have done everything you could do to salvage the relationship. But once you know it’s time to go, be strong, confident and ready to move on.