Are some clients like frogs in hot water?
What's that smell? Reminds me of salty chicken.
People with a sensitive nature should NOT read this post – you have been warned!
There is an urban myth that says put a frog in a bowl of hot water and it will immediately jump out but place it in some cold water and then gently heat it up and it will happily boil to death. Not a nice image and I have never tried to prove it either way but is there a lesson to be learnt here?
Here’s my point. Run a little audit of your longer standing clients and: –
- Work out precisely what you do for them and how long it takes
- Calculate what PROFIT (not turnover) you make from them
- Estimate the hassle factor – how much pain, stress and general agro you get from them.
Then ask yourself this question “if this was a new client opportunity and I knew in advance what I would have to do, what profit I would make and how many extra grey hairs I would gain would I still take them on?”. Be brave and be very, very honest with yourself.
In my experience I have found a client moves from a dream to a nightmare in very small increments and over a long period of time (back to the frog) and I have usually ended up wishing they were no longer clients but was afraid of what changes I would have to make to my organisation if I let them go and lost the turnover.
The first thing to do is create a new value proposition with either bigger charges or a reduced deliverables (or both perhaps!) and present it to the client. In some cases they will react in a fair way and you can negotiate at other times they will assume the pose and laugh you out of the room. It then comes down to your courage and conviction of what is best for your business.
I have made the right decision twice in my life and in both cases there was some short-term discomfort followed by a significant lift in my profits and reduction in my stress levels.
So the big questions are do you have any frogs in your client estate and how brave do you feel?
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