So here’s a subject that no one really wants to talk about – ditching your clients. Most of the time, we’re so focused on how we sell ourselves to clients and market ourselves to new clients, that the idea of getting rid of one of our existing clients seems ridiculous. However, there is a time for everything and today I want to focus on when you know it’s time to give your client the boot. Rather than always worrying about whether you are right for the client, don’t forget to consider whether or not your client is right for you and your business.
Before I get into some of the core issues that you should keep in mind when evaluating whether your client is right for you, let me first make sure that we are on the same page in a few areas.
– First of all, your contract is key in this process. If you do not have an option to exit the contract, you need to honor that. I am not, repeat NOT, recommending that you break your contract. If you don’t have an out legally, that’s something to ensure you have in place for next time. For the meantime, you may decide to stick with your client until an event is over and then just reconsider working with them the next time.
– We are definitely in business to service our clients. It is our job to make sure that they are as happy as can be, that they have amazing events and that they are pleased with the way that the events meet their goals and objectives. That being said, there has to be something in it for you too. Whether it’s money, branding or more, you are also trying to build a business. We are here to serve our clients, but not to be pushed around by them for nothing. The event planner who builds a great business knows how to balance her relationships with her clients, taking into consideration that there are bad days for everyone, but also balancing the needs of her own business and brand.
So – let’s dive in – here are 3 signs it’s time to move on.
It is really important that your clients trust you. In fact, I would say this is one of the most important aspect of any kind of client/vendor relationship. They need to believe that you are an expert at what you do and and trust you to deliver an amazing event for them. When trust is in place, the working relationship is so strong and amazing and this is where you can really find success. When there’s a lack of trust, it leads to missed expectations, double or triple work, and much more. In short, if there is no trust, the client is not ready to work with you. This needs to apply to your team as well. Your client cannot simply trust you as the business owner and then have mistrust issues with the people who work for you.
It’s hard for us to do our work when the goals aren’t clear. You need to work with your clients to establish realistic goals for their events and your working relationship. If this is not possible, you need to reconsider working with them. If there are not clearly established goals, you cannot have success. You need to know what your deliverables are and need to agree with your clients how you determine success.
The best kind of clients are incredibly supportive of you as a business. They chomp at the bit to give you great recommendations, they refer you to other clients and they support you through advice and other resource sharing. If you’re always hunting them down for a recommendation, maybe it’s all about them and not about you too.
The events that you plan for clients are as much of a reflection on you as they are on your client. While your client is using the event to grow their brand, raise money or achieve other goals, you are always looking to showcase the work you’ve done for other clients to share your success and leverage that for new business. If the event is not living up to the quality of your brand or does not fit in with your values, goals and objectives, it’s time to take another look.
Have you ever had to ditch a client before? If so, what did you do? If not, do you regret not making the move?
Liz King Caruso
Liz King Caruso is an Event Strategist, Consultant and Speaker. As CEO of Liz King Events and techsytalk, she has helped countless thought leaders grow their audience and sell their products through in-person, virtual & hybrid events. Liz is a big-picture person – passionate about tying events into an overall sales and marketing strategy and being efficient at every point of the process. Technology is her niche and she’s obsessed with helping organizations of every size leverage technology to produce more engaging and seamless event experiences.
In addition to her client work, Liz connects & educates her industry colleagues through platforms she has built – techsytalk GLOBAL, the techsytalk community & IGNITE Consulting program.
Liz has been featured as Eventex’s 50 Most Innovative Virtual Meeting Planners, Successful Meetings list of 25 Most Influential People in the Meetings Industry, Top 5 Women in Event Tech, amongst other awards.