The decision to resign a client is an emotional and stressful experience, but it’s inevitable and an important milestone for any businesses.
Because it teaches if a relationship isn’t going to be profitable both parties, it’s isn’t going to be sustainable.
You will probably rationalize why you should keep it going in the short term, but not letting go is cheating your business of clients who love you and value what you do for them.
How to know when it’s time to stay or let go? Here are 9 signs it’s time to resign a client.
- FINANCIAL: Your client is not paying on time for the work being done. The cash flow of any business is the easiest area to become a problem very quickly. Any growing business will have growing overhead; so financial imbalance is serious. In most cases, a little reminder gets the job done, but if not, rethink the relationship. This is the easiest and most obvious sign to spot.
- COUNSEL: All client relationships are based on providing quality input, objective points-of-view and candid counseling. If your client asks you for your opinion but doesn’t listen; or, even worse, stops asking or doesn’t care about your advice, stop spending your time and your staff’s time trying to help them.
- OVER-SERVICE: All good service providers over-service clients. But if time spent on the client is consistently and significantly greater than planned, too much time to one client can have a negative impact on the services to other clients. By continually over-servicing a problem client, you risk hurting the relationships that help you most.
- DIRECTION AND BRIEFS: When a client isn’t clear with direction, it creates unrealistic expectations and fails to adhere to agreed working targets and strategies. If a client cannot decide what they want, it’s difficult for a business to understand what they are working towards. The consequences invariably lead to more time, more doubt, less innovation, and diminished outcomes.
- EXPECTATIONS: Though you may have done a good job of delivering on the agreed-upon scope of work, there are times when you just can’t make your client happy with the results. They continue to expect things that are either unreasonable or well beyond what the budget warrants. You should always try to manage this from the onset of the relationship, but sometimes expectations can never truly be kept in check. If that’s the case, it could be time to just walk away. Sometimes the relationship simply isn’t salvageable and the time and energy spent on trying to keep it alive would be best served on other clients or pursuing new ones that are a better fit.
- INCREASING DEMANDS: Demanding clients can be good – if they force you to produce your best work. But if all the demands are about unreasonable deadlines, changes they’d like you to make after you’ve met every specification or scope creep, it might be time to let the client go. Just let them know that you won’t be able to meet a certain deadline or do the additional work and apologize. In cases where you can’t let the client go: negotiate. Whether its deadlines or a general demanding behavior, find a way to state your case and negotiate.
- DISRESPECTFUL: The only real assets you have to sell are your services, creative ideas, and your people. If your client lacks professional courtesy or is in any way disrespectful to your team, then you owe it to them to resign the business. You gain incredible currency from your team when you defend them to a client, especially because they are care and are most likely doing a very good job.
- CONTINUAL ORDERS: The client continually orders you to make decisions you don’t agree with. Worse yet, if you agree to do them and they don’t work, they blame you for bad decision-making. Don’t let yourself get into this situation. Stand up for your beliefs, values and move on.
- BE DIRECT, PERSONABLE AND GET OUT: Time is likely to be your company’s most valuable resource. And if your time and your employees time is being taking for granted, or worse, regarded as having little value, don’t waste it any longer. Be direct, to the point and take the next step.
Here is a simple but effective way to resign a client who have become a problem.
[Name] — We believe your company is going to achieve great success. We wish you the best.
We also believe another company is going to be a better fit for you and your specific needs.
As of [date], our company won’t be able to assist you with [what you do] any further.
Below is what you can expect from us between now and [date]. Thanks for your understanding.
[list of action steps]
We wish you the best success.
You may not know immediately if the steps you have taken are worth it. You may not know for some time. But, if they were made from principles, they are likely to be not only be the rights steps but pay dividends in the long term. For you, your employees, your bottom line, your company’s future and your well-being.
Do this signs help you decide when is the right time to decide a client?