You know that feeling. That sick, anxious feeling in the pit of your stomach when you realize it’s time to move on from a client. Maybe they’re just too demanding, or maybe the project has been nothing but trouble from the start. Whatever the reason, you’ve come to the conclusion that it’s time to end things. But how do you do it? How do you break up with a client without burning bridges or getting yourself blacklisted? Here are a few tips.

Client dumping is never easy, but hopefully, these tips will make it a little less painful for everyone involved. Good luck!

Pick Your Time and Place

Just like breakups in romantic relationships, client breakups need to be handled with care. You wouldn’t dump your significant other in front of all their friends at a party, would you? Of course not. The same goes for your clients. When you’re ready to pull the plug, set up a meeting with your client in a neutral location (i.e., not your office or theirs) and invite them alone. This way, they won’t be caught off guard by your news and they’ll have the opportunity to speak their piece without an audience.

Be Direct

When it comes to breaking up with your client, there’s no need to beat around the bush. Be direct and honest with them about why you’re ending the relationship. If possible, try to avoid assigning blame or placing fault squarely on their shoulders; this will only make them defensive and potentially combative. Instead, focus on how the breakup will benefit both parties involved. For example, “I think it would be best if we ended our working relationship so that I can focus on my other clients.”

Make It mutual

If possible, make the decision to break up mutually between you and your client. This way, both parties will feel like they had a say in the matter and there won’t be any hard feelings. The last thing you want is for your client to feel like they were blindsided by your decision; that will only leave a sour taste in their mouth (and could come back to bite you down the line).

End On A Positive Note

Even though you’re ending your professional relationship with this client, that doesn’t mean things have to end on a sour note. Take some time at the end of your meeting (or conversation) to thank them for their business and express your gratitude for the opportunity to work together. Wishing them well for future endeavors is always appreciated too. By keeping things amicable and positive, you’ll increase the chances of maintaining a good rapport—which could come in handy if you ever need references or referrals down the road.

🍩 Just the Sprinkles

Dumping a client is never going to be an easy task—but it is possible to do it without completely burning bridges (or getting yourself blacklisted). Just remember topick your time and place carefully, be direct about why you’re ending things, tryto make it mutual if possible, and always end on a positive note. With these tipsin mind, breaking up with your client doesn’t have to be such a daunting prospect after all!

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