Your dream client is ferociously loyal to your competitor. They have deep relationships, relationships that aren’t going to be diminished by the normal, everyday challenges that come with the territory in your industry. In fact, a good part of their relationship was built on how they’ve handled problems and challenges.
The prospective clients who are loyal to your competitors refuse your request for a meeting because they are loyal, just like many of your clients are loyal to you and your company. This loyalty, the relationship, locks you out. For now, anyway.
The threats to loyalty are many, and they present opportunities.
- Unresolved Problems and Challenges: The day-to-day problems aren’t going to cause your dream client to drop your competitor and start working with you. Mature businesspeople know that there are always problems, and they know that their business is no different. It’s the unresolved problems and challenges that persist that build to the point where they start to damage the business that give rise to a defection–and your opportunity for a competitive displacement.
- Neglect and Complacency: Nothing reduces loyalty like neglect and complacency. Neglect is proof that you no longer care. A lack of caring will destroy loyalty faster than almost anything. Complacency is different than neglect. It’s a form of arrogance, in this case, a belief that you no longer need to pay attention to your client and will suffer no consequences for having done so.
- New Stakeholders: The loyalty your dream client had to their partner belonged to the person who is no longer there. New stakeholders make changes. One of the things that new stakeholders change with very few repercussions is an existing supplier. Those unresolved problems and challenges, the neglect and the complacency, make changing a long time partner easy.
It might take you years to win your dream client. It might take decades. Regardless of when you are finally given an opportunity and win your dream client’s business, that same fierce loyalty that locked you out now locks out your competitors–if you can keep it.
The same mistakes your that give rise to an opportunity and allow you to competitively displace your competitor are the same mistakes that provide them with the same.
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Filed under: Relationships