Five Sound Steps to Take if a Client Wants to Fire You

Fourteen years ago, I was taking care of a wedding when the groom called me to terminate our services. To be honest, I still have no idea why they wanted to end our business relationship. And, I can promise you that I took it personally and I didn’t handle it well. Needless to say, I burned a bridge.
In the end, I managed to end the relationship with a termination contract with the client that included a confidentiality agreement. I learned quite a bit from the “ending” of that relationship. If I knew then what I know now, here would be my sound recommendations of what to do if a client wants to fire you.
Step 1. Don’t Talk. If your client wants to terminate their relationship with you, listen up. While your client is talking, don’t spend that time thinking about what you want to say next. And, don’t talk over them while they are talking to you. Your goal should be to hear and understand  their point of view about your relationship.
Recommended Script: “Tell me more.”
Step 2. Control Your Emotions. It’s okay if you want to curse or even cry, but you need to express all of those emotions when you are NOT communicating with your client. If you feel a little emotional when you receive the news, take a beat. Process your feelings (alone or with a trusted advisor) before you respond to your client.
Recommended Script: “Thank you for sharing this with me. May I have an opportunity to digest this and get back to you on (enter date or time here)?”
Step 3. Find Out What Went Wrong. Ask if there is anything you could have done differently. Your ego’s internal voice might tell you not to ask this question. But, you should know this information because it’s a chance to learn about your business and your client care. And, if your actions were not the root cause of the termination request, you might be able to do something to salvage the relationship.
Recommended Script: “Is there anything I can do to preserve this relationship, or is this a final decision?”
Step 4. Find Out if There is Anything You Can Do. Once you understand your client’s concerns, offer solutions that could address their concerns. Develop a plan to improve their experience and the end result. If your client declines, determine your next steps. Again, please remember to address this like a learning opportunity.
Recommended Script: “I understand that you are unhappy. May I meet with you to lay our our plan for turning this around?”
Step 5. End the Relationship with Grace (and a Contract). Review your contract to understand what is in place in your cancellation clause and to determine financial responsibilities of each party. Once you understand what’s in place in the contract, discuss the facts and the next steps with your client (without emotion). Then, send your client a termination letter for both of you to sign. The termination letter should be a binding contract that determines the official end date of the contract, the financial responsibilities of both parties, and possibly a confidentiality clause. If there is any way to avoid a bad review, put it in writing. By the way, if you owe money to the client, have them sign the termination letter first.
Recommended Script: “I have created a termination letter that details everything. Please sign it and return it to me by (enter date here).”
Once you successfully terminate the relationship with your client, take some time to think through what occurred and (if needed) make adjustments in your business operations.  Hopefully, you won’t ever have to go through this again. But, if you do, you will know what to do.
Love and Soul Always, Kawania
Photo: Shutterstock

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Hey there trailblazer!

I’m Kawania (kuh won nee ah) and I own and lead two successful businesses in the creative industry. Welcome! I created this blog as a resource that you can reference as you launch, run, and scale your own successful (and sustainable) business. There’s lots of information in this blog, so bookmark it and hit me up if you have any questions. We all need a little guidance every now and then, right? Take care friend. Keep shining! Love and Soul Always, Kawania

Popular Post

Scroll to Top

Become a “Brainery” Insider

Enter your name and email below to be the first to know about flash sales, new courses, product launches, and new blog posts.