6 Reasons Why I’ve Fired Clients… and Why You Should Too

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Web Development SEO Social Networking Burnsville MNThe idea that “the customer is always right” is wrong.  There… I said it.  In my line of work, if the customer WAS always right, they wouldn’t need ME!

I get it… for the past 20 years, business owners have been victims of self proclaimed “webmasters”, SEO “experts”, and social media “gurus” who offer bad advice and direction, set unrealistic expectations and make impossible promises, only to end up taking hard earned money while delivering nothing.  Understanding this, and being a generous person by nature, I spend a great deal of both THEIR valuable time and MY valuable time helping existing and potential clients understand what they need to know.  Typically, it’s more than they THINK they need to know… but then I remind them that it’s the “NOT knowing these things” that allowed them to be taken advantage of in the first place.

Here’s the thing… there will always be those few who, despite your best efforts, simply refuse to get it.  When you reach that point, it’s OK to admit… and say… “I just don’t think this will be a good fit for either of us”.

Here are 6 signs that you have reached that point.

  1. They question your expertise. Don’t misunderstand.  Initially, I expect that.  I WELCOME that.  After all… it’s the lack of expertise by someone before me that ultimately brought us together.  However IF, after showing proof of what you CAN do… and HAVE done… this hasn’t been taken off the table, any relationship you venture into will be doomed.  Move on.
  2. They refuse to compromise and adjust expectations.  I provide existing clients and potential clients with extensive education.  I show them HOW and WHY, when things are done a certain way, the results will be there.  Again… I do this because those who preceded me did not.  A client will say, “I told the last company that I wanted THIS and THAT.  The company promised, but failed to provide me with THIS and THAT.”  I then explain, “You can’t have THAT, before you have THIS… and here’s why.”  Many times I have to break the bad news and explain that what you were told, or what you just read, is not applicable to what you’re trying to accomplish.  Or… just because your competition is doing something that you like, or think is “cool”, doesn’t mean that’s what YOU should be doing.  Any “rebuttals” after the explanation simply takes me back to point number one above.  Move on.
  3. Their underlying concern revolves around cost.  Again… I get it.  Money is tight.  Budgets are important.  However, here’s what they’ll do.  The last person they paid… or perhaps DIDN’T pay (because it was a “friend” or “family member”) clearly didn’t perform.  If they had, you wouldn’t be talking with them right now.  Don’t feel obligated to carry that burden.  The time they wasted and the money they threw away is not your fault… nor is it your responsibility.  Your time and expertise is valuable.  It’s how you make your living.  Any haggling where price point is concerned devalues who you are and what you do.  Move on.
  4. Indecisiveness and indecision.  Simply put, this wastes valuable time on both sides.  There’s such a thing as “over thinking” and “over planning”.  If, after devising a plan, mapping out a strategy, discussing goals, and determining cost, you’re still not moving forward, there’s a good chance that point number one above is still on the table.  Others simply choose to sit on the fence their entire life.  That’s their problem.  Don’t make it yours.  Move on.
  5. They display a lack of respect for your time.  Perhaps it’s just me… but just because a client is paying you doesn’t mean they own you.  They’re paying you for a specific amount of your time.  Make sure to be crystal clear with that.  Those endless questions via voice mail messages, emails, text messages, Facebook messages, etc… eat into that time.  A little show of respect goes a long way.  If it’s becoming a problem, take a moment and have that discussion with them.  And if they’re NOT paying you yet?  Expect even MORE consideration.  If they’re not willing to show you that respect and consideration?  Move on.
  6. Constant requests for “side favors”.  Don’t allow yourself to fall into this trap.  It’s directly related to point number 5 above.  “Could you take a quick look at this and tell me what you think?”  “Do you have five minutes for a quick question?”  “Here’s what I want to do… can you toss something together for me to look at?”  So… you’re asking me for my input and expert opinion?  A “quick look” isn’t going to get you what you want.  There’s rarely such a thing as a “quick question”.  They almost ALWAYS turn into lengthy conversations.  Nothing in this business gets “tossed together”.  Again… take a moment and have the discussion with them.  If this persists?  Move on.

Some business owners stand in the way of their own forward progress and success.  This is an industry of constant change.  I don’t know about you, by MY responsibility to existing clients and potential clients is to stay on top of those changes, be their “expert”, and help them continue down the road to success.  As with any long term relationship, there must be mutual trust and respect.  There must be “give and take” on both sides.  When the relationship becomes one-sided, it becomes exhausting.  When you’re exhausted, your existing client relationships will suffer.  When this begins to happen?  Move on.

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