Ian Lurie // Mar 6 2012
Breaking up is hard to do.
But, as Portent’s President says, people remember how you enter, and how you leave. So ending a business relationship on as positive a note as possible is important. Even if the company in question never hires you back, employees change jobs, and you want them to think well of you when they land at their new position.
Here’s what you should never, ever, ever say:
I know that, when you get fired, you’re steaming mad. I sure as hell am. I’m mad at myself, my client, probably a few members of my team, my least favorite politician of the moment, E Coli bacteria and my right knee, which clicks and pops ever since surgery.
But the truth is, bad things happen. Companies get fired. Blame, in the end, doesn’t do anyone any good, because people buy pleasure.
So find other ways to vent. I go ride my bicycle up steep hills until I’m ready to throw up, or maim StarCraft II players, or punch furniture (doesn’t usually turn out well).
Just do your best to avoid venting at the client. There will be times when you can’t help it. Move on. Maybe even apologize. But definitely move on.
And try not to vent online. Or, if you really can’t stop yourself, make it really, really anonymous. It’s amazing how sometimes, clients you didn’t even think could use a computer suddenly find your angry quote on Clients from Hell.
The right way to end a client relationship? Try this template:
“I’m really sorry we have to part ways. If you have any questions or need help with the transition, please give us a call. And, if you need help in the future, let us know. Thank you for your business.”
If you’re being axed because of something other than performance—budget, bottlenecks or a cancelled project—maybe even add in “I think we did some great stuff together.”
That will leave everyone as close to happy as possible.
Remember, people remember how you enter, and how you leave.
Everyone who’s about to comment, writing all the times I’ve lost my cool when firing a client, or being fired by a client, you’re right. I’m far from perfect. But I’ve learned a thing or two. Emulating my stupidity makes you, well, stupid.
Ian Lurie is founder and CEO of Portent Inc., an internet marketing agency that has provided internet marketing, including PPC, SEO, social and analytics services, since 1995. Read More