Helping you work with your ideal clients is a big part of my mission; so naturally, I get a lot of questions from my audience about the subject.
A client recently asked me,
“How do I fire a NOT-ideal client?”
That is a great question and one that is helpful for everyone wanting to work with only ideal clients.
One of the many inspiring marketing leaders I look up to is Michael Port, author of Book Yourself Solid, who discusses maintaining only ideal clients through your “Red Velvet Rope” policy. He even gives an assignment of “dropping the duds,” to let go of the clients that are draining your energy and holding you back.
But how do you do it?
Here are three keys to success when letting go of a NOT-ideal client:
Adopt an Empowering Mindset
Your empowering mindset: Your mission is to help the client reach their goals, even if it isn’t with you. Instead of thinking about letting a client go as “firing,” adopt the mindset that it is not about hiring or firing, but instead helping the client get where they want to go. Should the perfect person to help them NOT be you, it is your duty to address this and encourage them toward a path where they can get the right support.
I once had a prospective (not ideal) client who emailed me back-and-forth more than 10 times before our initial targeted 1-1 session. She expressed discomfort with my (younger) age, sent copious interview-like questions, and seemed resistant to coaching and feedback, telling me openly that she had an ego and her own Way of Doing Things. My gut screamed “not-ideal client,” so I finally sent her a friendly email offering a refund and suggesting she connect with another business coach who was a similar age, and might have been a better fit for her unique preferences. Her response? “I agree,” and she gratefully accepted the refund!
Use Thoughtful Language
The language you choose is important. Focus on the positive and how you are aligned with the client, instead of drawing out the details of how you are not a good fit, or vividly describing your frustration. Bottom line: You do want what is best for the client, and if you are not feeling energized by your clients, then you cannot give them your best, and they deserve the very best for their investment!
In short: Leave the “You’re fired,” talk to Donald Trump, stay positive and straightforward, and, of course, make the words your own.
You need to be clear with yourself, so you can be clear with the client. Are you to the Point of No Return with your client or do you just need to talk things out?
If you know in you heart of hearts this partnership isn’t right for you, then stand firm. The client might want to talk you back into working with them; but if it doesn’t work for you, it won’t work. It’s like keeping a romantic relationship going when only one partner is in love. It’s not fair to stay in the relationship for you or for them.
When you let them go, a beautiful thing happens; they are free to experience a partnership with someone who is a perfect fit, and is better suited to help them toward their goals and dreams. And you have more energy to serve the people who delight & inspire you, and allow you to do your very best work!
Enjoy this blog? Share with your friends!
Now, I want to know:
What do YOU think?
- Have you ever had to let go of a NOT-ideal client? How did you do it? Were you satisfied with the outcome?
- How do you think today’s blog will help you with NOT-ideal clients from here forward?
I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!