Recently, one of our consulting engagements – with a large research firm – came to an end… they did not renew with us and continue on as I had expected. It happens… not all client relationships evolve as planned.
The question is… what do you do when that happens? Let me suggest the following…
Reconnect as soon as possible.
‘Over’ doesn’t mean ‘gone.’ Don’t just throw your hands up and give in to the, “oh well, we lost a client.”
Here’s what I did. I called the President of the firm and scheduled a meeting over a cup of coffee to talk about what did – and didn’t – happen. Guess what? He was more than receptive to meeting. Like me, he wanted to discuss the engagement. Which helped us to…
Understand what happened… from both sides.
So, over coffee, we talked about the engagement… what happened… what worked and what didn’t work… what we might have done differently… and so on.
It’s critical to have an open and honest discussion and to lay all of your cards on the table. The goal is not to point fingers of blame, but to discuss all of the facts to really understand the situation. Knowing this can help you to have better engagements in the future with other clients… and will help your client should they engage other vendors in the future.
Interestingly, these candid conversations lead us to…
Discuss other opportunities.
As we talked about the challenges we had been trying to help them solve, the conversation expanded into other areas of the business and other challenges they were having… other challenges that we could potentially help them with!
I’m sure your firm offers more than one service… so keep your eyes and ears open to understanding your client’s situation. There may be other opportunities that bubble to the surface.
Will we win the additional business? Maybe – maybe not. But we wouldn’t have even been considered for the opportunity had we simply given up when we first lost them.
So, in the meantime, we will continue to…
Stay on their radar.
As of this writing, the coffee meeting took place two weeks ago. Since then, my contact and I have swapped a few emails related to our conversation. I’ll continue to check in with him – but not so often that it bugs him – to follow-up on the new business opportunity.
In addition, my contact is in our CRM, so he’ll continue to receive our monthly e-newsletter. He’s also a LinkedIn connection, so my posts will show up on his LinkedIn feed from time to time.
Will we have a working relationship with this firm in the future? I hope so… but who knows? Either way, I haven’t given up on them.