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  • Michael Weinberg

Losing Clients without Losing Your Mind



Losing a client, especially a major one, will never be something business owners see as a positive. Whether you're in the business of law, real estate, consulting or marketing, losing a client stinks. With the COVID-19 pandemic still lingering over our country, businesses nationwide are struggling to maintain prior business standards.


But despite the shock and uncertainty that accompanies this loss, you do not have to feel defeated. In fact, losing a client could be an opportunity for your business. To help you navigate the loss while staying sane, here are some tips:



Be Professional


As a business owner or manager, you no doubt know that professionalism is essential to building trust and credibility. The same truth applies after your professional relationship ends with a client. If and when a client calls you up to tell you, “I would like to end our agreement,” you have to know how to react.


Make sure to be understanding of the client’s decision. Listen to them when they speak. Expressing that you are sorry to hear they will be ending the agreement is equally as important. You should also mention that you would like to maintain contact with the now former client. You do not want the end of your agreement to mean the end of your business relationship with them.



Find Out What Happened


After losing a client, you want it to be a learning opportunity. The only way you can hope to improve is by figuring out why, exactly, your client decided to leave.


Sometimes—as is the case with marketing agencies and restaurant clients during the pandemic—the reason is a lack of staff. Sometimes it is a lack of funds. What you need to find out is if the client left for reasons out of your control, or if your business was falling short.


After losing a client, it might benefit you to set up an exit interview. Take 15-30 minutes to pick the client’s brain about what you did right and what you could improve on. If possible, also ask them what they plan on doing after your agreement has ended. Who will they be working with? What business steps will they take?



Set Up and Maintain Good Communication


If you have not experienced a client loss yet, then props to you! You most likely have established a reliable flow of communication between your point of contact and theirs.


Lack of good communication with the client is a recipe for disaster. Evaluate how often you meet or check in with your other clients. Improve the communication where it is lacking, and when new clients arrive (and they will, do not worry), establish consistent meeting and check-in times. This ensures your communication and your client relationships do not deteriorate.


But what if you have already lost the client? There is an opportunity to improve and maintain good communication with your former clients. Don't be afraid to reach out every few months or so to show that you truly value your relationship with them. Maintaining a good relationship can also help build a bridge into potentially working with the client again in the future



Don’t Give Up


It’s simple and perhaps overused advice, but don’t give up! The last thing you want to do after receiving news that a client is ending the agreement is to neglect your business. Even and especially when that client makes up a large portion of your monthly revenue.


Jordan Scheltgen of Inc. says that you should “double-down on your existing customers” when your revenue is at stake after a client loss. Instead of moping around because you’ve lost a huge chunk of revenue, do more for the clients who have stuck with you. Not only are you making up for lost money, but you’re strengthening set relationships and taking your mind off the loss.


Also, take your exit interview into account. If you received insightful feedback from the past client, put it to good use. Perhaps the client’s expectations were higher than you were able to meet. Maybe they felt that you did not pay enough attention to them. Whatever the case may be, use it as an opportunity to do better going forward.



Look Forward, Not Behind


Clients are not always meant to stay with your business forever. Managers swap, funds decrease and expectations change. What is important is to look to the future.


With the right finesse, you can offer your former client a special deal in the future to attract them back and meet both of your needs.


You can use the entire experience to fall down and crumble, or you can use it to climb another rung and see the bigger picture.


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