Dropping clients is one of the scariest decisions you can contemplate. From a distance, it certainly feels like sawing through a tree branch you are sitting on. And yet, caring for trees responsibly includes pruning branches, even those that have been good to have in the past.
Dropping problematic clients clears the capacity to better serve others and grow.
Clients can be great and exciting people, but ultimately we seek their company because of what they can bring us. Some of them can grow into friends, but most never will. And out of those, some will become unproductive or even destructive to our will to work.
3 Archetypes of Destructive Client Relationship Traits
1) Exploitation – they are happy to get value but show no intention or interest in offering you a deal that shares the risks and rewards in a sensible, win-win way.
2) Boredom – they are stuck in a rut, and are happy to pay you to keep them company there, but are unwilling or unable to move past it.
3) Burnout – they expect you to “burn the candle from both ends” and “move mountains” for them at an unsustainable pace, and wouldn’t work with you at all if that changed.
It’s true no client is beyond salvation, but often they are not worth the effort of “saving”, especially if they exhibit very little respect for what you already did for them. If you had to drop 1 in 5 of your clients tomorrow, who would it be?