My client has a new boss that has a relationship with a competing company. I don’t want to lose this client. How can I get in front of this and save my client from turning to the competitors? – Laura in Columbia, Missouri
We all know how important client retention is for maintaining our sales and fostering strong business. In regards to your specific question, Laura, whenever there is a new decision maker within your client’s organization that could potentially impact your relationship continuity, it is imperative to lose no time connecting. You need to perform the groundwork, lay the foundation, and develop a rapport for a long-term alliance with the new boss. Ask your current contacts for an introduction. If they are unable to provide one within the first week, take action and reach out directly.
If you are local, setting up a brief 10-minute meet-and-greet may be ideal. Depending upon your business, length of tenure, volume, or innumerable factors, a lunch or dinner make be appropriate. Include your boss or key supporting team members for both companies. If there is an expanse of geography, start with a phone call and email, and schedule a virtual meeting. Get out in front and welcome the newcomer. Your first impression will set the tone as you build the new relationship.
Remember: It’s About Them
Focus on the goals, plans, and objectives of the new decision maker. It’s about them. What are they looking for in a solutions provider, and what is their vision to achieve the initiatives they create? If you begin with what your company does for them, or how you do this or that, you’ve made it about you – not them. Your purpose is to help them accomplish their objectives. To do that you need to learn what those objectives are and how they expect the road map to come together.
I would also review how the services or product you provide measure up with the competing company. Be honest and thorough. The competition may have a new product offering or a disruptive advance. Hopefully your company already performs ongoing competitive analysis and at the forefront of your industry’s market trends. Be prepared to have this discussion with the new decision maker. Remember to exercise humility and appreciation. Look for opportunities to demonstrate your competencies, and how you value their business and the relationship. This is an opportunity for you to develop a great new connection. Embrace it!
Lynn Whitbeck is the co-founder and President of Petite2Queen. She is focused on identifying and evaluating opportunities for women at work, helping them define their personal roadmap. She dedicates herself to delivering tools and insights, embracing visualization of the big picture, and identifying and implementing the minutiae of detail. Lynn aims to share lessons learned along her journey and enable positive uplift for women.