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How to Make It Easier to Win Back a Lost Client

One of the things that makes it difficult to win back a client you lost through no fault of your own is that it can be embarrassing to bring you back.

No Fault of Your Own

  • Sometimes your clients buy the lie that they can get better performance at a lower price.
  • Sometimes your clients believe that they need to shake things up and try something new.
  • And sometimes your client is mad at you when they’re really the source of their own challenges. It’s easier to blame your vendor for poor performance than it is to deal with the real problem.

Regardless of which of the above reasons was used to justify firing you, bringing you back means that your client was wrong for releasing you. And most people don’t like to admit that they were wrong, especially when it’s visible to a lot of other people.

Allowing a Face Saving Line of Retreat

If your client’s new supplier can’t deliver the performance at the price they promised, your client might be embarrassed at having bought the lie so many sales organizations sell.

If your client wanted to try something new and it fails, bringing you back in can be a painful reminder of that failure.

Worst of all, if your client is really the source of their own problems, they usually switch from vendor to vendor, never getting the improvement they really need.

Anything you do that makes you adversarial, confrontational, or judgmental makes it more difficult for your lost client to come home. This doesn’t mean that you don’t fight to keep them; you always fight to retain your hard won clients

But your job is to make it easy for your client to come back. You start by making it known that you aren’t going away, that you’ll be waiting in the wings, should something not work out. You don’t do anything on the way out that will make it more difficult for your client to open the door and let you back in. You don’t try to punish them. You don’t try to withhold.

If you want to win back your dream client, you leave them a face saving line of retreat. You make it easy for them to be wrong without having to be embarrassed. If you can make it easy to bring you back without having to make a big production about it, do it.


Have you lost a client through no fault of your own?

What happened that caused you to lose that client?

How do you make it easy for your lost client to bring you back?

What makes it difficult for your client to rehire you?



  • Erik Tyler

    I do this often. It’s habit. And it applies even when a prospective client says, “Well, I found a competitor who can do it for half that.” My reply goes something like this:

    Yes, you will find people offering branding work for as little as $5 out there! I will only say that, as attractive as a quote may sound, the old adage holds true: You get what you pay for. I understand that the world of branding and design is broad and difficult to navigate. Not everyone is honest or skilled. If you find that the lower-priced designer produces less exciting results than you were expecting, delays your project with unmet deadlines, or is otherwise not what you had hoped, please contact me again. I provide excellent, personal and timely service and I never take payment until you have seen and approved a design that you love. Best to you as you move forward with your project.

    • S. Anthony Iannarino

      Nice pushing back to the value you create, Erik. Over the short run, it can hurt. But over the long run, that’s the strategy.