When It's Time to Walk Away

When It's Time to Walk Away

Community User Blog | Posted by Wendy McClelland - February 24, 2014 at 11:12 pm
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I really love what I do!

Helping entrepreneurs become successful while creating a business they love. When I first begin working with clients I go to work with the goal that they’ll achieve the results they are seeking and they’ll appreciate my experience, training and skills.

I have been extremely lucky to have been able to work with dozens of entrepreneurs who have appreciated the work we’ve done together and been able to use the tools we’ve developed to be very successful. They’ve been happy with the results they’ve been able to get – whether it’s a higher ranking in Google, more business leads from their website or new clients from a marketing campaign.

However, there will always be those times when things just don’t work out. You and the client don’t see eye to eye, or you feel that no matter what you do it’s never enough. These kinds of toxic relationships can impact every aspect of your life. Even when you’re not working with the client you find yourself  going over your conversations and worrying about your last encounter. You can’t seem to shake it. When you get to this point it’s time to walk away.

But how do you graciously end the relationship without damaging your reputation? Firstly, accept the possibility that you may not be able to completely avoid some blowback. But, if you feel you need to sever the relationship you have to move forward. The client may tell others about what has happened. But, if you’ve built a strong reputation and you are known for providing quality service, it’s unlikely that one person speaking negatively will have much of an impact.

Secondly, I suggest writing a letter clearly outlining the following:

- You appreciate working with them and thank them for their business

- The ‘wins’ you and the client had while working together (a great new website, more web traffic, a write up in the local paper, etc)

- Then outline the reasons you have chosen to end the working relationship – be polite and gracious, don’t use inflammatory language and be concise and clear (give specific examples if possible)

- I then suggest you offer the client some suggestions for other suppliers or contractors who they may wish to contact to work with

- Copy any files you may have created for the client onto a thumb drive and include that with your letter

- I suggest, if possible, you hand deliver the letter

I know that once I followed these steps to end a non-productive client relationship I felt a huge weight off my shoulders. While I may have needed the income and I wondered how I would replace it, I knew I was making the right decision. And a funny thing happened – two new clients appeared to fill the gap and I ended up making more money and was able to work with people who appreciated what I was offering.

It’s never easy to end a working relationship but if you do it with clarity and politeness you will know you’ve done all you could to be professional. You can walk away with your head held high and move onto new and better client relationships.

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