The dos and don’ts of breaking up with a client

Whether you’re getting the ax or you’re doing the axing, there are guidelines to follow when relationships come to end. Follow them, please.

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From the client side, reasons for the big breakup could be financial—the client’s budget is used up. It could also be driven by the news, for instance, the client made its big announcement months ago and there’s no more news coverage to squeeze out. Or perhaps the reason for the split is that the client wants to play the field and see what else is out there, an “it’s not you, it’s me” kind of deal.

Of course, the agency can also do the breaking up, for whatever reasons it deems fit.

Regardless of the cause, professional breakups are part of the PR business and should always be managed so that the door remains open to the possibility of doing business together again at some point down the road. This is the time to call on our industry’s best practices; there’s a right way to behave and to conduct yourself.

Here are some dos and don’ts to help steer through the pitfalls of professional breakups—while leaving room for potential make-ups:


• Remember it’s not personal; it’s business. Walk the client through the “breakup” process, detailing what your agency will provide so they know what to expect.

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