24th August, 2018
No matter how experienced you are, at some stage you’re bound to lose a client. While it’s never a nice feeling, it’s important to find a way to move forward.
Rejection doesn’t have to mean the end of the world, and can actually be a learning experience.
Here are some steps to follow the next time it happens to you.
One of the most important things you can do is talk to your client. Find out why they have decided to take their business elsewhere.
You might feel uncomfortable about chatting to them about this, but it’s the best way to try to salvage the situation.
Plus, asking the question might help you to feel better, if you learn their reasons have nothing to do with you.
For example, they might not have the funds to continue using you, or they might be selling their business.
Alternatively, they could be moving away, or going on an extended holiday for months at a time.
There are many different reasons why clients choose to part ways.
If it is, however, actually about you and/or your services in some way, then making enquiries will at least alert you to potential issues which need to be addressed.
Once you discover what has been bothering a client, you have the chance to fix the issue, and potentially retain their business.
You’d be surprised how many people don’t actually ask customers why they’re unhappy, and miss out on this opportunity!
While it’s understandable that your feelings may be hurt if a client tells you they no longer want to do business with you, and you may not agree with the reasons they give, don’t let this get in the way of your remaining professional.
No matter how emotional you feel, always keep your cool.
Take the time to listen to the concerns raised and, where appropriate, make apologies.
If customers aren’t interested in having you try to remedy the issues at hand, at least offer to help make the move and conclusion of any remaining business easier for them.
Never lash out at people, in person, over the phone, or in writing.
Doing so will guarantee you never gain them back as a customer, and means they’re quite likely to talk about you negatively to their contacts, too.
In this day and age where social media can make or break reputations you can’t afford to be rude.
Furthermore, even if past clients do go online to make disparaging remarks, make sure you take the high road.
Where possible, ignore comments. If you really feel you must say something because your name is being dragged through the mud, think carefully about what you say and how you say it.
Get someone else, someone you trust, to look over your comments before you hit send.
This will help you to avoid a situation where you post something in haste when you’re feeling emotional, and regret it later.
It helps to see losing a client as a learning experience.
Work out what you can do differently in the future.
This might be with regards to the types of services you provide, or the way in which you provide them.
You might become aware of a need to change your pricing structure, accept more payment methods, make your billing or other processes more transparent, or provide better customer service, for instance.
If you have staff working for you, you could also learn they’re falling short in particular areas, and that more training needs to be done.
It’s also possible to learn, from lost clients, that you’ve been targeting customers who weren’t the best fit for your services in the first place.
If so, this is excellent data to know. Learn from this, and restructure your future marketing and sales strategies.
This way, in future, you’ll win the right clients, and end up growing your business to boot.