Do you drop that client? Sucks for everyone, but maybe it doesn’t have to.
This is always a tough question, because it’s sensitive, there’s a big reputation factor on the line with both yourself and client, and it should be something that’s a last resort.
You and your clients are running businesses, you are adults, having difficult conversations such as this will happen.
First and foremost, you have to deliver what you say you would, as best you could.
I think that goes without saying.
But we’ve all faced situations in our service business where this question can pop into our heads:
- Where a client doesn’t pay on time
- The client is non-responsive
- Client didn’t communicate fully
- There were unrealistic expectations
- Scope continues to change
- You want to move away from that type of service
- Too many bumps in the road and the trust on both sides has eroded away
Areas of responsibility
When this question pops into your head, it’s important to really take a look at the road to this point.
Who was responsible for what and how did each party know that?
What were the terms?
Why did it get to this point?
Having an objective look at the situation may highlight things that can be solved and prevented in the future.
Own your mistakes, even if your client doesn’t own theirs. This is where the high road will always win out.
Set aside time to talk
As much as the conversation is going to suck, you have to reach out and set aside some time to have a conversation with the client.
Ending the relationship should be the last resort, because depending on all the aspects of it, it could get messy very fast.
Instead, see if there can be some level of compromise met. You may have to give a little to get a little here. This is especially in the case of getting paid and timelines. If there has been set terms, or no terms at all, signed in a contract that you are looking to alter, compromise is key.
However if there is total fault on yourself or your client, then there needs some accountability there.
If it’s late payment, the way to handle that is to stop doing work until the payment has been caught current.
Some explanation here may be needed and proof, so don’t go into the conversation without that.
Don’t point fingers
It’s imperative to not place blame and point fingers.
Explain that there’s an issue in the engagement, and offer up some possible solutions with some hard guidelines.
When you start placing blame, it lowers the professionalism of the relationship further and no one likes to feel like a kid on the playground being blamed for losing the ball.
Running your freelance business
More episodes in this topic:
What do you do when a crisis hits?
How to start building an email list as a freelancer?
How do you manage time wearing so many hats as a freelancer?
What software tools do you use for business? What is best?
How do you prevent, manage scope creep in your projects?
Do you schedule in time for exploring or reading articles online?
What is the best way to get income fast?
What happens if you can’t define a scope of work on a call?
What do I do first thing Monday morning?
How can I focus on my business when I’ve got a ton client work?
Do I have to be concerned with GDPR?
What are the tools and services that you use and would recommend to freelancers?
How do you have time for all that you do?
What podcasting gear do I use?
Does live chat bring you in business?
How do you followup with a lead after a proposal?
Did hiring a mentor really help you with starting up your business or your career?
What is my writing process
What is the easiest way to get a remote testimonial?
How do you determine a quality prospect?
How do you step away and actually take a vacation?
Are job boards reliable?
How to decrease the sales cycle or time to close?
How would you write a cold outreach email?
How to present different services that could potentially diminish your abilities in the minds of clients?
Should I bundle projects for clients or keep projects separate per client?
What product do you use for your business that you can’t live without?
What makes you stand out from other freelancers?
Do I drop this client?
How do I set a goal?
Do you meet leads and clients face-to-face?
How do I work “ON” my business and not “IN” my business?
What is the best structure for setting a goal?
How do you do a review of your week?
What do I say when a potential client says I’m too expensive?
What is activity based selling?
How to get more clients?
How to have a productive week?
Do you use a CRM for your business?
How do you choose the technology for your clients?
What is the structure of a weekly review?
What is the structure of a monthly review?
What are lead generation techniques to get me out of the feast and famine revenue cycle?
How do I know if I should buy a course?
What’s a polite way to tell existing clients you are raising your rates? And what is a reasonable percentage to go up?
How many email follow-ups should I send to a lead?
What do I do? I’m afraid to filter the tire kickers coming into my business because they are the only leads I have.
How to take the next step from contracting resource to solo business owner?
What do you think about Gutenberg? Schmutenberg!
How do I get better at sales?
How to overcome objections in sales?
How do I respond to an RFP?
How to respond to “I don’t need strategy, can you just do…”?
If you don’t have experience, how to you prove the quality without the education/experience?
How do you handle a client that has ghosted?
What do you ask during a sales call?
How to improve your sales process as a freelancer?
How to charge more as a freelancer?
How do you push past the imposter syndrome?
How do you segment your email list?
What to say when a client insists on adding something new?
What kind of content should I promote to potential clients?
Best of Season 3 - Get out of the comfort zone
Best of Season 3 - Building Relationships
S06 E12 - Undercharging, Targeting the Wrong Audience, and What You Should Do About It with Alex McClafferty
S03 Bonus - Tom McFarlin on Blogging, Balancing Work and Family, and Building a Business that Lasts
S09 E11 - Differentiation, Reputation, and Pivoting From the Top-Down with Peep Laja
S01 E11 - Kai Davis helping freelancers get more clients with outreach