CAREER DEVELOPMENT / FEB. 28, 2015
version 3, draft 3

How to Handle Losing a Major Client as a Sales Representative

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Losing a client is tough, no matter who you are or what business you’re in. Losing a major client can be a huge blow to your company, and it can even end a career if the client is big enough!

Don’t let that scare you. It is a big deal when you lose a major client, but you can bounce back! Here are some things to do to help you deal with losing the client:

Ask for Feedback

Unless you’ve totally pissed off the client, you may still have a good rapport with them even though they’ve decided to move on to another provider. Ask them what made them choose your competitor, or what caused them to no longer avail of your services. The feedback can be invaluable to help you understand if you did anything wrong, and how you can avoid it in the future. It may even give you a way to win that client back in the long run.

Deal With Problems

If you know why the client moved on, you can take steps to correct whatever problem caused them to no longer desire your services. Perhaps it was your customer relations skills or your lack of attention to their needs. Maybe it had something to do with your product or service, or the product or service they chose over yours provided them with more value for their money. Find the problem and deal with it so that you will NEVER lose a client for that same reason in the future.

Avoid Guilt

You may have been the one who lost the client, but is it really your fault? If it was, don’t let it make you feel guilty, but let that motivate you to try harder with all of your current and future clients. If it wasn’t your fault, don’t let it get to you!

Pass the Lessons On

You need to share what you have learned with the other sales reps in your company, as that will ensure that they avoid making the same mistake. You can ask your boss to convene a meeting to share the feedback from your former client, and use that to teach the other sales reps a valuable lesson. It may feel a bit painful having your mistakes highlighted like this, but it’s the key to avoiding the same mistake.

Move on to the Next One

You now know what you need to do to avoid losing more major clients, so it’s time to strike out and find your next "whale". Take the lessons you have learned and use them to help you land another major client. Once you get that client, apply the lessons to your situation and do whatever is necessary to keep them!

Try to Get Him Back

Just because you lost that client, that doesn’t mean they are gone forever. Once you have corrected the mistakes and problems that caused you to lose the client in the first place, try to win them back. It’s a challenge that’s often worth it in the world of sales, and you may find a client that you win back is a client that sticks with you for a long time.

See also: How to Handle the Stress of Working a Commission-Based Sales Job

Losing a major client can be a huge blow, but it doesn’t have to devastate you. If you use it to teach you vital lessons, you’ll come out better for it!

Have you ever lost a major client working as a sales rep? How did you deal with it? Your thoughts and comments below please...

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