If you’ve come to realize that the amount of time you’re spending to “manage” an incessantly needy client far outweighs the amount of revenue they represent for your company… it's time to think about firing them.
At the Center for Sales Strategy we teach our clients how to effectively manage their accounts, grow their existing business, and prospect for new business… all at the same time. We teach B2B sales organizations how to structure and implement an account list management system to help salespeople prioritize their time AND their accounts. This system also serves as a blueprint to guide sales managers as they work with their salepeople to develop growth strategies to increase sales performance.
An effective account list management system will also identify the “time suckers” who monopolize their salesperson’s energy, and hold their time hostage keeping them from more lucrative revenue generating opportunities.
While these clients are spending money with your company, if the time spent managing an account far out weighs the revenue they represent for your company… it’s time to part ways and let them go!
Also, if you’ve come to a point in the relationship where you don’t enjoy working with them anymore… it’s time to part ways and let them go! Or if you can no longer offer effective business solutions… it’s time to part ways and let them go!
If you’re afraid to lose the revenue, don’t be… when one door closes many more open. While incessantly needy and problem prone clients spend money and have value, the cost to keep them is your lack of time and opportunity to grow existing clients and develop new business. This is a HUGE opportunity cost! So realize it, get over the loss, and commit your time and energy to a growth strategy that will drive revenue.
Q: What’s the best way to fire my client?
A: Honesty is always the best policy. Say what you mean, and mean what you say…but don’t be mean when you say it!
Your client may not like to hear that you’re firing him… so don’t tell him that! Tell him that you really care about his business, his continued growth, and the relationship you’ve developed. Be honest about your inability to serve him well, and then recommend a few other companies that you believe will be able to pick up where you left off, meet his needs, and help him grow. Change might be the best thing for him and his business.
Here’s an example of a how you might fire an incessantly needy and problem prone client:
"Larry, I have learned so much from you over the years (or months) and it has been an honor and a privilege to collaborate with you and develop solutions to help you grow your business. As your partner, I want your company to continue to thrive and grow. I believe we’ve come to a pinnacle in our relationship where (insert your companies name) can no longer effectively serve your needs and help you reach the next level. It would be incredibly easy for me to continue to take your money and deliver the status quo, but that is not what I’m about. I want your business to be served well and I want you to continue to grow… even if that means losing the revenue you bring to my company. As your partner, it is necessary for me to be completely upfront and honest with you. I’d like to recommend a few other companies that I believe will be able serve you well and take your business to the next level."
The truth hurts—at first—then it will set you free. I’m not sure who said that, but it definitely applies to this situation. If you dare to take an honest look at how you spend your time, you just might see your valuable time being held hostage by an undeserving client.
Once you've fired an undeserving client, you'll be free to spend more time growing your key accounts and developing new business. Download our Key Account Annual Growth Plan to get started today.
Demrie Henry is a Performance Consultant at The Center for Sales Strategy.