This article originally appeared on The Huffington Post
When I was writing this, I initially thought it would be specifically for business owners/entrepreneurs. I realized however, that this applies to ANYONE working in an industry that deals with clients. Whether or not you own the company, losing and obtaining new clients can be crucial for your role, success and the overall success of the team.
This actually happened to me early last year and even though it’s been a year, it’s still fresh in my mind. As a business owner, losing clients can be terrifying. It’s a total mental game, I can assure you, and how you choose to handle losing clients and any negative event is totally up to you. Here is what I did and what I recommend you do when you lose a big or important client.
1. Mope. Cry. Drink. Do whatever you need to do allow yourself to feel bad! Yes, feel bad. The reason I say this is because that initial wave of stress and anxiety is completely normal and probably inevitable. Let it happen. What matters is how LONG you choose to dwell over it and more importantly, what you choose to do afterwards to recover. I personally believe you’ll recover more successfully if you allow yourself to worry a bit. Worry can fuel a positive change! Don’t drag it out and beat yourself up too long. I mean seriously, a day at most.
2. Think about WHY you lost that client and confirm what components had to do with you specifically if any. Was it a lack of something? Was it the communication or lack thereof? After you’ve had some wine, think about anything that may have lead up to the departure. Did you realize any signs that it may be coming? Be honest with yourself. This is an opportunity to grow. After you’ve written out some things that may have foreshadowed this break up, make sure you are not receiving any of these signals from your other clients! Don’t allow a snowball effect to take place. YOU are in control of your success. Act on it and learn from your mistakes.
3. Brainstorm the best way to start ramp up your efforts and growth. Again, whether or not the business belongs to you, how can you make up for that loss plus some? One of the most important things I’ve learned is that if I want to be successful…I mean REALLY be great and make a difference in the world, I have to be BETTER and more outstanding than what’s expected of me. Why would I NOT want to be the absolute best I can be? Are you in this mindset? Work on obtaining new clients and growing your business. Use this as a stepping stone.
4. Make sure your offerings are still up to par. This is huge. Are the services you offer still competitive? Are you keeping up to date with trends and changes in your industry? Are you watching your competitors? Are you able to offer MORE to your clients as you grow and become a more experienced expert? We get so caught up with our work lives and our lives in general that we forget this piece of it and we become content with what we have and where we are. If this means you have to raise your prices, do it. That is a sign of higher competency and a more complex relationship.
Losing a client, especially a big or the biggest client you have, can be stressful. It can wreak havoc financially and affect the structure of your business. I know, I’ve been there. It’s also an extraordinary opportunity to learn, grow, change and be a bigger bad a**. I encourage you to step back from your work life and figure out a few ways you can be better, more responsive and more hands on in your role, regardless of what that may be. Strive to be better, offer more and the positive effort will always come back to you. Importantly, always try to set yourself up so that the loss of one client does not affect you so detrimentally. Onward!