Join this session

11:30am, Wednesday 3rd February 2021

This is for Agency Hackers members. If your agency isn’t a member yet, please sign up here.

IT’S NOT ME, IT’S YOU: Why It’s Important to Break Up with Tricky Clients

  • When do you sack a client – and how do you follow through?
  • How you decide between a healthy challenge and a toxic relationship?
  • Where is the line – and how have you enforced it?

One bad client can make you hate your job.

One bad client can make you not want to come to work.

Putting up with difficult people is all part of the job – but when things start to negatively impact you and your team it might be time to take action and resign them.

“If you’ve never resigned a client, it is a terrifying prospect,” explains Simon Douglass, owner and founder of Curated. “One particular client was all over the place internally. I could see the red flags in their processes and what they were asking from us. It was just so negative.”

This negativity had a noticeable effect on his team, and that’s when he knew he had to call time on this working relationship.

Jonathan Hill, CEO of 1minus1, has had similar experiences with clients. “Sometimes a client’s ethos and approach to the world is just so different to ours,” he explains. “And sometimes they just don’t understand the value of the work you do for them.”

When it comes to making the decision to completely cut ties, Jonathan says it’s simple: “Your gut feeling is everything. The honest truth is, if I get up in the morning and I’m dreading working with you, I’m just not going to.”

It can be difficult to make this decision if a client is a big source of revenue. However, it’s always important to weigh this up against the value of your workforce, and whether the negativity and stress is worth it.

“If it’s paying you a small fortune, you think you’ll be struggling if you get rid of them,” says Simon. “But actually, you will struggle more if you keep that client. Your staff will be unhappy. They won’t deliver good results. They’ll probably leave. Resigning a client is the best thing to do in that situation.”

Don’t take resigning a client as a complete loss – use it to your advantage.

“Remember that you were able to win that client in the first place. Why can’t you then go out and win another one?” advises Simon. “You’ve got all this experience from spending months learning about their competitors, so why shouldn’t you go out and talk to their competitors?”

This is a discussion open to all to discuss experiences of resigning clients and to share advice with others who are currently in a sticky situation themselves. We’ll be talking all about the negative impact of tricky clients, how to approach the situation, and the red flags to look out for in the future.