5 Key Signs That A Client May Be Holding You Back

Whether you are starting a business that’s taking on many new clients or maintaining a set of long-standing client relationships,  it is always best practice to periodically assess each relationship to ensure it’s a truly mutually beneficial partnership. Often, businesses like to grow “at all costs”. But growth, in fact, comes with real costs.  Keeping clients who are no longer part of true mutual partnership risks doing more harm than good. These relationships utilize resources that have alternative uses, holding firms back from exploring and building other, more beneficial, partnerships that can grow the company’s bottom line more over the long-term.

New clients can turn out to be a poor fit, but it’s equally possible that old clients are no longer appreciating the value your services provide. Below are some of the key signs to consider when deciding if the business relationship should continue.

Clients direct and redefine the expertise provided to a point that detracts from positive results.

Clients risk modifying marketing efforts and guidance so much so the original plan is lost in the mix – a direct path to an unsuccessful outcome. Clients often believe that their in-depth industry insight positions themselves as marketing experts. A working relationship needs both the client’s insight and specialist marketing expertise to succeed. The combination and synergy of both parties’ knowledge typically yields the most successful partnership.

The client doesn’t fully understand the benefits of the services rendered.

The sales pitch is effective, and the client signs the proposal, but the lack of education and understanding of the product or service can still become a lingering issue. Initially, they buy into the service because they are desperate or need a quick result, but because they don’t fully understand the process, their patience runs thin. Expectations are not understood and the relationship is now under pressure. It becomes a fire drill instead of a steadily defined execution.

The task list grows but the budget stays the same.

Clients will ask for deliverables until they are blue in the face, but they don’t have the budget to back up the requests. Yes, good business development might include some pro bono hours to build trust. But if there is no respect for the work required, or a struggle to obtain payment, then there should not be a relationship. Folks should be truly engaged and willing to help each other grow their businesses.

The client is not engaged.

Clients join the first few conference calls, they are engaged and provide insight to help your efforts, but then slowly over-time the responses dwindle to almost nothing. An effective relationship takes a commitment from both parties, along with ongoing communication.

The relationship is stressful.

Life is too short, and sometimes the love of money skews good decision making. A stressful relationship will not result in positive results. If you are stressed, then the team working on the account is stressed. There is no reason to proceed, and exiting a fading relationship will allow the team to proceed to more fruitful relationships.