How do you Know When it’s Time to Fire Your Clients?
On occasion, everyone deals with a difficult client. They might be very sensitive to keyword choices and hyper-sensitive to optimized content and internal anchor links. It’s understandable. Because, hey, it’s your brand and it has to be represented a certain way. As a search marketer, as someone concerned about their own brand and image, I get that.
And, yes, “difficult” can cost you profits if handled incorrectly, be a total time-sink, and in some cases, ruin your day. Yet, how you perform with difficult clients, in the worst of times, will only make you that much better with everyone else. It’s the easy, amicable clients that get you into trouble. After all, you can’t hit homerun everytime out, and the struggle is where joy arrives.
At what point does difficult turn to “fire-able”? That’s the question. And, everyone has a different answer. Every person has a varying tolerance level. Some could/can tolerate it forever because the client is the “Golden Goose”. Others, based on past experiences, have a extremely low threshold, won’t put up with the slightest rumblings, and pull the trigger. It all falls along the bell curve and standard deviations.
There’s Only So Much Shit You Can Eat.
Be honest, there’s only so much shit you can eat. Even the most easy-going, lax, and tolerant person has a limit. So I asked the question:
Clients do need to understand that this is the last resort. I don’t think anyone EVER wants to fire someone. You always think it’ll be better the next time around. Maybe just a phone call to explain my point-of-view on the situation and how it affects our partnership. But I’m learning: once an asswipe, always an asswipe. Clients don’t change. I think Ian Lurie put it best:
The McDonalds-ization of Client Service
“The client is ALWAYS right.”
Unfortunately, that is not the case. There is an overwhelming pressure to kowtow to the client’s wishes, one that has infiltrated businesses across the globe. And, with a global depression/recession in full-swing, the client knows they have an advantage. They’ll press you. They’ll barter, bargain, and attempt to de-value your services because there’s a global crunch and they think they can. They ignore you to avoid having to approve work they were so desperate to get.
The fact of the matter is, it’s NOT ok. The client is not right. They want filet mignon at chesseburger prices. If your search marketer is worth their salt, they completely understand you’re marketing budget got tighter. That every dollar needs to be accounted for, stretched, and maximized. But, that does not mean that I have to grossly de-value and debase myself and my services to fit your budget.
Time to Fire Your Client…
It’s time to fire your client when the relationship is completely lopsided and no mutual balance can be found. Or as Alysson Fergison put it:
[when the] need to understand that their decisions impact other people’s lives
Then it’s time to fire your client.