Are you ready to move on from a client? Here are 5 ways to end a working relationship
As a business owner, it may seem counterproductive to let go of a client. It may feel like you’re throwing away money. Well, not exactly. There could be many reasons why you’re letting go of a client. For example, your business might be moving in a different direction or downsizing to serve fewer clients. It could be that the client is no longer a good fit, as they often ignore your advice or not seeing eye-to-eye on projects anymore. Whatever the case is, you’ll want to be professional to maintain your reputation. We have a few tips to share to make ending a working relationship painless and professional.
Try to have the conversation face-to-face whenever possible. This can be over a zoom meeting or video chat. If this isn’t possible, then do it over the phone. Try to refrain from giving your client the news over email or text. It’s easier to express your points and there is little to no risk of miscommunication when you deliver the news in person (or via phone call).
It’s not you, it’s me
Make sure your client knows that it’s your issue, not theirs. Whether it’s due to personal reasons or business goals, reassuring the client that they aren’t the problem will encourage them to keep your reputation afloat.
Give them notice
As if you were leaving a job, it’s important to give your client notice that you will no longer be working together. The time frame is up to you, but I recommend giving them one month’s notice (this also depends on what your contract or previous agreement is). This will give you time to finish up any ongoing projects or get them into a place where they can be passed along easily and it gives the client time to find replacements. When you give your notice, make sure you have a clear list of what the client can expect from you over the remainder of your time. This will save any misunderstandings and mix-ups when the time comes for you to part ways.
Give them contacts
While you’re giving your notice to your client, consider referring them to potential replacements. Your client chose you for a reason. You probably have a lot more connections in your field so pass some of those along and don’t leave your client hanging. They’ll appreciate you connecting them with other people. Keep in mind why you’re letting go of a client and think about who you refer them to (if there’s someone you reach out to often for business advice or collaborate with, you may not want to pass along their name to a client who ignores advice often).
Ending a working relationship with a client is not an easy task. It may be one of the hardest conversations you’ll have to have, especially if it’s a client that’s paying you big bucks. But, you have to do what’s best for your business and if it’s letting go of a client then stay firm to your decision. If you get push back, respond professionally and remind the client that the decision is final. Remember, letting go of clients who cause you unnecessary stress, headaches, or keep you up at night, will open up the opportunity to work with clients who don’t.
Those are our top 5 tips for letting go of clients. Sometimes it’s challenging to know when it’s time to cut ties, especially when it’s a long-term or high-paying client. But, letting them go will reduce your stress levels and open new opportunities to work with your ideal clients.
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