Saying A Good Goodbye to Bad Clients
It’s inevitable that it will happen. You have to come to the conclusion that you have a “bad client”. For whatever reason or reasons, the relationship is just not working. When it does happen, the first thing you need to ask yourself is this: Is this relationship mutually beneficial to both sides? If your answer is no-you need to figure out exactly why?
When you are preparing to go into a business relationship with any new client it’s a good idea for both parties to first determine the benefits of working together. This needs to a vital process in your business dealing with anybody-what will we, as a company, achieve from working with this particular client? The specific answers can only be determined by you and your team. Here are some factors to take into consideration.
1.) Value. Can each party clearly articulate the value of working together?
2.) Styles. Do your styles match? If you are a company that moves at a continuous, quick pace will your client be able to “keep up” or will you always have a feeling that you are “dragging” the client along?
3.) Clarity. Is there complete clarity about what the client is looking to achieve? This works for both sides. Does your team clearly understand the goal of the client and does the client understand what will be needed from their team to achieve their goal?
4.) Qualification. Wanting a goal and having the qualified people in place to achieve that goal are two different things. The client may want to build that very groovy, cool new mobile app but do they have the team in place to utilize it once it is built? Do they have the funding-now? Is your team qualified to build the app in a timely fashion?
5.) Communication. Does the client really understand? Do they really listen well? Do both parties do what they say they will when they say they will? This is a big one.
So you’ve covered all five checkpoints above and come to the conclusion that it is not going to be a good fit. You are now at the point where you are ready to “fire the client”. Do it with dignity and class.
First make sure ALL of your contractual obligations (up to this point) are fulfilled as best as possible. Second, stick to your guns about ending the business relationship. This will be really useful in the event that they make a request for you to do more work. Learn to say NO…with a thank you tagged on the end. Prepare a concise and constructive answer if they do request more work from you. You never know. Sometimes having these conversations can turn positive-for both sides.
In conclusion, always make sure you are being a great service provider to your clients. This can only be done by assessing the real value of entering into any new business relationship-before the relationship starts.
Onward and upward!
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