4 Ways To Turn Losing An Important Client Into A Long-Term Win

Let's face it: no matter how great your product or service is, eventually someone is going to decide that there are greener pastures to be found. It's a demoralizing moment, but there's still success to be found. That client still believed in your company's abilities to employ you for the time they did, and with that trust comes an opportunity to salvage a few key wins from that relationship.

Use these steps only when you're absolutely certain this client has moved on, and use your best judgment as to what that client would be amenable to. And above all else--Don't Panic. Turning the car around to avoid a turtle in the road will never get you where you want to go.

#1: Offer That Client A Different Service You Provide

Just because a client has decided to stop using one of your services doesn't mean you don't have anything to offer them. Maybe you're a mechanic and a regular tune-up customer has decided to go with a national franchise to get their oil changed. You can still check in with that client in 6 months to inquire about their greater repair needs. Maybe you're an ad agency whose client doesn't want their billboard up anymore, because they want to advertise online. That's a service you can offer them.

The end of one need doesn't necessarily mean the cessation of all other needs. And you're still better than a complete stranger to them.

#2: Request An Exit Interview To Better Your Service Long-Term

Ok, so that client doesn't want any more of your services, but why? Chances are you have a vague idea given to you when they cancelled, but do you really know the ins and outs? Something they have to say could be crucial to you retaining clients down the road. Most business owners are more than happy to talk about their business, and will usually provide you insight you didn't know was out there. That insight can be used to grow and mature your company's offerings and culture, and often will lead you places you never expected to go.

#3: See If That Client Would Provide You With Referrals

Maybe it just turned out that your services are perfectly fine; just no longer right for that client. Growth and changing needs are an every day reality of owning a business. But just because that client no longer needs the particular services you provide doesn't mean they don't know anyone who might. This is one of those "Just Ask" kind of moments. It can be something as simple as "Hey I'm sorry our services no longer fit your needs, but if you ever come across anyone who would need them, would you be willing to refer us?"

You'd be surprised how often the answer is "Yes."

#4: If All Else Fails, Offer To Buy Them A Friendly Dinner

So it turns out this particular client doesn't want any of what you're bringing to the table, nor do they think anyone else would either. It's rough to get to this point, but there's still something you can do: connect with them as a person. Almost no one will turn down a free meal, especially if you assure them you know they're gone and you're no longer trying to sell them. It can even be as small as appetizers and a drink.

Why would you ever do this? Because it could be the key to that client re-engaging and coming back down the road. In our modern, technology-driven society, a human touch is often abandoned or ignored. 6 months or a Year down the line when that old client is looking for a new service, they will very likely remember the person who took them out for dinner. It also makes it easier to re-market to them. And, not for nothing, sometimes it just feels good to do something nice.

Have you ever lost a client? How were you able to turn it into a positive experience? Let us know in the Comments!


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