Fire Clients Who Hold Back Your Business
As an entrepreneur, it’s easy to think all of your clients are building your business. However, some clients slow down your growth. In fact, your non-ideal clients cost you time and money. That’s because they sap your productivity and take away from your bottom line.
When you start your business, you eagerly work with all sorts of clients. As your business grows, though, you learn which cilents get the best results from your service. And the ones who aren’t a good fit for your business.
It’s Your Decision
Instead of working with all clients, you’ll eventually reach a point where you can cherry pick your clients. It’s okay for you to decide who you want to work with and who you don’t want to work with.Instead of working with all clients, you’ll eventually reach a point where you can cherry pick your clients. It’s okay for you to decide who you want to work with and who you don’t want to work with. #getpaidwhatyoureworth Click To Tweet
You may have some concerns when you first consider cleaning up your client list. Often my clients express concerns about letting down their clients and making sure they have someone else who can do the work for them. Although it seems counter-intuitive, their business blossoms once they’ve started to stop working with their non-ideal clients.
You probably already know which clients are non-ideal. Pay attention to the red flags. Red flags are subtle indicators that they may not be a great client once you start working with them. You may get a gut feeling about someone, or they rub you the wrong way.
Notice the signals. These subtle indicators are easy to dismiss. However, they’re worth paying attention to before you start working with them.
Here are 6 red flags that someone may be an ideal client:
Challenge your knowledge and expertise. This client does not value your opinion or system. He challenges your recommendations or counters with another professionals recommendations. She says things, like I don’t know when you suggest a change. They create roadblock after roadblock when working with them.
Negotiate your fees. From your first proposal to ongoing work, this client always tries to lower your fees. They are always looking for a special deal. Your non-ideal clients will usually change to another service provider as soon as they find a better deal. Often, they’ll work with you when you are first starting out because they know your fees will be lower than average.
Just one more thing. Although you agree to do specific work for your client, they’ll ask for exceptions. After you initially agree on the work, this client adds on tasks. If you could do this one more thing, too. This client doesn’t consider the time and expertise involved in doing additional work.
Multiple Check Ins. Some clients need more hand-holding than others. Are you okay witht their additional emails, phone calls and texts? Do they respect your boundaries? Clients who don’t treat you as a professional or respect your time may not be ideal.
Don’t respond to your requests. You business may require that you get specific information from your clients. Do you have the patience or tolerance for clients who are slow to respond or require multiple requests?
Openly complain about the previous professionals they worked with. Your non-ideal clients aren’t really interested in change or following through with your recommendations. Instead of taking responsibility for their mistakes, they seek to blame others. Can you afford your name to be added to the list of providers who let them down?
Are you feeling drained?
These clients are draining. They consume your energy by demanding additional time and effort. An initial consult let’s a potential client decide if they want to work with you. It’s also your time to decide if you want to work with this client.Do you have the patience or tolerance for clients who are slow to respond or require multiple requests? #getpaidwhatyoureworth Click To Tweet
I encourage my clients to only work with ideal clients. You’re allowed to be choosy, only working with clients who appreciate, value and respect your expertise. And remember, non-ideal clients consume your energy, take more time and reduce your income.
Ready to let go of your non-ideal clients? First, recognize the challenges these clients create. Then set up an action plan to only work with ideal clients.
Holding on. You are holding on to clients, because you’re afraid to fire them. Do not expect these clients to change. Since you don’t want to simply drop them from your services, refer them to someone else. There’s another professional out there who will be a great fit for this client.
Mindset. Get honest with yourself. Accept the fact that you’re holding onto a client that you’d rather not work with any longer. Entrepreneurs hold onto non-ideal clients for too long because letting go is difficult. Prepare yourself by changing your mindset. Realize that working with a non-ideal client is a dis-service for both of you.
Security. Take a risk. Don’t hold onto a non-ideal client simply because of the money. Learn how risk aversion affects your business. One of my clients recently let go of their top client because that business was no longer a good fit for them. Afterward, they were surprised at how relieved they felt. Plus, a new ideal client quickly appeared to replace the old one.
Define. List all the top qualities you want in an ideal client. The exact right client is more likely to show up when you know what you want.
Review. Review your current clients. What common trait does your ideal clients possess?
Grade. Sort your current clients into five grades—A. B, C, D, F—according to their ideal client scores. A recent client did this exercise and it was an eye-opening experience. None of his current clients were ideal. Instead, most were D’s and F’s.
Change. Gradually start to let go of D and F clients. Start to replace them with new clients that meet your ideal client qualifications.
Free Up Your Time and Energy
You’ll be amazed at how much time and energy is freed up once you let go of your non-ideal clients. As a result, your business cash flow improves. And since you eliminate stress your productivity increases, too.
Cleaning house by eliminating clients who undervalue your work, drain your energy, and actually cost you money, is a strategic move that grows your business.
Letting go can bring up concerns, causing you to postpone this move for much too long. As a therapist turned business coach, I understand how it seems easier to stay with what you know instead of making this change. If you know it’s time to fire your non-ideal clients, but are over-thinking all the “what-if’s”, then schedule a complimentary strategy session.