Based on the response to my blog about firing a client, there are often sound reasons for ending a relationship with a client.
Having made the decision to fire a client, the next challenge is how to do it.
The challenge lies in extricating yourself from the relationship...without creating any bed press for yourself.
It's bad enough to lose a client without also losing your investment in building a relationship with the client.
Also remember the cliché that if you please a client, that person might tell some one else.
However, if you annoy a client...that person probable will tell 19 other people. With today's social media, unhappy clients are like to tell a whole lot more tan 19 people.
Here are 5 ways to fire a client.
Customize each to reflect the actual situation that you face.
Just the Facts, Ma'm
In ending the relationship, focus on the specific identifiable actions that are causing the problem. Avoid making negative comments about the client's personality.
DO SAY THINGS LIKE: “I have shown you 10 properties that exactly match the criteria you set out, but you were not prepared to put an offer on any of them. Since it appears that I can't help you, perhaps it's time to find another agent “
This explanation focuses on factual, observable and undeniable actions.
DO NOT SAY THINGS LIKE: “You don't know what you want, which makes it impossible to satisfy you.”
Unless the client tells you, you do not know what the client is thinking or feeling. To even suggest that you know what the client is thinking or feeling is insulting.
Accentuate The Positive
To keep the conversation as positive as possible, acknowledge the client's positive characteristics, even if this characteristic caused the problem.
DO SAY THINGS LIKE: "Your tenacity in looking for the perfect home is admirable. Unfortunately my skills are better suited to clients with more flexible approaches to house-hunting.”
Tenacity is often a characteristic to value...acknowledge it.
DO NOT SAY THINGS LIKE: “You are too stubborn...I can't help you.”
As well being insulting to the client, this reflects badly on you.
Continue to show professional leadership by offering an option.
DO SAY THINGS LIKE: “May I have my broker assign this to another agent in our office or would you prefer to find a new agent on your own?”
As well as expediting the ending of the relationship, you might even get a referral fee for your work.
DO NOT SAY THINGS LIKE: “Get yourself a new agent, I'm finished.”
Nobody like to be dumped. And when you dump some one, it invariably comes back to bite you.
Leave The Door Open It's possible that after working with another agent, the client will recognize what great work you did.
This could result in a repeat engagement...with modified behavior...or referrals.
DO SAY THINGS LIKE: “I'm sorry it didn't work out for us, his time...maybe another time it will work better.”
DO NOT SAY THINGS LIKE: “I will never work for your again.”
Never say never...you just never know what might happen.
Don't Badmouth Fired Clients
No one wins when one person publicly criticizes another.
DO SAY THINGS LIKE: “It didn't work out for us.”
DO NOT SAY THINGS LIKE: “He's a jerk...impossible to work with.”
There is one final step after firing a client.
That step is to figure out what went wrong...so you can recognize the warning signs and avoid having to fire another client for similar reasons.