As marketers, we talk a lot about about how to attract new customers.

But what we don’t talk about is the opposite—how to fire a customer.

Trust me, I understand the desire to want to hang onto each and every one of your customers. When I first started out in private coaching, I would work with anyone who would have me.

But what I’ve learned is that sometimes it’s necessary to let someone go who isn’t a good fit for your business.

It’s for their own good—and for the good of your brand and your community.

If you’re as lucky as I am, you have some amazingly giving customers. But you may also have people who don’t match the positive vibe you want for your community.

Is it time for you to be more selective about who you choose to do business with?

Check out my 9 signs that you need to fire a customer in the video below, and and ask yourself if firing a client or a customer will help take your business to the next level.

Pam Hendrickson Blog - Pressed For Time

I’ve got a few quick tips to share, along with time codes if you want to go deeper.

Have a system for customers who don’t pay. These are the customers whose payments decline again and again, and then disappear after assuring you they’ll “take care of it right away.” Don’t let these customers take advantage of you. In our business, Chris and I have a hard and fast “two strikes, you’re out” rule. Find out more at 3:26.

Spend 80% of your time on the 20% of your customers who are the cream of the crop. These are the people who get results and make your community better. They are the heart of your business, where you can boost your impact—and your revenue. Just like former General Electric CEO Jack Welch used to fire the bottom 10% of his workforce every year, how could topgrading your clientele improve your business? Learn more at 5:30.

Beware of customers who don’t implement. As Jim Rohn famously said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” Your customers deserve to be in a community of people who raise their game, not bring them down—no matter how good their intentions. More on this at 8:16.

Don’t let people promote or pitch their products onto your customers. This is also known as Spam, and can quickly drag down your community. Protect your customers’ experience—and your lead generation efforts—by implementing a zero-tolerance Spam policy. More at 9:38.

Is it time for you to make more room for your best customers?

Have YOU ever fired a customer? I’d love to hear your experiences. Leave me a comment below!

9 Responses to “9 Signs That It’s Time to Fire a Customer”

  1. David

    Loving the opening showreel and content Pam! I concur about San Diego. This process can be cathartic and useful to focusing on your niche and ideal customer. The idiom birds of a feather flock together comes to mind, when I deal with negative people and energy and they do remind me of the dementors in harry potter..

    • Pam Hendrickson

      Thanks David! I agree, that sometimes you have to know what you want to repel into order to stay focused and strong on who you want to attract. Thanks for your note about the open—I’ll have to look into a Harry Potter themed blog in the future! 🙂

  2. Winnie Anderson

    Pam, love the opening. I especially love that you run the biggest online marketing business in your neighborhood.

    I agree on all of these. One I’d add…and maybe this was someone who is so bad they fit in several categories…The person who is hyper needy and expects ’round the clock responses from you.

    I once had a client who sent me 20 emails on a Saturday and 18 of them were asking why I hadn’t responded to the other two.

    I fired her on Monday.

    • Pam Hendrickson

      Winnie, your example is probably #1 on the list! I’ve had that happen and it’s crazy! And, yes, out of the 40+ people in my suburban neighborhood, I do run the biggest online marketing business! haha! 🙂

  3. Greg Leischner

    Love this Pam! One question regarding “Scope Creep” – how do you recommend we handle someone who falls into this category (trying to get more and more beyond what the program originally specified would be covered)?

    • Pam Hendrickson

      Great question, Greg! I think Scope Creep is handled in advance with (1) clear, written deliverables matched to a fee (2) ongoing management (the minute someone asks for someone outside of scope, “Okay, so this is out of our scope of written deliverables. We can either replace one of our original deliverables with this, bid additional for this new piece, or stick to the original scope. What would you prefer?” I also think it’s important to set boundaries. When we answer client calls at all hours of the night and weekends, we teach them it’s okay. That isn’t to say some flexibility isn’t important, but often times if someone is abusing my time, I find it’s my fault Great points, Greg!

  4. Marc Durand

    This is the essential skill that most business people lack. Choose your customers with great care and “get rid of the jerks”.

  5. Adrian Lightfoot

    Great video Pam, Not always nice to let someone go but what is best for the business at the end of the day is what matters, especially when then things turn sour ultimately the best decision.

    I had a client that I had done a consultancy work for (Restaurant & Menu Development) and after spending days of planning, development and production / execution etc. for them had to chase them regarding payment. To begin with they were al friendly – promised next week / end of month, blah blah, then couldn’t get hold of them.

    I ended up having to get a court order into getting the payment as the billing was in the £1,000’s , they ended up paying on the date it was due in court including legal / court costs as well.

    The funny thing with all this is they contacted me again to do some consultancy work for them again……… guess what I told them !!!

    I am now very selective as to whom I work with on that side of the business, as have other interests and lesson learned charge 50% up front.

    • Pam Hendrickson

      Adrian, that’s a hard lesson to learn, but I’m so glad it resulted in making you more selective – and more proactive about getting paid! It’s going to keep your consultancy much healthier in the long run. Thanks so much for your comment!


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