The Power to Walk Away

The Power to Walk Away

A client friend of mine won her dream client.

There is an old saying: “be careful what you wish for.” Sometimes your wishes come true, and sometimes that dream client you pursued and won turns out to be a nightmare client.

You didn’t know that the contacts were on the wrong end of the business maturity continuum. You didn’t know that even though you would produce the business results they needed (in spite of their constraints) that they would constantly have you on your heels with their complaints. You didn’t know that they weren’t going to treat you as a business partner, or that they would make their attacks on you and your team so personal.

But now you know.

Getting Bogged Down and Going Nowhere

It’s easy to get bogged down trying to serve a nightmare client. You and your team are committed to delivering what you sold, and you are used to working hard to produce outsized results. You are used to never failing your clients, regardless of the cost.

But the struggle with nightmare clients and those on the low end of the business maturity continuum is that you can produce the result and still not make them happy with you, your company, or your service. Sometimes it is in their nature to be adversarial. Other times, the attacks are tactical and are designed to keep you on your heels—they complain, you work harder to please them, their demands grow, and you work harder still.

Getting bogged down takes your time, your attention, your energy, and your focus. This is time, attention, energy, and focus that could be invested in pursuing dream clients who would appreciate what you do and treat you and your team well.

Some Things Are Worth More Than Money

Your time is short. There are some things that are worth more than money. It doesn’t pay to serve clients who are adversarial and mean-spirited.

The money that you make will never outweigh the emotional cost and the toll it eventually takes on you and your team.

The money won’t replace the lost pride that your team once had when they were ten-foot tall and bazooka-proof serving your dream clients, the ones who treat you as a valued business partner.

Sometimes you have to exercise the power to walk away from bad business.

Questions

What factors make it necessary to walk away from business?

How do you work the problems and challenges that might require you to walk away before it reaches that point?

How important is it that your client treats your team well?

How do you know that the complaining and poor treatment isn’t simply tactical?


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