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How to Walk Away from a Client: A Short Guide

man in cape walking towards door


So you’ve decided to walk away from your Client.


Perhaps it was for one of the 15 reasons listed in this blog post.


Or perhaps another reason.


But whatever the reason…


These are the 8 ultimate steps to walk away from your Client the right way!



A Word on New Clients


This blog post focuses on the 8 ultimate steps to walk away from existing Clients.


With new Clients there is obviously more latitude, and this makes it easier to walk away with:


Professionally delivered messages (that soften the blow of rejection), and

Still leave the door ajar for future work (if you want it).


And you cannot go past the tried and tested:


“I/We are not the best fit for this project” for walking away from a new Client professionally.



1. Stick to Tried and Tested Reasons


Never burn a bridge with a Client and tell them the exact truth.


And this is even if you really dislike the Client on all levels.


You must always keep your language polite and professional.


Stick to ‘tried’ and ‘tested’ reasons for ending your business relationship with them.



Substantial increase in workload

Mismatch in working styles, and

That you are not the best fit for this project (as mentioned earlier).


Because whatever you do:

Get your ‘tried’ and ‘tested’ reason engrained in your brain and stick to it at all costs…


No matter what your Client says to you on the phone! (step 4).



2. Give Plenty of Notice


No matter how much you dislike your Client always:


Give them plenty of notice!


Because remember this is a massive inconvenience for them because they need time to:


Make other arrangements.


Giving your client ‘zero notice’ is unprofessional and likely to get you a negative reaction that will:


Reflect poorly on your business and you (personally).


Note: The only exception to giving advance notice is if someone has been abusive (in any form) – because any form of abuse means get out straight away at all costs!



3. Suggest Another Vendor


You can easily soften the blow of rejection by referring your Client:


To another vendor.


But just ensure that vendor can deliver what your Client is looking for.


And out of courtesy ensure you give the Vendor a quick call to explain your situation ‘professionally.’


You should really have a list of vendors on file no matter how long you’ve been in business for this exact scenario.


But if you don’t:

At least do some groundwork and come up with a list of vendors that may be suitable for your Client.

That way you are still showing ‘professionalism’ by giving them another option.


Note: If someone has been abusive (in any form) – don’t bother with this step!



4. Call Client on Phone

ringing phone


So you’ve got:

Your ‘tried’ and ‘tested’ reason (for walking away)

Your notice period (for walking away), and

Your new vendor suggestion (for walking away).


And now it’s time to take a:

Deep breath

Pick up the phone, and

Discuss this with the Client.


No email. No voicemail. No text.  A live phone call only.


Communication is everything (as discussed here) and everything else can easily be ‘misinterpreted.’


Be brave, stay tough and make the call.


Each client will react differently but if you are always ‘polite’ and ‘professional’:


You will be rewarded for it with the outcome you want! 



5. Return Money and / or Project Materials

bag of money with notes of cash surrounding


This step is simple.


You return any:

Money (owed)

Materials, or

Intellectual Property to the Client.


And remember:

Money lost now will be recovered in the future with better Clients!



6. Save All Communications



Never delete all communications just because you’ve dumped a Client!


Things happen (on a business level), and unfortunately

Things can happen (legally).


Cover yourself.

And remember it’s your obligation as a business owner to keep accurate records for all:

Current, and

Past Clients.



7. Don’t Do This All the Time


Never make a habit of walking away from Clients.


And only do it if it’s absolutely necessary (like one of the 15 reasons discussed here).


After all your business is built on ‘trust’ and your reputation:


Depends on it.


If you get a reputation for ‘letting Clients go’ then that:


Can be hard to shake and may prevent your business from getting New Clients!


The Summary:

Absolutely necessary – do it.

One of the 15 Reasons for walking away – do it

Limit it – absolutely!



8. Reward Yourself


Letting a Client go can be a monumental ‘mental drain.’


Even causing you:


Headaches, and even

Sleepless nights.


So go on (if you have done the deed) reward yourself with:

A nice drink

A nice dinner, or



Because as Tony Robbins states here:

Effort should result in a positive reward to constantly move towards that state in the future.



How to Walk Away from a Client: A Short Guide Wrap Up

video wrap

Be selective when walking away from a Client:

Limiting it to one of these 15 reasons.


And always do it:

Professionally keeping your valuable ‘business reputation’ in-tact.


Because as British-born American Journalist / Broadcaster Alistair Cooke once said:


“A professional is someone who can do his best work when he doesn’t feel like it.”


And if you follow that motto you will:


Have a thriving business with Clients you love and love you back in return!

Over to You…

Do you agree or disagree with How to Walk Away from a Client: A Short Guide? Or is there something missing or you would like to add?? Would love to hear from you in the comments – any feedback is greatly appreciated.


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