In the business world, clients come and go. All businesses strive for perfect retention, but some things are beyond our control. Some clients go out of business, others change ownership and some just don’t see the value of your service or products.
When your company loses a profitable client, it is a blow to all employees and it can really shake morale. How you handle it as a leader determines how your employees will view this change. There are several things you can do to turn this into an opportunity instead a failure.
- Own up to your mistakes. If a client or situation was handled poorly, take ownership in the problem. Address it with the departing client and learn from it. Do not blame specific employees. Implement changes and processes to make sure that this does not happen again.
- End the client relationship with dignity and ethics. Apply the golden rule and treat the old client as you would want to be treated.
- Most employees don’t understand the financial impact of a lost client. Explain what it means to your bottom line. If employees understand the effect, they can help by reducing expenses and increasing sales. Every employee has a role in the profitability of your company.
- Be a strong and positive leader. Employees will look to you and feed off your reactions. If you are angry and nervous about the future, their attitudes will mimic yours. Instead, be honest but positive.
- Look on the bright side. We all have clients that are good financially but may not be good for the overall wellbeing of our businesses. Although the financial aspect is felt immediately, the time saved after the termination may allow your company to grow more profitably.
Pat Summit, who has won more college basketball games than any coach, has said, “To improve, you must make your weaknesses your strengths.” Apply this wisdom to client terminations and turn a negative situation into an opportunity to grow.