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How to Know When It’s Time to Fire a Client

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Hosted by
Casey Zeman

Have you ever had a client that made your skin crawl every time you see a notification or an email hit your inbox?

My guess for most of you is a resounding yes. If that’s the case, maybe it’s time to fire a client.

Let’s face it, some clients just aren’t worth the money if they’re making your life miserable. Sometimes clients are so “Type A” that no matter what you do, your work is never good enough. Or maybe they’re just incredibly needy and constantly fill your inbox with busy work.

How to Know When It’s Time to Fire a Client.001

Sound familiar?

And while sometimes it’s hard to say goodbye to the revenue, sometimes it’s needed for you and your team’s sanity. I’ve had to drop clients in the past for several reasons so I know what it feels like and can 100% relate with you.

I talk more about firing clients in this Youtube video below. It’ll help you understand the importance of setting guidelines with your client and how to know when it’s time to go.

Plus, I’ll also share tips in the post to help you maintain better client relationships in your business.

Firing Clients 101

If you’re just starting out in your entrepreneurial journey, firing clients might be the last thing on your mind, even if they are making your life a living hell. Because let’s face it, landing clients in the beginning, isn’t an easy task. So when you do get clients, the last thing you want is that cash flow interrupted.

While sometimes you might get let go for not hitting your goals or not seeing eye to eye with them, firing them is entirely different. This is when you’re in control. This is your choice and only you can make it.

Here are five big reasons to think about when it comes to maybe dropping a client from your roster.

1. Client is Taking Up More Time Than They’re Worth

This one is definitely the easiest on the list. Simply put, if your client is taking up a ton of time with extra requests or is never satisfied, start tracking the number of hours they take up.

Even if you have a big retainer client, it’s so crucial to make sure they’re not taking up too much of your precious time. Time is something you can’t get back in your day. Quit wasting it on needy clients, especially you’re trying to grow your business.

If they are dominating your day, you have to establish boundaries and let them know you have more than one client. If they don’t change after your conversation it’s time to rethink your partnership.
To help you fire a client, download my FREE checklist below. Just click the button to get it instantly!

It’s Time to Fire a Client - Checklist

But some clients are so “Type A” that they might hire you and not even listen or apply your recommendations. This is a common thing sometimes because people want to control 100% of their business.

Remind the client that they hired you for (Facebook ads, social media, copywriting, etc) and that you are the expert. If they don’t implement what you say, make sure the blame is on them or choose to go your separate ways.

3. Client Disrespects You or Your Team

If you watched the Youtube video in the beginning, you know how much this means to me. I nearly had to fire a client in the past because he simply didn’t respect my team. No amount of money was worth the negativity he was bringing into my business.

If you have a team, you need to make sure that your client speaks and treat them with the same respect they do with you. Make sure your team members can communicate with you if they are getting treated poorly. It’s up to you to act as the liaison between your team and the client.

In my case, I had my team jump off the call and gave my client a strict warning about never speaking to my team in that manner again. This did two things.

First, it established some ground rules for my client. Secondly, and more importantly, it showed my team I have either back which created a stronger bond between us all.

Don’t let a client get in the way of a team that you’ve worked so hard to build.

4. Poor Communication With Your Client

One thing I’ll talk about in the next section is having great communication with your client. If you guys can’t get on the same page with communication and it’s costing you money, try to fix it asap.

Decide if you’re going to do email, video calls, slack or a task management system. Also, make sure all of your communication is on one platform. This makes it easier for you and the client to stay on the same page and not have 10 messages on every platform.

5. You Hate Working With Them

This one is pretty easy. If you hate working with your client and it’s not getting better with time, it’s up to you drop them. No client is worth your personal sanity even if they are paying you good money.

Remember, you and only you can know when it’s time to fire a client. Make sure the decision isn’t based on emotion and ensure you have a plan to recoup the lost revenue.

And if you’re trying to scale and eliminate low-end clients, make sure to read about creating a high ticket coaching program as well.

How to Create a Great Client Relationship

On the flip side of things, creating a great relationship with a client can help you avoid these tricky situations in the future.

Here are three ways to set you and your client up for a mutually beneficial (and prosperous) relationship:

3 Strategies To Keep Clients Happy

1. Put in the Work Early

One of the easiest things you can do is to put in the work early on in your partnership. The more you do in the beginning, the less you will do later. I think if you set the tone on a positive and professional note, it can help make the entire relationship better.

Build rapport with your client early and get to know them and their business. Show interest by sending them occasional emails with useful articles or like their stuff on social media. Get to know them as a person, not just as a client.

Remember, you only get one first impression. Make sure to underpromise and overdeliver (to an extent) in the beginning. Build trust and get your client results early!

Last chance! To help you fire a client, download my FREE checklist below. Just click the button to get it instantly!

It’s Time to Fire a Client - Checklist

2. Clarify Your Services in Advance

I can’t stress how important this tip is to have an awesome relationship together. You need to clarify your services and deliverables in advance.

This includes calls, emails, video chats, in-person meetings or whatever else. Lay the groundwork up front so you can defend your time in the future.

Clear expectations and guidelines lead to creating confidence and momentum early.

3. Communication is Key

Like any good relationship, communication is key. This is one of the biggest reasons you might fire a client so make sure to set clear communication guidelines early on. The earlier and more clear the better!

Let them know your work hours are only M-F 9-5 or only communicate with slack or email. Nothing is worse than having clients hit you up at all times of the day on every channel. But if you don’t set the guidelines in the beginning, that’s your fault!

Lastly, make sure you are constantly over communicating throughout your relationship. More is always better than leaving clients in the dark. This is when they get frustrated, emotional, and can make rash decisions.

Next Steps

Don’t over promise and under deliver.  Now we changed our complete service based offer.  We no longer are positioned as their EMPLOYER. We have figured out a better way to productize our services.  And we can show you too!


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