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#482: The Day Will Come When You Leave Your Client

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Tuesday, January 18, 2011
Updated: Tuesday, January 18, 2011
Despite the possibility of offering more consulting services, for some clients we have done all we can and it is time to end the relationship. Any tips on how best to do this?

Above all, make the exit a well managed one. Just reaching the end of the current task, submitting a final invoice and saying your good-byes is not enough. Three areas are worth attending to:
  • Fulfill and document all work commitments to assure your reputation for integrity remains intact. Make sure the client has the data and tools to fully implement your
  • Conduct an orderly "social" exit, in which you spend enough time with key client staff to make sure they understand and can implement your work products and processes. Explain the terms under which they can contact you for additional assistance and the basis for your departure.
  • Make a plan to connect with those individuals from client staff who have moved on and the terms of how they may use your services in the future. Specifically, it is likely that when they left the employ of your client, you were precluded from working with them in their new jobs. You may be obligated under contract with the client you are about to leave to limits on how you may contact them and/or work with them. These terms may change with your departure so you should be prepared to reengage with them as appropriate.
Tip: Spend plenty of time with your primary client sponsor leading up to your departure. To smooth the transition, especially for clients you have served for several years, talk about what services you will no longer be providing and how (if needed) those skills and services will be replaced by client staff or other service providers. Make sure they are fully aware of all the value you have provided. Finally, express your gratitude for the opportunity to provide services during your tenure.

© 2011 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  client development  client relations 

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