Have you ever fired a client/customer?

SmartPulse -- our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Leadership -- tracks feedback from over 240,000 business leaders. We run the poll question each week in our newsletter.

Have you ever fired a client/customer?

  • Yes, and I don't hesitate to do so if they're a bad client/customer: 70%
  • No, I've never been in that position to have to do it: 18%
  • No, but I really should have and regret not doing so: 5%
  • No, but I wanted to and someone else wouldn't let me: 7%

The customer isn’t always right. As clients or customers, many of us have been brainwashed into thinking we’re always right and we have the power in a client-supplier relationship. The poll data show that’s clearly not true. Clients can get fired just as easily as suppliers can. Keep this in mind when deciding how you work with your suppliers. Do you jerk them around? Make unreasonable demands? Not pay on time? Treat them poorly? You might find yourself looking for another supplier if you behave that way. If you’re trying to decide whether or not to fire a client, consider the cost of staying with them and what you’re giving up by not pursuing better, easier to work with clients. When you realize what you’re missing out on, it might give you the courage to make an often long-overdue firing decision.

Mike Figliuolo is managing director of thoughtLEADERS. Before launching his own company, he worked at McKinsey & Co., Capital One and Scotts Miracle-Gro. He is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He's the author of three leadership books: "One Piece of Paper," "Lead Inside the Box" and "The Elegant Pitch."