What do you do when a relationship just isn’t working out?
That’s a tough question to answer. Ask anyone who has lived through a difficult divorce, a painful breakup or a heart-wrenching separation. These emotional relationships wreak havoc on two people. Splitting up is never easy.
That’s why I was interested in a recent guest blog titled “How to End the Client Relationship” over at WritingWhitePapers written by Sharon Hurley Hall.
The only problem was that the post had a major fault with it: The content didn’t deliver on the title promise. I wanted to know how to end a client relationship, but what I read talked about a writer’s experience getting shafted for payment. Tsk, tsk, Sharon…
How to end a client relationship is an important social skill to learn. Breaking up affects your credibility, your reputation, and reflects on your business image.
Here are some tips on ending a client relationship:
- Be calm. Never be hostile, attack a client, or write a flaming goodbye.
- Be understanding. Yes, you’re splitting up for you. Be sympathetic that ending a relationship is no easier for the client.
- Be concise. Don’t go on and on with explanations. Keep it short, simple, and polite.
- Be professional. Don’t drag up past events, point the finger or lay blame. It isn’t necessary.
- Be clear. Avoid vague comments. If you’re saying goodbye for good, say so.
- Be open. Some people don’t realize they’re being difficult. Leave room for possible discussion to work out issues.
- Be fair. Don’t leave a client stuck with an unfinished project. Offer to complete the work.
- Be reasonable. Leaving a client scrambling to make up for your loss isn’t nice. Give notice, if you can.
- Be mature. Don’t get into a back-and-forth email argument. If you’re quitting and there is no going back, don’t keep replying to emails that just drag out the situation.
- Be thankful. Every situation teaches us something about ourselves and working with others. Thank your client for the experience and what you’ve learned working with him.
- Be strong. Many people have a hard time speaking up for themselves and saying no. Gather your courage, and like Nike says, just do it.
It’s important that you be graceful and polite when you’re breaking up with a client. Your business image and reputation depend on it. Make no mistake that bad experiences travel fast – do you really want to be labeled as a difficult person to work with?
When ending a client relationship, with every word you write in your goodbye and with every move you make, ask yourself, “How will I be perceived when this is read?”
The answer should be, “As a professional.”