Thinking of Terminating a Client?
3 Tips to Help You Make that Decision!
Cutting ties with your client can be, in many cases, a tough decision to make. Perhaps you established a rapport with the client before entering a working relationship. Or maybe you’ve worked with the client for several years, and the idea of walking away feels like you’re leaving behind your favorite pair of jeans – we all know that feeling. There are several reasons why client relationships end; lack of integrity, accountability and respect can become an issue and you notice the impact on your well-being. Either way, the process of deciding can feel a lot like learning how to double dutch-uncertain and scary.
I remember waiting to jump into the rope and repeating, “Go now. No, wait. Stay. Can someone push me in?” I spent more time being delayed by uncertainty, but I eventually went for it. Whatever your reasons are, it’s essential to understand when the “ship has sailed fully”.
So, let’s jump right in. No pun intended (I couldn’t help it).
Here’s how I have and will continue to approach the decision-making process of letting go:
1. When you first signed this client, perhaps your business was getting started, and you hadn’t yet fully decided on the kind of client that worked best for you. Take five minutes to clear your heart and mind and set your intentions to gain clarity by thinking of your ideal client and imagine your interactions with them. Begin with yourself and ask what it is that you want and what’s best for your business.
I tend to give too many changes to most people. Therefore, having a filter to run things by ultimately helps make the final decision clearer for me. It might be helpful for you to create one as well.
2. Next, take a few minutes to list all the reasons you feel it is time to end the client relationship. Perhaps the following applies:
- You’ve had some time to finetune the type of client that works best for you and the vision of your business. You might have realized that this client relationship no longer aligns. You’re entitled to change your mind!
- Perhaps you have decided to take on new projects and would like to shift your time to focus on scaling your business. Kudos to you!
- Or, throughout a specific period, communication has become inexplicably challenging, and you’re not quite sure why. Don’t let this be the sole reason you want to cut ties with your client, don’t take the easy way out.
Communication is an evolutionary process that can improve. Take some time to reflect on any noticeable changes that will help your exchanges moving forward. If, however, you find yourself in an infinite loop without any positive changes, perhaps the time has come.
3. Now, take a moment and write why you want to remain in partnership with the client. Perhaps the following applies:
- At the root of the relationship, you thoroughly enjoy the work you’re doing for the client. You have full autonomy to produce and be creative in your role, and that’s valuable to you.
- Maybe there have been significant changes happening in your client’s life and they are feeling the pressure of it all, and as a result certain things have changed. If this is the case, have the talk, then extend some grace. Give yourself a timeframe to reassess and go from there.
- Maybe your client has paid one too many late invoices followed by lack of accountability and no plan of reconciling this issue.
Ending a client relationship is a lot like deciding to terminate any other relationship. When you’re self-aware in your business and personal life, you gain a deep sense of clarity in your relationships. So, now it’s less about the “title” of the relationship and more about the energy and synergy. In this case, money cannot be the deciding factor if it compromises your values.
If you’re still on the fence about terminating with your client after going through the exercises above, it means you’re not ready to let go, and that’s okay. Continue to provide a service of excellence, one that you would be proud of first and foremost. And when you’re ready, without a shadow of a doubt, there will be no hesitation in moving forward.
Terminating a client isn’t an easy process. If it’s impacting your integrity, accountability, and self-respect while also affecting your wellbeing, you must do what’s in your best interest.
If this article has helped you, I would love to hear from you.