Today two of my dearest customers came into my new office seeing less cheerful than usual. We have to talk one of them said, and I remembered the bad name that phrase had. We’d like to tell you a couple of things said his partner beside her without his usual smile. I settled into my new executive chair calmly. On the other side of the screen one of my collaborators whom I affectionately called “my left hand” and who happily celebrated with me in the distance the opening of the new office in which I was at that moment waited for an emotional response that Arrived a couple of hours later.
You have been slow to respond he reproached me my left hand hours later when alone I echoed his celebration for our new space. I explained that those two good customers had come to give us feedback and without much fuss, I mentioned the points that we mentioned. My cheerful collaborator, on the other side of the line, was silent for a moment before bursting: It sounds terrible,” he exclaimed dramatically. It was the fault of the design team what are we going to do to fix it.
What are we going to do if they decide to leave? It was not anyone’s fault, but responsibility of all company- answered him tenderly in his tone worried we will review the client’s goals and make adjustments. In addition, if at last they decide to leave we will let them go! My collaborator was speechless on the other side of the line. We discussed it. Surely you, dear entrepreneur that you read to me at this moment, you can be thinking something similar to what he expressed to me at that moment:
Susana you must be crazy
Let me explain what I explained to him. Of course, I can be very wrong but in my years of experience as an entrepreneur I have learned that sometimes YES, it is necessary to let a client go. Not just a customer, sometimes you need to let go of many things and many people employees, partners, alliances, suppliers the constant change is the only constant in the universe! Sometimes it is not exactly simple but at least in my experience I have learned that it may be very necessary. How can or can we let go? How do you do that? My worried colleague asked me then.
Understand that it is not personal
Seriously, it is not personal so do not take it as if it were. I explain to my designers that, for example, design is subjective and when a customer rejects one of his designs, he is rejecting only one idea, one proposal, but it does not mean that they are bad designers or that “their work is not good. Has something like this happened to you? Many times when someone rejects your job or decide to leave your company (whether as a partner or client) has to do with the mutual goals are not well alienated so look how to fix it if possible, negotiate, dialogue. If it is not possible to reach an agreement let, go of that client or that account, always-negotiating best for both without mark yourself as “bad” or “not good” to you, your company or your job. We all make mistakes making mistakes does not make you “bad”.
Of course, it sometimes requires practice and experience to understand this. It took me years to stop taking things personally. When one of my first and best clients, I left the agency to move to a bigger one, I remember that I locked myself in my private office to cry for about 3 hours! I remember feeling personally rejected when that had nothing to do with me as a person had to do with sales goals, design style and scope of work. It is healthy to let off steam just that is also healthy wonder am I understanding all of it. My client came back later when I calmed down to listen and negotiate correctly the areas that we had to correct.
Look for a balance where both parties win, listen negotiate
Maybe at the end of any relationship is ending in a healthy balance where both parties an advantage. Sometimes it is complicated, I will not lie, but in my experience 90% of the cases in which you are willing to listen the other allow communication and agreements to flow. If we are going to end a relationship of collaborators or clients, what better than to stay as friends? Leaving your awareness quietly will allow you to advance more easily free of any slope. Seek that if a client leaves, at least know and feel that he was not losing and that work with a company with ethics and integrity.
Completely eliminates all processes involved
Closes the cycle would say such a therapist I know. It is a valuable and beautiful lesson of life, do not leave loose ends that can make that later the other person needs to look for you. Give him everything he needs, deliver everything that is necessary to deliver, delegate responsibility to the owner of the company so that he decides what to do next. It delivers all of course documenting that you receive that information, work or documents. Give it from the heart, wishing the best to the other person. If you made a mistake along the way take, the learning and let the rest go.
Of course, there are times when the second part does not lend itself to that. Finish in the best way possible by sending your part and taking your side of responsibility putting a coherent deadline and communicates its decision to the other. For example, I once made a business alliance with a girl who promised to deposit my earnings on the 15th of each month. He did it the first month and from there he did not do the following months.
At first, of course, my first thought was to harass her to keep her word, but then I decided to take control of the situation and I kindly informed her that I was breaking our deal. I gave you a deadline to keep your word or end our alliance. When the deadline arrived and since I still did not fulfill your part of the deal, I ended our alliance and all the processes involved. Yes but I gained a great learning. I still believe it is the design team’s fault I joked my much more relaxed left hand when I finished sharing all this.
It is your decision to live happy or bitter I said also jokingly. He asked me again, getting serious. Sure, is not super-ricotta-fun to fail or wrong but you know? It is good for entrepreneurs to understand at heart that no matter how many times we are wrong we always have to learn to rise and move on. Always improve to be every day the best version of ourselves.