When a Client Says “Goodbye”

When a Client Says “Goodbye”

When it comes to keeping your revenues high, no one likes (or wants) to lose a customer. So, the question becomes, what do you do when your customer wants to leave? Do you let them go? Do you beg them to stay?

I had a client call me once in a panic. Their two largest clients wanted to leave because they were not happy with their service or the results they were getting. Naturally, my client didn’t want them to leave, since they represented a large portion of their company’s revenues.

Maybe you’ve been in a similar situation. I know I have. And, when I am faced with a client that wants to leave, I often have to remind myself that not every client is created equal. Not every client willing to pay you money is the right client for your business.

This is why understanding who your customer is will be key in knowing what customers you want to attract, and more importantly, which customers you want to keep.

I find that customers who have stopped using my services often fall into one of three buckets.

Bucket 1: They used our services to fulfill a specific and immediate need. They generally got the results they wanted and didn’t need to continue using our services. These people tend to also refer us a lot to others.

Bucket 2: These clients were all over the place. They needed and wanted our services, but at the end of the day, they were being pulled into so many different directions that eventually they fell off. Some of these clients do return later, when they’re more focused – and sometimes they don’t.

Bucket 3: These clients had a plan and they even understood what exactly they needed to do to execute. But, they never did and as a result, they were upset with the end result. At the end of the day, these are not our ideal clients. We are big on accountability and if the client can’t commit to seeing our recommendations through then they will never be able to generate the outcomes they want – to no fault of our own.

When you’re faced with a client who wants to leave, really ask yourself are they worth salvaging. If they’re a difficult client or demand a lot of attention and support, letting them go could free up your resources to take on more manageable clients. If it is time to cut ties with a client, I always recommend offering a transition plan to slowly ease out of the relationship. This shows the client that you care about their business and are willing to help them find something that is more suitable for them. I’ve even found that when you offer this, some clients will come back and decide not to leave.

The truth is losing clients is just part of owning a business. But, it is imperative for you to identify who your target customer is and focus your energy on recruiting and selecting the right customers for your business.

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