Fire Clients Who Hold Back Your Firm’s Growth
As an accounting professional, it’s easy to think all of your clients help build your business. However, some clients slow down your growth. In fact, your non ideal clients cost you time and money. That’s because they sap your productivity and take away from your bottom line.
When you start your firm, you eagerly work with a large variety of clients. As your business grows, though, you learn which clients get the best results from your service. And, the ones who aren’t a good fit for your business. At that point, you may start to wonder how to fire your non ideal clients.
It’s Your Decision
Instead of working with all clients, you’ll eventually reach a point where you can cherry pick your clients. It’s okay for you to decide who you want to work with and who you don’t want to work with.
Instead of accepting anyone as a client into your #accounting firm, start to cherry pick your clients. It’s okay for you to decide who you want to work with and who you don’t want to work with. Read full post. #getpaidwhatyoureworth Click To Tweet
You may have some concerns when you first consider cleaning up your client list. Often my clients express concerns about letting down their clients and making sure they have someone else who can do the work for them. Although it seems counter-intuitive, their accounting practice blossoms once they stop working with non ideal clients.
How to Identify Clients Who Hold Back Your Business
You probably know which clients are non ideal. Pay attention to the red flags. Red flags are subtle clues that they will not be a great client once you start working with them. You may get a gut feeling about someone, or their personality rubs you the wrong way.
Notice the signals. These subtle indicators are easy to dismiss. However, they’re worth paying attention to before you start working with them.
Here are 6 red flags of non ideal clients:
- Challenge your knowledge and expertise. This client does not value your opinion or system. She challenges your recommendations or counters with another accounting professionals recommendations. When you suggest a change, she says things, like I don’t know. She creates roadblock after roadblock which frustrates you.
- Negotiate your fees. From your first proposal to ongoing work, this client always tries to lower your fees. She is always looking for a special deal. Your non ideal clients will usually change to another service provider as soon as they find a better deal. Often, she’ll work with you when you are first starting out because she knows your fees will be lower than average.
- Just one more thing. Although you agree to do specific work for your client, she’ll ask for exceptions. After you initially agree on the work, this client adds on tasks. If you could do this one more thing, too. This client doesn’t consider the time and expertise involved in doing additional work.
- Multiple Check Ins. Some clients need more hand-holding than others. Are you okay with the additional emails, phone calls and texts? Does she respect your boundaries? Clients who don’t treat you as a professional or respect your time are not ideal.
- Don’t respond to your requests. To maintain accurate financials for your clients, you sometimes need clarification about a transaction. Do you have the patience or tolerance for clients who are slow to respond or require multiple requests?
- Openly complain about the previous accounting professionals she worked with. Your non ideal client isn’t really interested in change or following through with your recommendations. Instead of taking responsibility for mistakes, she blame everyone else. Can you afford your name being added to the list of accountants who let her down?
Are you feeling drained?
These clients drain your energy. They often demand additional time and effort. The initial consult let’s a potential client decide if she wants to work with you. It’s also your time to decide if you want to accept her as a new client.
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I encourage my clients to only work with ideal clients. You’re allowed to be choosy, only accepting clients who appreciate, value and respect your expertise. And remember, non ideal clients consume your energy, take more time and reduce your income.
Steps to Fire Your Non Ideal Clients
Ready to fire your non-ideal clients? First, recognize the challenges these clients create. Then set up an action plan to only work with ideal clients.
- Holding on. You hold on to non ideal clients for too long, because you’re afraid to fire them. Do not expect these clients to change. Since you don’t want to simply drop them from your services, refer them to the ProAdvisor directory or local association. There’s another professional out there who’s a great fit for this client.
- Mindset. Get honest with yourself. Accept the fact that you have clients whom you’d rather not work with any longer. Firm owners hold onto non ideal clients for too long because letting go is difficult. Uplevel your mindset. Realize that working with a non-ideal client is a dis-service for both of you.
- Security. Take a risk. Don’t hold onto a non-ideal client simply because of the money. Learn how risk aversion affects your business. One of my clients recently let go of her top client because the business was no longer a good fit for her. Afterward, she was surprised at how relieved she felt. Plus, a new ideal client quickly appeared to replace the old one.
- Define. List all the top qualities you want in an ideal client. The exact right client is more likely to show up when you decide what you want.
- Review. Review your current clients. What common traits do your ideal clients possess?
- Grade. Sort your current clients into five grades—A. B, C, D, F—according to their ideal client scores. A recent client did this exercise and it was an eye-opening experience. None of his current clients were ideal. Instead, most were D’s and F’s.
- Change. Gradually start to let go of D and F clients. Start to replace them with new clients who meet your ideal client qualifications.
Free Up Your Time and Energy
You’ll be amazed at how much time and energy you free up once you fire your non ideal clients. As a result, your firm’s cash flow improves. And since you eliminate stress your productivity increases, too.
Cleaning house by eliminating clients who undervalue your work, drain your energy, and actually cost you money, is a strategic move that grows your accounting practice.
Letting go can bring up concerns, causing you to postpone this move for much too long. As a therapist turned business coach, I understand how it seems easier to stay with what you know instead of making this change.
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