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Stop Mourning the Loss of a Client

You are going to lose clients.

Sometimes it’s going to be your fault. You’re going to fail to deliver. You’re going to get complacent and your competitors are going to catch you sleeping. Your going to lose the key operational person that owns the relationship.

Sometimes you’ll lose clients through no fault of your own. You’ll lose adversarial, nightmare clients. You’ll lose clients that move to another country. Some clients will shutter their doors. Some won’t do what they need to do to help you to help them.

The “how” and “why” of losing them only matters as it pertains to you learning from the experience. Mourning the loss of clients doesn’t do anything to help you recover from the loss.

Pick Up the Pieces and Move On

When you lose a client, you need to do some introspection. If it was your fault and you failed to deliver, get together with your team and determine what you have to change to prevent losing another client—and to ensure you succeed for your new clients. If you were complacent, decide how you are going to be proactive with the rest of the clients you serve now. If you lost a key relationship holder on your side, think about how to build more—and deeper—relationships.

If it wasn’t your fault, it still might be your fault. If you lost a client because they were adversarial, did you really discover that after the fact, or could you have seen it earlier? If you lost them because you couldn’t get your clients to help you make the changes they needed to make, how will you do better next time?

Fight to the finish to keep your clients. But when it’s over, figure out what you might change in the future. Pick up the pieces and move on. You aren’t going to improve your results by rehashing and reliving the loss. You aren’t going to win new business by blaming others, or by recounting the “coulda, shoulda, wouldas.”

The faster you get back to selling, the faster you recover from the loss of a client. Unless it was a big client.

One of the reasons you can never take your foot off the accelerator is because you are going to lose clients. I’ve seen some sales organizations go backwards because they lost a key account and didn’t have enough in the pipeline to replace it. Bigger clients usually mean a longer sales cycle. When you lose a key account, it’s too late to start working on replacing them. You better already have something in the pipeline.

No amount of mourning is going to make you feel better or replace your lost client. Only selling can do that.

Questions

What do you do when you lose a key account?

How do you recover from the loss?

Think back to the last key account you lost. Why did you lose them and what did you learn?

Would your sales number survive the loss of a major client?

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