When the client is not your client.

Admit it. You’ve been there. There was this one time in which, even when you had the best of intentions, you wanted to fire a client. 

Now, this can seem a little contradictory. Aren’t we supposed to have lots of customers so we can have a thriving business? Maybe, but it doesn’t mean that everyone is your potential customer or that you need to serve anyone who calls you. Sometimes the client and you just don’t make a good pair and these are three of the reasons this can happen:

Scenario 1: The customer needs a service that is not something you excel at. So, you accept the project, learn as much as you can about it, and do your best effort but still, you don’t seem to be doing it right (at least from the client’s perspective).

Scenario 2: The client addresses you as if you were their employee and not a collaborator or a service provider. So, instead of having a dialogue with you so they can listen to your suggestions, they tell you how to do your job. 

Scenario 3: The customer is constantly asking you to change your contract terms or rates that all your other customers agree with without a blink of an eye. 

What to do? Remember that they’re not bad people, they might just not be your clients. Now, before you let them go, you can try this:

In Scenario 1, I’d suggest you admit that you won’t be able to help the client with that specific project and if you know someone who does, you can recommend them to them. The client will appreciate your honesty and might call you back for other projects.

In a case like the one in Scenario 2, you can try to generate a conversation instead of receiving orders. Let the client know that you’re an expert in your field and that you know what you’re talking about. If the client still refuses to listen, it might be time to let them go.

If you’re experiencing a situation like the one in Scenario 3, I can propose to you to discover why the customer is asking you to lower your rates. If they’re experiencing hardship maybe you can adapt your terms so they’re convenient for both parties. Now, if they just want to pay less, I’d say that they don’t value what you offer, so they might not be a part of your target market.

We are grateful about working with new clients. But we should be fair to them and ourselves. If it seems that there are warning signs, maybe the best is to let them know that it’d be better to work with someone else. It might feel a little frustrating but it also means that we can focus on attracting the kind of clients we want to serve.

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