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When It's Time to Say Goodbye to a Customer

December 23, 20236 min read

Introduction

Running a trades business means you've got to know your customers well. But sometimes, you might have to make a tough call – realising when a customer isn't right for you and maybe even needing to let them go.

Why This Matters

It's not easy to think about losing a customer, but it's all about making your business better. Sometimes, a customer who seems good at first can end up causing more trouble than they're worth. It's about finding the right balance and knowing when to make a change for the health of your business.

When you run a trades business, your customers play a crucial role in your success. Understanding their needs, preferences, and expectations allows you to provide exceptional service and build strong relationships. However, there may come a time when you realise that a particular customer is not the right fit for your business. This could be due to various reasons such as constant payment delays, excessive demands, or a lack of appreciation for your work. In such cases, it becomes necessary to make a tough decision and consider parting ways with that customer.

Making this decision can be difficult, as losing a customer may seem counterintuitive to business growth. However, it's important to remember that maintaining a healthy and productive customer base is crucial for the long-term success of your trades business. By identifying and acknowledging customers who are not the right fit, you can redirect your focus and resources towards those who truly value your services and contribute positively to your business.

In the following sections, we will explore different scenarios where letting go of certain customers can be beneficial for your trades business. We will discuss dealing with tough customers, choosing the right customers, handling customers who don't pay, and the importance of evaluating your customer list. By understanding these aspects, you will be better equipped to make informed decisions and create a customer base that aligns with your business goals.

Remember, not every customer is a good fit for your business. It's important to regularly assess your customer relationships and make choices that prioritise the growth and success of your trades business.

Customers Who Need Too Much

Dealing with Tough Customers

Dealing with difficult customers can be quite challenging and time-consuming. These customers often have excessive demands, lack respect, and always expect things at a discount. They can make it hard to fulfil their expectations and consistently cause problems. It's important to recognise that these customers may actually be more trouble than they're worth. Their unreasonable demands and lack of appreciation can significantly impact your business operations. Therefore, it's crucial to assess whether it's beneficial to continue working with such customers or if it's time to make the difficult decision of parting ways. Teamwork has an excellent article on choosing which clients to get rid of.

When Enough is Enough

Making the tough decision to end collaboration with difficult customers can have several benefits for your trades business. Firstly, it frees up valuable time and resources that were previously dedicated to managing the challenges and demands of these customers. This allows you to redirect your focus towards serving customers who genuinely appreciate your work and respect your time. By eliminating the unnecessary stress caused by difficult customers, you can create a more positive and productive work environment for yourself and your team. Additionally, working with customers who value your services can lead to increased job satisfaction and motivation, as you are able to deliver your best work to those who truly appreciate it. Ultimately, parting ways with customers who don't appreciate your work allows you to build stronger relationships with those who do, contributing to the overall growth and success of your trades business.

Choosing the Right Customers

Finding the Best Fit

When it comes to your business, not every customer will be a perfect match. Just like with any client, there may be times when you encounter customers who may not be ready for the services you offer. In such cases, it's perfectly fine to take a step back and allow them to sort out their needs. The key is to focus on working with customers who are prepared and capable of fully benefiting from what you have to offer.

To find your ideal clients, consider conducting an exercise to better understand who your best customers are. You can download our Identify Your Avatar workbook here. Take the time to analyse the characteristics and qualities that make them a good fit for your business. This will enable you to build a strong customer base that aligns with your goals and values, making your work more enjoyable and productive. If you really want to look at ways of choosing your ideal customers, check out Harvard Business Review’s article on Choosing the Right Customer

Remember, not every customer will be the right fit. Regularly evaluate your customer relationships and make informed choices that prioritise the growth and success of your business.

Customers Who Don't Pay

Why They're a Problem

Let's talk about customers who have a tendency to be late with their payments. Dealing with such customers can be quite challenging and time-consuming. They often make it hard to fulfil their expectations and consistently cause problems. It's important to recognise that these customers may actually be more trouble than they're worth. Their disorganisation and lack of timely payments can significantly impact your business operations. Therefore, it's crucial to assess whether it's beneficial to continue working with such customers or if it's time to make the difficult decision of parting ways.

Time to Move On

When you've got a customer who doesn't pay, it's like working for free. And that's not fair to you. Even if you finally get the money, they probably won't value your hard work. It's better to let go of these customers and focus on those who pay you what you're worth.

Checking Your Customer List

Quality Over Quantity

In the beginning, you might want to take on as many customers as possible. But as your business grows, it's important to be more selective. You want customers who are good for your business, not just any customer.

Building a Strong Customer Base

Doing an exercise to figure out your ideal customer can be really helpful. It's about understanding who your best customers are and focusing on them. This way, you can build a strong base of customers who are good for your business and make your work enjoyable.

Conclusion

Remember, not every customer is a good fit for your business. It's important to regularly check who your customers are and keep the ones that are best for you. I encourage you to think about your customers and make smart choices for you and your business's future.

Image by Freepik

Customer relationshipsTough decisionsBusiness growthCustomer assessmentCustomer baseParting waysDifficult customersIdeal clientsChoosing the right customerTimely paymentsBuilding a strong customer baseIdeal customerCustomer evaluationSmart choices
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Paul Rogers, Tradie Coach

Paul Rogers is a renowned author and tradie coach, best known for his book "Get Off The Tools". He is the founder of "Tradie Coach, Tradication and The Business Prophet", a coaching and consulting company that helps tradespeople and small business owners transform their businesses into highly successful and profitable enterprises. With over two decades of experience in the trade and construction industry, Paul has a wealth of knowledge and expertise in business management and growth. He has worked with hundreds of business owners, helping them overcome the challenges they face and achieve their full potential. Paul is passionate about empowering tradespeople and small business owners to take their businesses to the next level. He is a sought-after speaker, delivering inspiring and thought-provoking workshops and keynote presentations to audiences around the world. Through his coaching and consulting services, as well as his best-selling book, Paul has helped countless business owners achieve their goals and build the successful businesses of their dreams. Whether you're just starting out or looking to take your business to new heights, Paul Rogers is the expert you can trust to help you get there.

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