If you haven’t noticed the theme for the month yet, I’m talking all about virtual assisting and the steps that you should take to make sure you are successful. I’ve talked about referrals and getting your client to pay on time, but what if you need to say goodbye to a difficult client? Well, I’ve got you covered there too.
Fulfill Your End Of The Contract
Even if you are saying goodbye to a difficult client, it is still important to fulfill your end of the contract. Don’t just drop everything and say goodbye. Finish the work that you were supposed to finish (within reason), and fill out an operation manual if you can.
If your client always makes things difficult for you, it may be tempting to do the same thing to them. DON’T DO IT. Under no circumstance should you ever stoop that low, even if you think it will make you feel better. Follow your contract, do what you need to do, and then you can move on to the next step.
Communicate That You Are Ending The Relationship
While I prefer doing this method via phone, you could also meet with your client face to face or send them a well thought out email. I choose phone because none of my clients live near me, but I’ve done so via email as well. Saying goodbye to a difficult client isn’t fun for anyone, but it’s common courtesy to give them a heads up vs. disappearing.
During your phone call or when you are writing your email, keep it simple and to the point. Don’t allow emotion to play a part in what you say or write. Offer the facts, and say that you feel you just aren’t a good fit for your client. If they are persistent in riling up your emotions or asking the same questions over and over, let them know that you’ve given them all the information you can. While they shouldn’t make things complicated for you, you’d be surprised at how people react when they are hurt or unhappy. This is no reflection on you. Say what you need to say, answer any reasonable questions they have, and end it.
Send Your Invoice
Once you’ve had your goodbye conversation, it’s time to send out your last invoice. Some freelancers hesitate doing this, but you still deserve to get paid for your hard work! Don’t hold back on sending your invoice because you’ve decided to say goodbye to a difficult client. Send your invoice as if you’d normally send it and wait.
If your former client pays right away, your free to move on to the next step! If not, you can always follow my tips and guidelines for getting a difficult client or former client to pay. Also, make sure you send them a copy of their paid invoice for their records! You always want to cover your bases, just in case.
Hand Over Their Information
Now, I have in my contract that the work I complete is mine until paid for. That goes for writing and any plans and maps that I draw out for clients. I do this for two reasons:
- A client can take my information and run with it without paying.
- It’s a way for me to keep track of the work I’ve done.
If you want to hand everything over right away, it’s your prerogative to do so. But if you have a lot of time or research invested into a client and their business, I highly suggest waiting until they pay first. Once they’ve paid their last info, send over all of their information, including log-ins, work completed, and anything else you’ve done for them. Do NOT continue to hold onto this information and use it for other purposes, and make sure you delete logins once you are finished. That could cause issues, and could even get you sued.
Saying goodbye to a difficult client can be a frustrating and even long process. But it doesn’t have to be hard, and it certainly doesn’t have to determine your success in your business. Following these tips can help you manage your goodbye process, leave on good terms, and walk away feeling good about your departure.