Have you ever had a toxic client?
You know the type. They hired you for your expertise, but they question everything you do (and your motives) every step of the way. They fuss at you and berate you (and sometimes yell at you), often for things that are outside of your control … sometimes even related to things that you specifically warned them about or advised against, but they refused to hear. They call, text and email all hours of the day and night. They are disrespectful, rude, and even downright mean.
You know the type, right? You should fire them.
BUT! You say, surely you can tough it out for the 60, 90, 120 days you will need to work with them and finish a transaction. But it will be worth it for the 8, 10, $12,000 commission at the end. You can suck it up for that.
I’m sure you can. I’ve done it before, and you probably have too, but the question is how much is that particular commission costing you?
The toxic client is draining. They zap all of your energy and creativity, and maybe even make you question your career choices. It takes all you’ve got to deal with them, which means you are probably not being attentive to the rest of your clients and most certainly not prospecting … who can dare think of any new business when you are dealing with someone like that?!
The next thing you know that toxic relationship ends, with or without a commission at the end of it, and MAYBE you walk away $10,000 richer, but what did you give up in the meantime? How many opportunities did you miss because you were so caught up in the drama and the bs and toxicity? Maybe you walk away with that one commission, but you gave up 2 or 3 others … and not to mention much of your energy and sanity.
Be firm. Be clear. Be confident. Maybe even be a little cold. Sometimes, firing a toxic client is the absolute best thing you can do for your business, and your own sanity. Oftentimes just taking those actions will help the toxic client to “straighten up”, and you can reset the relationship and have a successful transaction. Other times it is exactly what you need to revive your business, and your spirit so you can move on to bigger things.
I love this video by Fabienne Fredrickson about how to fire toxic clients. Take a look, and let me know what you think!