It’s time to get rid of vampire clients
By: Sandy Saburn, CTIE

I am sure that you, like every other business owner in the world – have clients you love and clients that drain you of energy. Here’s my message about that second group:

It’s time to get rid of vampire clients!

Yes, that’s a tough term, “vampire clients,” but I am certain that everyone reading this can think of an example of what I mean. Those clients are the ones that drive you crazy, make you second guess everything, have unreasonable expectations, and in many cases, downright rude.

As a service professional, you deserve to have clients who appreciate what you do and value the expertise and connections you have.

So, how do you know you have a “vampire client”? The signs are pretty obvious (and these are just a few of the many):

  • When an email comes in from a client, do you cringe thinking about what they could possibly want now?
  • The client has no respect for boundaries and messages you at all hours despite you telling them that you are only available after hours for true emergencies.
  • They book travel that doesn’t make money for you because of the vast number of hours you put into the trip.

If you have a client like this, what do you do?

Fire them.

Seriously, you have the right to work with clients who appreciate your expertise, time, and connections. Ideally you would know whether or not a client is right for you (and you for them) before you start working together. That doesn’t always happen, or sometimes the client turns out to be different than they originally seemed.

So how exactly do you fire a client? Sometimes you can fire them before something is booked. Obviously, if they don’t pay your fee, then you shouldn’t work with them, but sometimes it is worth refunding the fee and sending them on their way.

Most often, the way this happens is after a trip is over and the client has returned, you decide to never work with them again. You can handle this in one of two ways:

  1. The direct way is to tell them that you won’t work with them in the future and suggest they find another advisor before their next trip.
  2. The indirect way is to remove them from all marketing and hope they don’t call again. But if they do, then you must be strong and tell them you won’t work with them again.

I know it is hard for some people to even think of firing customers. Fear creeps in, and you think about the lost revenue.

But here’s the reality: When you release a client who isn’t right for you, a better client will show up to take their place. I have seen it happen over and over again. You make the space for something better, and they show up.

One of the reasons that it is so important to fire clients who drain you is so that you will have energy and time for the clients you love. If you have ever had a vampire client, you know what a drain they are. Do you really think you can be as effective with your ideal clients when you have another situation draining you? I don’t think you can because you aren’t superhuman.

A big part of this is being true to yourself and your vision for your business. If you aren’t sure what you want, you’ll get a mix of things. Get really clear on your ideal client and the value you bring them, and that’s when the magic happens!