EMB Hot Take: When to Fire a Client
As it is, as a marketing agency, we're clearly in the service industry, which means that we are in the business of making our clients happy, but to what extent?
When you're a small agency, you tend to take the work as it comes, you're trying to pay the bills and keep the lights on. But as you evolve into a more mature brand, it's important that you value your time more and more, and attract the right type of clients, not just clients in general or a volume of clients.
We've experienced these growing pains in different iterations throughout the last nine years. Most recently with our big move into our new space and our expansion, we've had to honor our time more and more. What this means is that we certainly have times where we need to fire clients. I've found in my time running an agency, that this evolution tends to happen fairly naturally, because as you increase your pricing, you oust some prospects or existing clients out of being able to financially work with you. So, there is a natural evolution that happens.
However, there are certainly times when you need to proactively fire clients that are not respecting your time, or not delivering back to you the materials you need to be successful for their campaigns, or that are just simply not a good culture fit for your company. One of the things that we've done, to help us understand the clients that are the right fit for us, is actually developing a checklist of ten questions that help us understand the right type of client.
Understanding your target market is obviously number one, so for us knowing that they are an industry that we can actually provide service and increase visibility and profitability for, is really important. But just as important as being able to deliver for the clients, is being able to work with a client that is a great fit culturally for our agency. As a small agency we only have so many hours in the day, so if we find that a client is just not vibing with us, we need to call that out and have a really honest conversation to make sure that we can move past that and continue to deliver for that client efficiently.
The truth is that not every client is a good fit for every agency. Sometimes you definitely need to terminate in order to protect your hours, your people and your time.