Have you had occasions where you thought everything was going really well with a new prospective business relationship only to have it fall apart right in front of your eyes? Did you get right to the “proposal accepted” stage, and then they tell you “we’ve decided to go with someone else because they were a much better price?” You never saw that one coming.
Maybe a new prospect may even place the initial order, but you never hear from them again and you don’t know why? This can happen to any one of us, and it will continue to happen if we don’t get to the root cause of the issue.
By the way, it’s seldom price…just sayin’.
Losing clients in the early stages of the relationship is not only disappointing, but it’s very costly to your business. Not only do you lose this revenue opportunity, but you also can’t control what this prospect may tell other prospects about the experience with your company. We don’t need bad press.
If you want to prevent losing clients that you’ve invested time and effort into, try following these 5 steps and analyze your early engagement process. This process is all about analyzing you and your business, not the client.
Step #1 – First impression. Be accommodating and ensure you are flexible to the client needs when meeting for the first time. If the prospect experiences difficulty in the early going, it will negatively impact their impression of you early on and we don’t want that. Timing, location and so on should be convenient for them not you. Clients want to feel important so make sure they feel that way!
Step #2 – The proposal. You should be putting your best foot forward here. Make sure your proposal is thorough, easy to understand and delivered in a timely fashion. Most importantly, make sure it addresses the client’s issue. You may want to have someone else in your organization give the proposal a quick read before sending. A best practice in many companies!
Step #3 – The agreement. This step is critical. Once the client has agreed to buy a service from you, take the extra time to discuss terms, details, unknowns and timing. There are always details that you don’t cover in the proposal, so make sure to confirm these with the new client. A comprehensive discussion at this point can potentially save you from a number of costly issues later in the business relationship.
Step #4 – The transaction. Just like most of us, your new client want certainty. Just because they’ve accepted your proposal and you both agree on terms, don’t leave them guessing about what’s next. Walk them through the process, stay in touch with them routinely and ensure they feel comfortable with everything.
This is especially important if your new client has experienced your competitor, since you likely do things differently (and better, right?!). Make sure you showcase the value that you and your company bring to your clients.
Step #5 – Getting feedback. As soon as possible after the initial transaction, ask your new client how things are going and how you can improve the relationship. Are you providing quality service? Is it delivered in a timely fashion? Are you meeting all expectations? What areas could you improve?
This effort will make your new client feel important and the information you receive will provide you with great ideas to help you improve. New clients will give you great feedback, you just need to ask for it!
If you have any questions about this topic, or other business issues, why don’t you send me a note – firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also, please check out my YouTube channel for free videos on a number of business solutions – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCm7ItWhQzfT-SmSFKL_lygg
Thanks, and have a great day!