|Created by Kimberly Kline, API|
Most likely, we have all encountered “difficult” clients. In some cases we can take what we learn from the situation and use it to forge a better working relationship, possibly keeping our client in the process.
(In Part 1 of this series, I focused on those lessons and how they can help you move forward, if you missed it you can read it here).
But in other cases, that is simply not possible.
So, how can you tell the difference?
When is it time to break up with your
difficult client and
what can you do to make that break clean?
It helps to first ask yourself these 3 questions:
- How Does Your Client Treat You?
If each time you communicate with your client they belittle you, your employees, or your work ~ then run. At no point do you or those around you deserve to be abused. Even if they are paying you, that is no excuse for unreasonable demands or a lack of respect.
- Is Your Client Taking up All of Your Time and Energy at the Expense of Other Clients?
Any time one client is so demanding that you have nothing left to give, you are cheating your other clients. When you spend all your time answering their excessive phone calls or making countless changes, then you cannot give your other clients the time they deserve.
- How Does the Client Make You Feel?
I think this is the most important question of all.
If you find yourself stressed at the the thought of working with them, then it is time to move on. If each time you even pick up the phone or sit down to send them an email, it makes your stomach churn, then let go.
If even after giving them your best work, you are left questioning your abilities, then moving on is self preservation.
So how do you make the break?
It is best to keep it simple and direct. There is no need to rehash problems or even to burn bridges.
Instead, thank your client for the opportunity to work with them. Then simply say “however, at this time I am no longer able to provide you with our services”.
Another option is, if your work with them is not on an ongoing basis, you can just wait until they contact you again and not opt to bid on the job. If asked why, just say that your workload does not allow you to take on another job.
In either case, no long, drawn out explanation is needed.
Once you make the break, it is time for a change. Now you can put new practices into place that will both lessen the chance of this happening again and help you move forward.
5 Tips to Help You with Problem Clients "Tweet This"
- Put Your Efforts into treating your Good Customers Right
Send them thank you notes to let them know you appreciate their business. Offer them special deals for their loyalty. Anything you can think of to show you value them.
- Keep Your Chin Up
It is important that you don’t let the bad customers ruin your morale. Nothing is worse than a depressed workplace, and you owe your customers and employees more than that.
- Look for New Customers
Join a local networking group or ramp up your social media, whatever helps you put your company in the spotlight and in front of potential customers. You will find that talking about your business and keeping your eye on the good you provide gives you a better mindset.
- Invoice Quickly
Practice “recency” in your invoicing. Studies show that by sending your bill quickly, your invoice is thought to be more relevant. Another plus is that your client still has the great job you did, and your stellar service, fresh in their minds.
Waiting days, or even weeks, to invoice is shown to increase the time it takes to get paid.
- Vet Potential Clients and Partners
By using a background check to vet those you are thinking of doing business with, you can make a more informed decision. You may uncover a tendency for slow pay, a propensity to sue former business partners, or a host of other things that could give you pause.
The idea here is to make sure there are no signs that should keep you from getting into a difficult business relationship in the first place!
We all enter business with the thought that we have something great to offer. We also believe that our clients are a large part of what it takes to make our business successful and our goal then becomes to do what it takes to make them happy.
However, that does not mean that we need to stick with them no matter what. When that relationship becomes toxic, it is time to move on.
And we all must do what it takes to survive ~ even if that means Letting Go!
For more tips to help you with your small business, be sure to visit my blog at www.accessprofilesblog.com.
And Contact Me, I can help!