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Last updated, November 7, 2022
To help you communicate politely to someone about no longer needing their services, we asked CEOs and business leaders this question for their best advice. This is slightly different from creating a farewell message for a colleague, which is why it is important to discuss.
From mentioning specific contributions made by the person to telling them you’d like to take a pause, there are several ways you may adopt to tactfully tell someone you no longer need their services.
Be sure to give specific examples and gratitude for this person’s contributions. You might also ask what kind of referrals they would be open to, or if they would like a formal review of their services to use in future marketing. Something like, “My business went from [experiencing X] to [improved state] thanks to your skilled work and unique touch. Thank you for your work, [person’s name], we look forward to staying in touch and singing your praises to your next raving fans!” can be an effective way to express your gratitude while keeping it short and sweet.
Benjamin Meskin, Cabrella
Start with thanking them for the value they’ve provided to you. Then share with them your reason for moving on. Honesty really is the best policy. And if you tell them what you are doing for you, there’s no negative.
Diane Helbig, Helbig Enterprises
The best way to tell someone you no longer need their services is to explain that this is due to a change in your circumstances. This way you avoid putting the blame on them or the quality of their services. To soften the blow, start with a heartfelt appreciation for what they have done for you.
So you could say something like, “We are grateful for the great work you’ve been doing for us. Unfortunately, due to a change in circumstances, we will not be needing these services anymore. We are sorry to see you go, but you will be the first person we will call should we need these services again.”
Leanna Serras, FragranceX
It’s always difficult to tell someone you no longer need their services, but the kindest way to approach this is to start by showing appreciation for what they have done for you. This takes the sting out of the fact that you will no longer be using them. Ending their service on a positive note is the best way to maintain the relationship in the long run. As an example you could say, “Thank you so much for the fantastic work you’ve done for us. We no longer require (their service) at the moment, but when we do, you’ll be the first one we’ll call.”
Dean Kaplan, The Kaplan Group
When terminating a professional, mutually beneficial relationship, the best thing to do is give as much warning as possible. Obviously, these kinds of conversations can be challenging, but procrastinating will only breed more stress and negativity surrounding the situation. Giving an employee, vendor or client ample time to transition out of the relationship helps keep things professional, and leaves things on a more positive note. Terminating a professional relationship is about showing as much respect as possible for the person, and there’s nothing more disrespectful than undervaluing someone’s time.
Peter Robert, Expert Computer Solutions
When ending or reworking a professional relationship, it is important to cover all your bases. You should never just tell one person and leave it up to them to pick up the pieces and tell the rest of their team. Make sure you have a one-on-one conversation with all people involved in the professional relationship. For example, if you’re changing vendors, don’t just speak to your point of contact. Make sure you touch base with the executives and leaders of that business and express your gratitude for the services they’ve provided over the course of your time working with them. This will ensure that your professional relationship stays strong, even if you’re not working together directly.
Nick Drewe, Wethrift
Being polite in a professional context goes a long way, especially when saying no. When someone’s services are no longer needed, it can be best to dress up the negative in order to maintain a positive relationship. Softening the blow with a ‘no sandwich’ is a great way to do this. A ‘no sandwich’ can be delivered by bookending the unfortunate news being given to someone with two pieces of good news. Additionally, try to give a month’s notice out of consideration for the service provider before they are no longer required. This can leave the door open and make them more receptive to continuing a professional relationship.
Liza Kirsh, DYMAPAK
In addition to writing a formal termination letter, I’d suggest either sending a small gift or employing them for an additional week when you’ve decided you no longer need someone’s services. If you want to maintain the relationship, you need to end on good terms. A small gift or an additional week of service says that you value what they’ve done for you and their hard work has not gone unnoticed.
Ben Hyman, revivalrugs.com
Explain why you don’t need someone’s services anymore, then give a referral to maintain the relationship. For example, you can tell a freelancer that you’re now focusing more on copywriting instead of content writing since you need to increase sales rather than site traffic to sustain your business. Tell your reasons for terminating the service because you may get a free consultation, or they may know someone else who can help you find an effective strategy to reach your business goals. Don’t forget to give a referral since this implies your willingness to help them find another client, making them appreciate you more and even promote your business voluntarily.
Shaun Connell, Rental Property Calculator
Telling someone you no longer require their service is one of the few occasions where less is more. Send a short email to politely inform them that although you find their marketing service, for example, impressive; you have decided not to continue with the transaction. Do not offer a long excuse as they may only mistake it as an invitation to convince you further. On the other hand, if only the price stops you from continuing with their services, be honest about it. Tell them you appreciate their service offer, but the price is not affordable for you. They can respond with their final price offer, which would hopefully work for you.
Collen Clark, Schmidt & Clark, LLP
Send a personalized note expressing gratitude for the partnership and highlighting some of the best parts of working together. Follow up with a meeting in person or over Zoom if possible. Ask about any other ways that you could help them in the future—whether it’s helping them find a new partner, or referring them to mutual contacts who could potentially use their services. Be transparent about why you are parting ways, but remember that this is their space to express how they feel as well.
Sam Speller, Kenko Matcha
Telling your service provider that you’d like a pause is a professional way of closing your business partnership without completely severing ties. A “pause” works ideally when working with freelancers on an open-ended contract or ad hoc basis, because you both know that their role was never intended to be permanent. It also leaves the opportunity open to revisit your agreement later should you need it.
Nancy Mitchell, Assisted Living Center
There are many tactful ways to communicate to somebody that their services may no longer be needed. If you choose to go down the route of writing a farewell card, we have many resources that can help you get your thoughts out like writing a great closing.
In the end, though, ensuring that you thank your employee for their work and time invested in your company should be of utmost importance, and using a handwritten note can really make them feel appreciated. If you’re not sure where to go, check out our services to help you out!
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