How to break up with a charming customer

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How to break up with a charming customer

Breaking up is hard to do, especially when it’s with a client.

There will come a time when your business has to expand to accommodate your workload or you need to get rid of your client list. While they can leave you for a variety of reasons, it’s less common for suppliers to dump customers, so many people might take it lightly.

There are several valid reasons to reevaluate your client list on a regular basis.

For example, if you recently raised your prices and a customer is unwilling (or unable) to meet the increase, that customer can be put on the cut list.

Are customers asking you to spend too much time on too little rewards? Again, they could be a candidate.

Has your business grown beyond the services you provide to a given client? You get the idea.

Here are some tips on how to tactfully cut down on these customers.

Give two weeks notice

Just like a job, it would be better to give someone a standard announcement instead of dropping the microphone and walking out. Two weeks is a good standard, although the amount of notice you give should depend on regulations in your industry and the size and scope of the work you did for that client.

No matter what industry you’re in, you’re more likely to get a good reference and end the relationship on a positive note if you give your client plenty of time to work on change plans. position.

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Give a reason

Don’t just disappear. Whether you’re upfront with clients about money or behavioral issues, or just citing “creative differences,” provide a solid reason why you’re ending the relationship. Otherwise, the client makes up their own story about why the relationship went sour and their version always seems to assume the worst.

Also, try to make sure that your excuse doesn’t make you point the finger at your client, leaving them on the defensive.

If the door is still open (ie a raise), let them know. If you want to get rid of the relationship completely, give them a strong reason to say no like “I can no longer meet your needs”.

Avoid lying

This may go without saying, but it’s important.

Most industries operate in small circles and you never know for sure who knows who… or who might talk in the future. While it can be tempting to tell a client “it’s not you but me” at the end of a working relationship, don’t give false reasons why you might get caught up in the disloyalty. that real.

For example, you can’t tell your customers that you’re leaving the business, moving, or changing direction if you don’t.

Finish what you started

While it may be tempting to give up on heavy projects, get the job done for the client before you end your relationship. The project is pending, the client can release the blame to you, but start with a plan for how to end loose ends.

Keep apologies to a minimum

While you can apologize for the inconvenience, don’t overdo it. In fact, there’s no need to make any excuses.

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An apology can make you appear less professional, make the client feel worse about being “shunned”, or even make the client more likely to feel guilty as you continue the relationship. .

As an adult and as a professional, you have every right to decide what working relationship makes sense for you. There’s no reason to apologize for exercising that right, for setting boundaries, or for changing your mind.

Send references

If you want to earn positive references, consider providing your clients with a list of suppliers or other businesses that can fill the void you will leave when you stop working together. .

There are a few ways to do this. You can tap into your network and follow people who are looking for work. You can also introduce a growing company that will appreciate the new business as you did when you reached customers.

Remember that your references also reflect on you. If you can give your old customers a great reference who can jump in and pick up where you left off, your customers will remember you better.

Leave a small space for future customer interactions. You never know when your path might cross again.

This article was updated in January 2019.

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