The fickle nature of today’s consumer means customer loyalty often lasts about as long as a Hollywood couple’s relationship! (Read: sadly, not very long.) So, for some people, dealing with a client breakup has become pretty ordinary.
However, whether a client break up is expected or comes as a huge (and kinda scary) surprise, it pays to know how to navigate your way through this rocky territory.
Indeed, we’ve looked at how we can break up with a difficult client without causing too much drama or ill-feeling. Now, let’s find out how to manage things when a client breaks up with us.
Staying calm during a client break up
Without a doubt, when a partner dumps you it’s emotional. Whether you were over them or not, it’s difficult to not take it personally. No doubt, you end up feeling dejected and a bit of a failure. That’s just human nature for you.
Unfortunately, it’s the same when a client breaks up with you. You ask yourself what you did wrong. Was there something I could have done differently? The truth is clients come and go. Sometimes professional relationships are short, sometimes they are long and fruitful. But at some point, it’s likely the relationship will come to an end. Here are a few tips on how to ‘keep calm and carry on’ during a client break up!
Don’t take it personally
Whatever you do, don’t take it personally. I know, it’s easy to say but much more difficult to do. Nonetheless, it’s true. There are myriad reasons why a client may break up with a business. Perhaps there have been budget cuts. Maybe the new business strategy doesn’t involve your services. Possibly, they’ve found someone new to do the work.
Even if it’s the last scenario, you don’t know that they were actively seeking out someone else to do the work. Maybe they were approached or they stumbled upon someone they really liked and decided to give that person a go. Indeed, we all know a change is as good as a holiday (Unless you’re planning to holiday in Hawaii where you’ll be spending all day drinking cocktails on the beach!)
Ask for constructive feedback
There’s no time like the present to ask for some feedback on your performance or service provision. Indeed, you’ll kick yourself if you don’t ask now, and then in six months’ time, you’ll wish you had.
The key thing that stops people from asking for feedback is fear that it’ll be negative. However, the only way you can turn a negative into a positive is through awareness. Even if you are doing something wrong or something your client doesn’t like, I’m sure they’ll respect you for asking the question.
Plus, if the client break up is through no fault of your own, then perhaps you can gain a glowing reference from them.
Not only is it professional to be reasonable, understanding and graceful during a client break up, but it’ll also bring you good karma!
Furthermore, you never know—this client may re-hire you down the track. They might even recommend you to another business. So, even if you’re feeling super low, stand tall and be thankful for the work they’ve given you to date.
Keep things in perspective and be proactive
Now, these two points go hand in hand. For some people, having a client ditch them can be hugely stressful. Perhaps they were your biggest paying client—or your only client! So, not only do you need to avoid stressing out too much about your financial situation, but you also need to look forward.
Remind yourself that it’s not uncommon for businesses to lose clients only to find themselves in a much better situation. Sometimes a change in strategy or a major rethink about where your business is going is just what’s needed.
Don’t dwell on the loss. Instead, start looking for new clients. Think of who you would like to work for and proactively approach them. Maybe you can think of new, interesting ways to market your business. Who knows, in six months’ time your business might be going better than ever before.
Got a client break-up story to tell? We’d love to hear it. Simply post in the comments box below.