It’s over… Breaking up with problematic clients

I liken being in business a lot to dating. There’s introductions, seeing if you like each other, whether personalities mesh and if there’s an attraction in some way shape of form, of being able to want to spend time with the other person.

As a business owner, there’s a lot of answering questions, proving your a suitable candidate and vying for the others affections and attention. You even have to dress nicely to go to meetings, make an effort and there’s a lot of back and forth. It’s exhausting at times and I prefer to be chased vs the chase. I’m fortunate for the most part that’s the case and because of my track record, my proven track record and already having an established client basis – a large part of my referrals and business is word of mouth. Having to actively go out there and chase business or cold call and work in sales – that’s a young dog’s game.

None the less relationships in love, life  and even business can be destined for greatness or can be as horrible and abusive as being in a really sour partnership. Too often people in business are eager to please and get a new client. Bending over backwards, being available all the time and not setting realistic expectations and ground rules. Yeah it’s nice when you call when we first get together, but sometimes you calling all the time, is starting to turn into a really clingy ex.

On the same token having to always chase up and harp on at clients is no fun either. You’re the one calling, you’re the one messaging and sending emails and well you start to wonder when they’re not responding to you.. Are they disinterested and are they maybe seeing someone else? For whatever reason, you get busy. They get busy or other things have come up. You’re not excited to hear from them anymore, hitting mute on the phone well their name comes up. That when they do respond and you see their name in your inbox you’re doubting opening the message because it’s not going to go well.

You think to yourself, are they feeling the same way about you or do they just not realise how things have changed? That you can’t bear the thought to have to talk to, deal with them anymore and you’d much rather spend your time with someone else! Yeah those extra gifts and indulgences a month are nice, but you feel bad about taking their money and well you’d rather go without those things.

No one never likes being broken up with, but sometimes it’s necessary. But in business more so you have to hold back a little from telling someone all those home truths (because calling them when you’re drunk at 3am to tell them how they let you down, annoyed you and upset you might not be as acceptable with an ex partner ), because you never know who they know or when you’ll cross paths again and well, that could be really awkward.

Yes there are feelings involved and no one likes being made to feel like the problem, but on the same token you as a strong, driven and educated individual don’t want to have the blame pushed on you or made to look a fool.

You lay at night asleep, your thoughts are all consumed and you know it just has to be done. Phone call? No.. SMS, that’s kind of harsh but in business.. It seems email is kind of OK. You can let them read it in their own time and then tee up a time to discuss.

The first phone call is awkward, even though you know they received your email (because of course you had a read receipt) you can feel the tension and hostility. Make small talk and then ask “so did you get my email”.. They did, you talk for a while, decide on a finalisation and handover and then date to call it quits.

That wasn’t so bad after all, and you actually feel a massive sigh of relief. Things sounded cool when you hung up. What was the big deal huh.. And in those final weeks, things are easier. You communicate better and for a minute you think “seriously why couldn’t things just be like this all the time. Things could work”. For a minute you actually think about getting back together. But then reason kicks in and you know they wont change, that you did your best and it’s time to set them free. It’s a shame because you know how this story plays out and they’ll be closed in 6 months from now..

But sometimes a break up is for the best.. Yet why don’t we deal with clients and customers in this way? Why do we feel the need to have to continue a toxic or non beneficial relationship? Because of money? Pride? Do we love to make ourselves unhappy? Or is that just not “what we do”..

Do it.. letting go, saying goodbye and calling it quits is and can be one of the best things you’ve done.. The sour lemons, we’ll let them deal with them, because this girls going to make mother fucking’ lemonade!