You’re not discerning, you’re just a prima donna

Not all business is good business.

Firing clients is a healthy practice for any company that wants to grow.

But it should be done for the right reasons.

Like when there’s too big a gap between the client needs and the firm’s abilities. Then it makes sense to part ways amicably.

Or when the client is no longer lucrative for your business. Time to move on.

Or maybe the client is toxic and has no boundaries and makes the account people want to jump out of the office window. Good riddance.

Firing them is a professional and intelligent strategy.

On the other hand, some companies only fire their clients because they like the idea of being a company that fires clients. Or because leaders are impatient and assume that everyone who disagrees with them is an unsophisticated idiot.

But running a business on pride and ego isn’t sustainable.

There’s a big difference between being discerning and being a prima donna.

Fact is, real client relationships take time to nurture. Years and years of nurturing and building and evolving. It’s a slow burn that you can’t rush.

I’m reminded of the founder of one of my old ad agencies. In our quarterly team reviews, he would always make a point to compare year over year client data. His graph would show how many of our biggest clients today started out as our smallest clients twelve months ago.

That’s good perspective. A reminder that we can’t just bail on our clients because they’re annoying or inexperienced. We can’t just fire them because they don’t appreciate our thinking as much as we want them to.

Client services is a labor intensive business model, and sometimes the firm has to eat shit for a while before the relationships starts paying dividends.

That’s the difference between having customers and having clients.

One is a transaction, the other is an investment.

Are you discerning, or just a prima donna?


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