Monday, February 23, 2009

Why Good Clients Leave

We don’t lose clients! That’s totally true. We know where they are…somewhere else! So why does that happen? Why do good clients leave? Feel free to add to the list.

  1. They no longer need what we’ve been giving. Last year’s solution is this year’s expense reduction. Client needs have changed radically in the past 6 months. Have our conversations changed? Have our solutions changed? No matter how well you speak of a solution no one wants, you are going to keep that client.
  2. Someone else offered more value. This often comes in the form of a lower price and we dismiss it as that. But look deeper. Price is a part of the value equation. No one buys for a lower price unless they feel they are getting value (benefit). Somewhere along the line, our benefit failed to justify the cost. Be realistic. If our benefit has dropped (i.e. we solved their problem) then our cost should also. If ours doesn’t someone else’s will.
  3. We got boring. We stopped pursuing our client, dating them, coming up with creative solutions and new ways to make a difference. We went from uncommon to common. It was so gradual we didn’t even notice it. Maybe they didn’t at first either. But over time, our “same ol’, same ol’” opened the door to a new suitor.
  4. Management changes. The person our relationship was with is gone and we either haven’t built other relationships in the organization or we haven’t gotten in front of the new decision maker quickly enough. If have gotten there, we’ve probably told them more about what we did than explored what they may need. See #1.
  5. We Blew It and Didn’t Know How to Recover. Most companies blow it from time to time and, while not acceptable, it is expected. The real trick is whether or not we can recover—own the problem, solve it, etc. Defensiveness, denial, ignoring it, not apologizing, explaining it…these are the ways to lose a second chance.

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