Love your customers…The customer is king…Customer satisfaction is job #1. Well, how about ‘firing’ your customers. That is advice from marketing maven Seth Godin.

I’m currently in the Maldives working on my ‘other blog’ – – that has a focus on the special and distinctive features of each resort which is very much inspired by Godin’s Purple Cow. In fact, I give many of the Marketing Directors I meet here a copy of the book as a thank you for their help in my research. So it seems appropriate to feature a few Godin inspired pieces this week. In fact, just last week, Godin featured a piece about just how to go about ‘firing your customers’ by ‘articulating your preferred use case.’

“Many organizations will take any customer, any time, and bend and writhe to accommodate money in whatever form it arrives. Other, happier organizations understand the benefit of optimizing for a certain kind of interaction, and they have the guts to decline the part of the market that doesn’t want to use their tool/organization the way it was intended.”

My favourite business writer of late, Sales Machine’s Geoffrey James, uses the humorous example of the ‘Soup Nazi’ in the Seinfeld series of portraying Godin’s concept of ‘firing your customers’…

“One my favorite characters of all time is the “Soup Nazi” from the Seinfeld TV show. He ran a take-out restaurant with soup so good that he refused to sell it to people whom he deemed unworthy. When the character George Costanza complains that he didn’t get any free bread, the Soup Nazi hands him back his money: “No soup for you!” The scene is funny because it’s wildly out of sync with our usual experience in business situations, where sellers are deferential (and often obsequious) to buyers.

Conventional wisdom says that sellers should be grateful that a buyer is even considering buying at all. Therefore, the seller must work hard to keep the buyer happy, even if it means giving away something free in order to close the deal. I happen to think, however, that the “Soup Nazi” philosophy of selling has merit. The problem with the traditional way of thinking is that it makes you seem desperate. Customers sense that desperation and will use it to extract last-minute concessions, discounts and add-ons that will kill your margins and eat up your valuable time.”

For a complete colourful catalogue of cringe-worthy customer characters, check out Grasshopper Group’s ‘How to Determine When to Fire Your Client’ infographic…

Clients are absolutely critical for businesses to survive and flourish. However, there are limits to how far a freelancer or a business can go to please a client. Beyond a certain point your business and sanity just can’t take it any longer. Here are a few of those red flags that signal when it is time to fire your client.”

Sometimes failing your customer is the best thing you can do for them and you.

Grasshopper Group How to Determine When to Fire Your Client