Parting with Your Dream Client is Such Sweet Sorrow

Never give up. Never give in. Given enough focus, time, and energy, all obstacles yield.

There was the one time a client said, “We will never work with you again.” They worked with me and my company again. There was one stakeholder who promised that no one in her company would ever work with us. “Ever,” she said. She disappeared, and like magic, we were back.

The only constant is change. You know it here as constant, accelerating, disruptive change (which has been around since before there was anyone around to notice it).

You are going to lose clients. Sometimes it will be your fault, and other times you will be blameless. This is the reality of business, commerce, evolution, and quite especially, sales. There are times when you and your client—even the one you love—must part ways.

Your client is going to be purchased by a larger rival. That company is going to have a contract with your rival. You are going to find yourself on the outside of a relationship that just acquired your relationships. Even if you are better than your rival and right for the company that bought your dream client, it will be necessary for you to displace your competitor. But remember, you have some part of the building wired with your past relationships.

Some client is going to move their operations overseas. They’re going to go to Mexico, or Shanghai, or Nicaragua. Maybe they’re going to move part of their operations to Europe, or two states over, neither of which are close enough for you to manage their business. Companies leave and come back. Your company grows and expands. Forever is a long time.

That favorite of all favorite clients, the one that loves you and is easy to take care of, has experienced what some call “negative growth,” which is a euphemism for declining sales and unintentionally shrinking the business. Now, the favorite client is conscious of money, and their new perception, the one that is based on survival at all cost, means they are no longer going to give you the investment you require. They want a price you can’t meet, and that means they are walking across the street to your competitor. They’re gone . . . but perhaps not forever.

As much as it is in your interest not to churn clients, it is also in your interest to accept the fact that, over time, you are going to lose clients. The way you hedge here is to always have enough of a pipeline and growing sales to be able to withstand the loss of any one client. The other way you hedge is to persist over time, knowing that nothing is forever.

Filed under: Psychology

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