You’ve had a customer for a while or you’ve been working with someone and then suddenly they give you the news that things are going to change. The are either going to move to another provider, or they will do less work with you.
I know how this feels because it actually happened to me around three months ago with one of my main clients. At the end of a period of time, we came to the decision that changing the way we were working was the right thing to do.
What do you do when you lose a customer? Or if the relationship (and regular revenue) you’ve had with a long-standing customer changes?
What are some of the steps you can take to overcome it as a business owner, and make sure you keep your business on track?
I am going to share with you seven key points on what you need to do to make sure you avoid it derailing your business.
DON’T SHUT DOORS
If you actually go back to this customer, and start telling them how much of a difficult position that’s put you in, chances are, you’re going to shut the door completely of ever being able to work with them again.
You don’t know what is going to happen in the next few weeks or months. The work may start back up again, or (if they have just reduced your contract) they may end up needing more of your service. So be polite and supportive, and really focus on what’s best for them.
I’ve learned in my life that if you shut the door, you will certainly lose any future opportunity. Be friendly. Be thankful. Be grateful to them for the opportunities you’ve had so far. Thank them for their business and wish them well for the future. Tell them that you’re there if they need you. Always end a business relationship positively and keeping the door open.
FIND OUT WHY IT HAPPENED
You must understand the reasons why it’s happened, and that takes some self-reflection. Take the time to look in the mirror and be honest with yourself.
In my situation, I was working with a client for four or five years, and it was the natural time for us to go our different ways. But did my customer perhaps stop seeing what value I could offer to them? If so, whose fault is that? It’s not their issue, it’s my issue.
Maybe I could have done something in a different way, or reacted differently to a situation? Whatever the reality is, look back and review why it happened.
Don’t blame other people. Blaming others and not being accountable is the worst thing you can do. Use the opportunity to make a list of three or four things you could have done differently and what you could do next time if that happens.
You can’t change it now, but you can learn from it. Take stock and see what you would do differently. Ensure that if it happens again in the future you’re prepared for it.
FOCUS ON YOUR EXISTING CUSTOMERS
Whilst I still made sure I was doing what I needed to do for the customer, I also made sure I was looking at my other customers and where I could add further value to them.
Review your list of existing customers and determine who you could do more work with.
Maybe you could do two times as much with another customer now that you’ll have some more time for it? Focus on the people who you already know love what you do, and see if there’s more that you can do with them.
Get a case study or testimonial (video if possible) from your customer, and then use that to try and find other customers similar to them.
You can use testimonials to help find other similar customers, perhaps not in the same industry, but similar in need, and demonstrate that you have the experience and knowledge from working with that customer.
Testimonials will help you to get other business elsewhere. Since you kept the door open, use the existing customer relationship you’ve got and get a testimonial that you can then use to win business elsewhere.
The prospects that you’re talking to are going to feel assured as a result of hearing what another company had to say about the work that you do. Get those (video) testimonials in place, and develop a case study from it. Use that to help you find new opportunities to supplement what you’ve lost.
BE PROACTIVE WITH YOUR TIME
Use the time you now have on your hands to be more proactive in what you do. One of the biggest mistakes that business owners make is they don’t take time to be proactive with their content. Personally, I’m going to use some of my gained-back time to focus on creating more resources, and writing a book (that I have wanted to do for a long time).
It’s the time to do it! Use your time proactively to solve problems for your audience. Make sure you can create content that helps your audience. Share it on social media and anywhere else that your potential customers are. It will help bring new prospects to you.
You can either go full ostrich and put your head in the sand, or you can get out there and say, “hey, I’m not going to let this derail me! I’m going to go and find new business and make up for what’s happened!”
Don’t allow yourself to go into a wallow of self-pity – business owners who do this are the ones that are probably going to face a challenge and allow this development to derail them.
Personally, I took a day or two to let it sink in, then I jumped into action and thought about what I could do to bring in new business and started a new marketing campaign which is now bringing in prospects.
You’re not going to achieve anything from doing nothing and sitting in self-pity. Accept what has happened and focus on what action you CAN take.
Focus on giving value, serving before you sell, and showcasing how you can solve customers’ problems for your specific audience, and business will come through to you.
LEARN FROM IT
What you can learn from the situation? I learned that I probably wouldn’t want to have had such a big relationship with a client again. I would want to be in a position where I involve other members of my team rather than it relying on only me.
My dad always says to me, “Life’s not full of mistakes, but learning experiences”.
When it happens write down the key one or two things that you’ve learn and make sure it doesn’t happen again. Don’t put yourself in a position where you will repeat your actions and find yourself right back here again. When we learn from things, when we apply ourselves in a different way, better things happen.
There you go, seven things you can do when your customer relationship changes. It is frustrating of course and you would rather it not happen, but change is a good thing.
Embracing the change and look forward…
Have got a challenge in your business right now? Feel free to reach out to us and book a call.
We can talk through some of these challenges and help you overcome them the reality is we can and we will with the mindset let’s go and take the right action let’s do the right things and make sure we can deal with any challenge that gets thrown at us!