When it comes to any relationship whether business or personal, sometimes expectations or personalities just clash.
Sometimes it’s necessary to sever the relationship for the well-being of both parties. Breaking up with a client can be awkward but sometimes necessary. Think of the characteristics of a member, donor or client we’ll describe as a PITA (Pain in the !@#).
Let’s see if some of these traits ring true as you think of this individual.
They may be…
– Late for meetings – Exceedingly demanding of your time and energy – Expect excellent service and value but price-shop – Threaten to take their business, talents or donations elsewhere – Leave everything to the last minute – Are rude to you and your team members – Have unclear and unrealistic expectations – Perhaps they’re even abusive with their style of communication – Permit themselves 60, 90 or 120 day payment terms
I’ve only had a few circumstances over the past twelve years where I’ve had to “break up” with a client. I think back ten years ago to a large client, their purchases attributed to the bulk of my annual sales at the time. At a glance they appeared to be a great client by their sales volume, however there was a lack of respect and loyalty. I had to re-evaluate the situation and let them go. It was terrifying at the time but what I realized shortly after was that I had so much more energy and enthusiasm to share with the rest of my client-base. In fact, my sales actually GREW when they were no longer in the picture!
I had a similar situation while I was in a leadership role for a not-for-profit organization. Our group had a member who would consistently show up late to meetings, disregard the opinions of others around the table and was extremely demanding of the organization. After the team decided to “break up” with this member we had a surge of energy in the room, new ideas, new members join and quickly replaced his role with an outstanding contributor.
Breaking up IS sometimes hard to do but I encourage you to re-evaluate the worth of your business partnerships. Think outside of the monetary realm, the commission, the volume of donations or influence of a board member. Is the relationship serving your organization in a positive and mutually beneficial way?
Remember the value of your time, talents and energy that you bring to the table and don’t let your worth be sucked dry by a PITA. And for heaven’s sake don’t go out of your way to keep a PITA happy or they will refer you to their friends – other PITA’S!