Part of growing your professional service firm means you will have to occasionally evaluate your clients and make the decision to let go of the ones that just aren’t profitable or a right fit for your firm. This isn’t an easy practice, but this process will free you up to spend time on the things that really matter and allow you to focus on and achieve your goals.
Before you decide to let go of a client, evaluate whether or not you should raise rates in order to make the client profitable. This opton works well when the work itself isn’t profitable but the client has potential. If this approach is not a good choice, you may need to make the decision to let go of the client. This is usually the best option when the client just isn’t a good fit for the firm; the work may be too small or not complex enough or the client might not be a good culture fit.
If you have made the decision to fire a client, there are a few things to consider, as there is definitely a right way and a wrong way to go about it.
- Use an appropriate form of communication. Depending on the type of client, be sure to use an appropriate form of communication. If it’s a very small client, an email or a letter is appropriate. However, if it’s a slightly larger client who has been with you for some time, pick up the phone. In truth, the phone is the most personal approach to take.
- Show appreciation. Ensure the client knows you appreciate their business to date (even if you are letting them go because they aren’t profitable). This is especially important if the client has been with you for a long time.
- Introduce them to someone else. Do your client the courtesy of having at least one referral for them to speak to and include this information in your communication to them. This small step can help prevent potential issues later on.
Treating clients you’ve made the decision to let go of well is a long term investment in your brand. You never know what will happen down the road or who they might know.