Like any failed relationship, a dysfunctional arrangement begins when both parties are wearing their rose colored glasses. Everyone is on their best behavior. Even when slip ups occur, the benefit of the doubt is always provided. Things start off with the best of intentions when suddenly the things that you’d once given a pass to bug you to death. Much the same is true in a failed business relationship. In some instances, it’s better to call it- cut your losses and move on. Easier said than done.
Specifically, how do you make that call if you’re the one providing the service? When do YOU fire YOUR client?
Friction occurs when expectations aren’t met. Excessive friction equates to failure. I HATE FAILURE! Having said that, if failure is inevitable- embrace the opportunity to learn from it. I’m not in the business of killing off business. I love growth. I love the pursuit of growth and I love the challenge that organizations face as they grow. Yet, for the good of your business (think: employee happiness and bottom line) sometimes it’s better to move on. Taking a short-term loss can outweigh long-term detriment. Remember: you teach people how to treat you! If you’re feeling taken advantage of, it’s a result of one of two things. One, you’ve allowed that precedent to be set. Or, this person/organization is in the habit of this practice and it’s going to be tough to course correct.
Make no mistake, when business to business relationships fail it’s often because expectations go unchecked. Even more often than not, disappointment could have been avoided. Many times it’s because the relationship started off on the wrong foot.
These are seemingly basic criteria. However, if you’re getting to the core of these issues and overcoming these obstacles it takes time. Worry not! It’s time well spent. Let it be known that even if you’ve checked off these major markers, you could still find yourself in a less than productive B2B relationship. Circumstances change. People, by nature, change their behavior based on those circumstances.
If you’re experiencing this with a current client, it’s time to have a respectful conversation about going your separate ways.
While these (and others) may be deal breakers for you and your organization, it’s still incredibly delicate to communicate.
Most importantly, people may not always remember the details, but they’ll remember how you made them feel.
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