Refuse Defeat featuring Christopher Tompkins

#013 Choose Your Dream

Chris’ shares his story on firing a high paying, high stress, high maintenance client. These clients can be detrimental to your business, your health, and your all around being. Imagine hating your job. Hating going to the company YOU built because of one client.

I have had these and I know I have been this client (not going to lie to you)!

From personal experience, why was I this client?

After much research I realized the company we were paying to be experts in a specific field was taking advantage of the lack of our education in this market. While, doing a poor job on their job I started to ask questions. As I started to learn and seek information on what they do, what they should be doing. I realized this can go 2 ways. They will shape up and do what they should be doing because we have been a paying client for well over 5 years or they will get fired.

Around the time I was going to fire them, they beat me to the punch! They hated that I questioned them, held them accountable, and checked up – but that was my job. My job was to make sure the task was completed in a timely manner. After that “timely manner” was up, I am sure this was when they thought I was the client from hell. Except, they were very overdue for an expensive project and were doing a poor job on communication.

Unlike the example Chris gave, I didn’t call multiple times a day or send a crazy amount of emails, but I did expect a check-up every day to tell me where we were and if we were still on track to complete the project at the 2nd date they provided. Let’s just call this accountability!

Now, before I say fire every client that doesn’t fit your new mold of a dream client. I believe it is important and very valid to take a step back and look at your company.

  1. Is this client being hard or high maintenance because of your mismanagement or over promise?
  2. Have you listened to their side of the story without being defensive?
  3. Is there a way to fix this and everyone either separate happy or remain working together with a new understanding.

I ask myself these before I “fire” any clients and I also give the client the benefit of the doubt that that day or even week was a bad week. I have sat on the phone, ready to fire clients, and then realize they were taking out their anger of a different situation on my staff because my staff was not going to yell back.

Is it right, absolutely not. Has each client come back and apologize later, yes – every time! Have I fired a client after this, no, thankfully everyone was on the same page, they felt listened to and have never had another problem. (Side-note: some of our BEST reviews came from these clients, they also continue to refer us.) Sometimes, even if it isn’t your job, people just want to be listened to! Please don’t take that to the extreme and give advice or listen to every story, but just think of a time when it would have been really helpful when the service representative just asked you how they could help you, then actually help you!

Chris’ story is different, his client(s) were just draining his staff without a reason. Do you have some of these? It is possible. Should you get rid of them, probably! Should you get rid of them right now, maybe, it depends on your business model!

I believe it is possible for you to build your dream business, your dream company, and take it further than you ever imagined! I do know at some point everyone will run into a client that is hurting you more than helping you, you just need to be strong enough to know when enough is enough. Hopefully, prior to that point, you follow your instinct and do what is right for you and your company.

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