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Raising The Price So They Will Leave? That’s Cowardly.

OK, I agree... “cowardly” is a strong word to use. In all honesty though, the reason we usually do this as service providers is that we want a difficult client to leave, and we aren’t comfortable confronting the issue directly. Therefore, we raise the price in hopes that the client will choose to leave on their own. It’s a little like cutting a troublesome employee’s hours instead of just letting them go. It leaves a bad impression with them as they exit, and worse yet... it doesn’t always work! Sometimes they stay! 

So why is this method of getting rid of difficult clients not the best course of action? It comes down to these three points: 

  • If they leave, they leave with the unpleasant feeling that they weren’t happy with your service AND you became more expensive. This can be bad for your reputation. 

  • If they don’t leave but instead choose to pay the higher price, they will still be difficult. The positive feeling of you being paid more will fade rather quickly because the discomfort will remain. 

  • And what’s really bad about that situation is that the difficult client will expect more!  They weren’t satisfied in the first place, and now they are paying more, so their expectations will increase as well, making them even more difficult to work with. 

I’m not suggesting a confrontational conversation with every difficult client, but rather simply not using price as a means of chasing them away.  There are many reasons you can give a client for needing to discontinue their work, such as: 

  • We aren’t handling this type of work anymore, 

  • We aren’t handling this industry anymore, 

  • We aren’t providing this service anymore, 

  • We don’t have the bandwidth to handle your business, 

  • Or simply... we have had to make some changes. 

You will find that most clients don’t argue much, particularly if they were difficult to work with in the first place. Yes, some will ask a question or two initially, but as long as you hold your ground regarding the necessity of the change, they will quickly understand that the decision has been made and make other plans for their work.  It will feel uncomfortable at first, but that feeling only lasts a couple minutes and then life goes on. It’s never as bad as you imagine it will be. 

Raising a price in order to discourage a client from continuing to be a client definitely is a common strategy, it’s just one that I’ve seen backfire many times.  It’s almost always better for both parties if a clear decision to part is made, instead of pretending like a long-term relationship is possible. It truly does serve both sides best. 

If you need assistance formulating such a conversation, please reach out to us on our Contact Page. 

Until next time, I wish you the best in your business. 

Mark Goldman 


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