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Best Practices, Client Acquisition

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Let me begin by saying I’m not a fan of the term “fire a client”.  It sounds a bit egotistical, especially when I’m half of that equation and likely shouldn’t have engaged the client in the first place. (More on that later.) However, for the sake of this conversation, or until someone gives me a better phrase, I’m going with it.

In this economy, it can be challenging to fire a client. Every dollar means so much that you may be reluctant to give up the money. Yet, a client that’s not a good fit actually is more costly to your business in tangible and intangible ways.

How do you know if a client isn’t a good fit for your business?  Here are a few warning signs:

  • You dread meeting with them. In fact, getting their emails provokes a round of nausea.
  • They drain your energy. You feel the need to lay your head on your desk following any interaction.
  • Scope-creep is a common occurrence. And, they want to expand the scope – at your expense.
  • They don’t respond to any form of communication. This would be okay – if you were a mind-reader.
  • They don’t show up for scheduled meetings or contact you to reschedule in a timely manner that allows you to best use your time.
  • Late-payment is their standard operating procedure. Plus, you receive push-back if you charge interest on late-payments per your agreement.

Are there other warning signs you would add to the list?

If you can relate to any of these symptoms, here’s why it’s smart business to fire some clients:

  • Wrong clients wreck havoc with trust in your marketplace and damage your brand.
  • Unsuitable clients require greater management and cause your business to lose money.
  • Opportunities are missed because of time spent meeting the high demands of incompatible clients.
  • Working with the wrong clients dilutes your focus making it more challenging to gain transaction and move forward.

And, the most important reason it’s smart business to fire a client is because working with misfit clients prevents you from doing your best work for ALL your clients.  When you’re spending your time and energy with less-desirable clients, you’re unable to maintain optimum performance. That’s not good. Your ideal clients deserve your best.

Core Business Assessment


Brooke Billingsley

Vice President
Perception Strategies

Synnovatia is a strategic coaching firm that is detailed and knowledgeable about business. i have a small business that grew from $150K to $750K because of the goal setting and resources that Synnovatia provided. It saves me years of learning on my own.

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