There’s no doubt about it, losing a client is tough, and it’s even harder not to take the rejection personally. The inevitability of being an accountant or financial advisor means that, no matter how good you are at your job or how successful your business, at some stage a client will cut you loose.
It’s important to remember though that one rejection doesn’t mean the end of your practice, or the end of the world. Here’s what you should do when a client fires you.
Investigate the reason
The first step is to find out why your client has decided to end their contract or take their business elsewhere. Whenever possible, investigate the reason for them cutting the ties. After all, customers stop using services for all sorts of reasons, and many have nothing to do with the quality of the service at all.
For example, you could find your client simply can’t afford your services anymore, or perhaps they’ve had a change in circumstances and therefore don’t need the kind of support you provide. Even an office relocation is a valid reason. Clients tend to prefer meeting with their accountant or advisor face-to-face, and so if they’re moving, they will want to find someone local to support them.
On the other hand, it’s also possible the rejection comes because the client is unhappy with your service. If this is the case, finding out more about their grievance not only gives you the chance to fix the problem and potentially keep their business, but you can also ensure other clients aren’t experiencing the same issue.
It’s natural for your feelings to be hurt when a client lets you go – particularly when you disagree with their reason for doing so – but it’s important to always remain professional, no matter how upset or angry you might feel. With the increasing importance of social media referrals and Google reviews, you can’t afford to be rude even when you feel the person’s comments justify it.
Instead of getting upset or angry, take a breath and try listening to the person’s concerns objectively. Put yourself in their shoes. Make an apology if it’s appropriate and offer to remedy any problems that have arisen, and, if they’re moving to another service provider, ask how you can make the move easier. This humble behaviour could make your customer reconsider cutting ties with your business, inspire them to recommend your services to their contacts in the future, or even return to your business at a later date.
Learn from the experience
Finally, armed with a clear understanding of why you’re being fired, work out if there’s something you can do differently in future. This could be offering a broader scope of services, using accounting tools like QuickBooks Online to better service your customers, or rethinking your services provision. It could indicate a change needed in how you price your services, the payment methods you accept, or the customer service experience you and your team provide.
Alternatively, you could discover you’ve been targeting clients who aren’t the best fit for your business. If this is the case, use the information to restructure your sales and marketing efforts, and win the clients you really want.
So, if a client cuts you loose, make sure the parting is amicable and you end up learning something from the situation. Taking these next steps can help to reduce the toll the rejection takes on you.
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