Clients come in all shapes and sizes. While there are those who are a pleasure to work with, there are others who will severely test your patience. When the situation becomes too much to bear, it would be advisable to say goodbye and move on. Here are four signs you need to let a client go:
1. They don't show you respect
Your relationship with your client should be characterized by mutual respect. Under no circumstances should you allow a client to disrespect you, no matter how much they are paying you. You can detect disrespect when a client acts in any of the following ways:
- Constantly fails to return your emails or calls
- Calls meetings to discuss the project and then fails to show up (with or without apologies)
- Demands free products or complimentary services
- Refuses to interact with or recognize the presence of other team members during team meetings
- Compares your company with your competitors
- Demands for deliverables which are outside the agreed scope of work
- Changes the terms of service after work has been delivered
Whenever you detect such behavior patterns in your client, be sure to call for a meeting as soon as possible. If they are not ready to acknowledge their mistakes, don’t hesitate to get rid of them.
2. They ignore your advice
When a client seeks your services, they should be willing to listen to your recommendations. This should especially be the case when the client doesn’t have much knowledge in the area. However, this does not mean that your recommendations cannot be challenged. A meaningful debate with your client can yield great ideas which could lead to successful work. This could be the beginning of a trusting relationship with your client. However, at times, a client might stop listening to you and override your recommendations. When your point of view is not important, it means that the client doesn’t see you as a trusted advisor. If you find yourself in such a situation, drop the client immediately and move on.
3. They don't pay you on time
When you offer services to a client, you are basically trading time for money. Once time is gone, it cannot be recovered. Therefore, it is very important to get paid promptly for your services. If you have a client who is always paying late (or not at all), then it would be advisable to drop them from your client list. It is better to have many smaller clients who pay on time than a few big clients who are always paying late.
4. They constantly criticize you
Criticism is not necessarily a bad thing. If a client criticizes you in a helpful and well-meaning manner, you should be willing to accept it. Such constructive criticism can help improve your work greatly. However, some clients are just bullies who want to prove how incompetent or useless you are. Such criticism will only end up killing the morale and productivity of your team. If you find yourself dealing with such clients, say goodbye and walk away. They are not worth your time.
See also: How to Calm an Upset Client
Letting a client go takes courage. However, be sure to act as professionally as possible, regardless of how the client has acted.
Did you ever have to let a client go? How did you deal with the situation? Let us know in the comments section below!