Why Your Clients May Need You to Fire Them — 3 Comments

  1. Hi Lesa, what a great reminder for entrepreneurs at the beginning of a new year. Perfect time to look at what I call “the way we do things around here.”

    Yes I have and more than once. It is one of the most powerful, liberating, opportunity opening actions a business owner can take. In my case, I’ve fired a couple of clients who came to me for business coaching and brought their relationship issues to multiple calls. We could never quite get to business. When I pointed this out to one of them, she tried to come back, but I didn’t feel things would really change.

    An accountant I’m coaching has been firing clients who treat her more like a personal assistant than a professional accountant. Some are coming back under the new terms of business, and others are moving on.

    I was going to ask if you think women in business have more difficulty firing clients than men in business? Then I remembered 2 of the men I’ve coached in the past year. It didn’t seem to be any easier for them. They are in service businesses and work on a personal level with their clients. What have you seen?

    • Joan,
      I think anyone of any gender can be guilty of not taking action in our business based on fear of what will happen. In the specific case of letting clients go, we often believe it will result in hurt feelings, and it is this potential that keeps us from taking the necessary steps. Women are more likely to feel this concern, but that doesn’t mean all men are immune, especially men who work in the helping professions.

      But what successful businessmen have known for centuries is you must be able to separate the personal relationship from the business relationship in order to make good decisions for your business. Sometimes this means having difficult conversations — with suppliers, employees, and clients. But these conversations don’t have to involve hurt feelings or include the closing of doors permanently. I’ve fired clients and then had them return as ideal clients, fully in alignment with me and how I do business. Speaking up gave the client the feedback she needed to change how she was seeing her business — and as a result, helped her to have more success. That is a gift.

  2. Lesa, excellent points. I’ve observed:
    Fear of what will happen
    Collapsing personal and business

    Love your result: speaking up turned less than ideal client into an ideal client…and served her. Yes, a gift!

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