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How to deal with losing a client

Losing a client can be difficult for any business or sole trader. Whether they’ve decided to back out for financial reasons or they’ve chosen to work with one of your competitors, a business break-up can be tough and it’s hard not to take it personally.

But don’t despair. Bad news can bring good things. Often it presents a chance for us to grow, develop and learn from any mistakes.

Here’s how to deal with losing a client.

Learn from your mistakes

If a client isn’t clear on why they’re ending their contract with you, kindly ask for any feedback. Be upfront and ask them why they’re leaving and use any constructive feedback as an opportunity to learn from your mistakes and strengthen your business model for the future.

Having client feedback—both good and bad—is integral to producing a successful business. But if they don’t provide any feedback, don’t obsess over why they may or may not want to work with you. Move on and do your best next time.

Don’t burn your bridges

Just because your client has decided to stop working with you doesn’t mean they won’t ever want to work with you again. Thank them for their business and support and let them know that they’re always welcome to bring their business back to you.

This might be hard to do at the time but this is the classiest way to end a working relationship. If you’re rude or unpleasant, it could backfire on potential work in the future and the word could soon get around.

Analyse your competitors

When you’re running a business, it’s always worth making time to assess your competitors and what they’re doing. Otherwise, how can you ever know if your services and charges stack up?

Look at your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses. What are they doing right? What could they do better? From there, turn your attention back to your business and how your products and services can eclipse theirs.

Saturate your client base

If a client loss has cost you big time, take this chance to saturate your client base. The stakes are a lot higher if you’re only working with one or two clients that account for 50-100% of your income.

Ideally, one client shouldn’t account for more than 20% of your total income. By working things this way, you’re putting yourself in a stronger position if you were to lose a client again in the future. If it were to happen again, it wouldn’t be the end of the world.

Nurture your other clients

Prospecting for new clients can be time-consuming and there are no guarantees. Instead, you might prefer to grow your business with your remaining clients. Take the time to evaluate each client and project and look for ways you can improve your services and potentially grow new areas.

You may find that there are additional offerings and upsells you can provide. By expanding your services offering with your existing clients, certain things will be easier as you’ll already have that established working relationship.

Now that you know how to deal with losing a client, we wish you the best of luck with your business journey!


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