When you first open your office doors, you might put up with more from your clients. But at some point in the game, you can choose to fire a client. Here are the top reasons it may be time to cut clients lose.
- They demand bargain prices and couture service. Most of your clients will work to get a good deal, that’s not what we mean. Some clients though will start to wear you down emotionally with all the nickel-and-diming they do. If your clients don’t see the true value you bring to their table, it is time to let them look elsewhere.
- They ignore advice and create further drama. Some of your clients are naturally going to bring some drama with them. That is workable, and you plan for that from the beginning. But some of your clients might actively ignore the advice and help you offer and in the process create unnecessary rush projects and emergency situations. When clients generate way more than their fair share of stress, it’s time to send them packing with all their extra baggage.
- They often makes unreasonable demands. PR and communications are not your typical nine-to-five for many firms. You may get middle of the night or holiday phone calls when an emergency happens. But if your client is calling you at those times on a regular basis without it being a true PR emergency, set boundaries. If they still cannot keep to those reasonable requests, refer them to another agency and, if needed, block their calls.
- They disappear when deadlines are looming. When a client brings you PR work that has set deadlines, but cannot be reached when you need answers or decisions with the deadline approaching, that’s a problem. Check to see who can be the point person until the client is available again, but let them know without answers you cannot meet their deadlines. And if there is still no response, notify them that you have put the project on hold until they are ready. Since you committed to that project, do your best to complete it. But consider either not doing other projects for them or creating a highly structured plan for any future work.
- They don’t respect you, your efforts or your time. You have worked hard to gain your skills and reputation and should not feel the need to put up with a bunch of garbage behavior from a client. That also holds true of your employees, they shouldn’t have to tolerate unacceptable behavior from a client. If that happens, put the client on notice that their behavior is out of line, and you won’t tolerate it. If it happens again, send them on their way.
Sometimes saying NO to a potential client is a better route than firing your client. Everything PR sent an email to our PR CEO list to see if they would represent Bill Cosby, Donald Trump and Doctor Walter Palmer. Of the 700 recipients we received 500 responses. The results were pretty shocking to see, since we always see controversial figures being represented by the top PR firms.
When clients start eating up too much of your time or energy or make you start dreading getting to your office, it’s time to turn them loose. Don’t let a bad client impact the work you love to do.