That dreadful moment when you’ve just lost a client – lost your all-important business relationship that has served you for years, what would you do? This can be an extremely abrupt or disturbing development. You may have been counting on this business relationship for your revenue. You may be emotionally wounded, thinking what really went wrong.
It is quite normal for you to feel depressed, frustrated or angry. However, it is important to come out of it, analyze what happened and if possible, correct it.
1. Try and relax a bit
You may or may not have expected the break coming. However, your immediate reaction may not always be a constructive one. Try and hold yourself if you are emotional. Avoid doing anything that might threaten your relationship in the future. Heated arguments or defending yourself with the client is the last thing you want to do. Rather, thank them for the information; ask for more time to think about the recent development and tell them you will respond back some time later. This will give you enough time to formulate your response, rather than emotionally exploding.
2. Start analyzing from the core
Even if you are certain why the client has terminated your contract, you may still ask. The explanation could give you information that is extremely useful for future contracts. Your client may be upset with a perceived reason. You might get reasons that are totally unexpected. The client may tell you “you did not communicate sufficiently” or “your team offended our External Relationship Manager by not addressing him in your last event”. In many cases, it may have nothing to do with you; the client may say “the local government here reduced our budget by 40% and we had to cancel all the consulting contracts”.
Whatever the reason may be, knowing it helps you analyze things and look for possible amends. If there were issues with your team’s behavior or skills, you could try and improve it, to help your business in future. If you have no control over what’s happened, then it’s simply your bad luck.
3. Offer amends if possible and practical
Your client’s decision may be final but as a good businessman, you definitely don’t want the climax to be on a bad note. If they feel there is something you could have done in a proper manner, rewrite to them apologizing for what had happened. Two things could happen – they might reconsider or retain the contract or they will appreciate your efforts and speak good things about you with people in the industry. At least, there will be no badmouthing. Either way, apologizing is good.
4. Request for referrals
If your client likes you and had to end the contract due to unavoidable circumstances, ask for referrals. You may write a humble letter saying you understand the circumstances that led to the end of the contract. It could be a budget cut or a change in policy. Tell your client that you’ve enjoyed and benefitted working with them. And then politely ask them if they are aware of any IT directors or CEOs, who might use your services.
You never know. You client may connect you to like-minded business owners, as they know that it’s a win-win situation.
Losing a client is not good news and settling down with your new-found client is not easy either. However, these changes could be the growth opportunity you’ve been looking for. A great business man converts the bad times into good ones. So losing a client is not losing business anymore; it’s a door-opener for another venture.