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Fire That Customer
By Joe Guertin, The Streetfighter Sales Coach

His car dealership was my biggest advertiser. He was kind of loud, but spent a lot of money, and wasn't too tough to work with (for me, anyway).

His car dealership was my biggest advertiser. He was kind of loud, but spent a lot of money, and wasn't too tough to work with (for me, anyway).

So why was I going over there to fire him as a customer? There were a couple of reasons that included ad content, aging invoices and had a penchant for demeaning our support staff on the phone. It's not a pleasant experience at all, and not one I'd wish on you. Sooner or later, though, you may come face-to-face with that dilemma: put up with a nasty customer because they pay the bills, or give up the cash and fire them.

But, before you throw that account overboard, consider these points:

Document Everything

Talk extensively with all parties concerned, but make sure you separate facts from feelings. In the heat of battle, anyone can paint a troublesome client to be worse than they are! Keep written, ongoing records of any disputes or discrepancies. Hollow accusations are meaningless, and you could even set yourself up for legal action.

Personalities Aside

Speaking of feelings, check yours at the door! Don't let your passion for your paper become a major deciding factor. I may not like someone, or they may not like me, but that's when it's time to shuffle the deck and pass that client along to someone else for a fresh start.

Weigh the Pros and Cons

Naturally, we exhaust all other possibilities before 'pulling the plug' on a paying customer! The decision requires careful consideration. Take time to research and examine both sides of the story


Joe Guertin is an advertising sales trainer, speaker and coach. His programs have informed and entertained newspapers nationwide. Your comments are welcome to joe@joeguertin.com, or visit his Sales Resource Center at www.streetfighterselling.com.

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