Thursday, April 2, 2015

Replace lost clients

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     Sooner or later, you will lose every customer or client you have. They move away. They grow older. They seek out a competitor. They no longer need your service or product. Their brother-in-law opens a similar business.

     Example: Takisha runs a yoga studio offering private and group sessions. When she lost one of her private session clients, she was prepared. The long time client announced that she was retiring from her corporate position and moving to another state. This will be my last session, she told Takisha one evening. Takisha took immediate action. She emailed the opening time slot to all her group session clients and posted it on Facebook. The slot was quickly filled.

     Think ahead. Plan how you will deal with replacing lost clients.

     Example: Carl is an interior decorator. He concentrates on corporate clients, small businesses, professional offices, along with some residential clients. One well-heeled matron
was difficult to deal with, complaining loudly to Carl in front of others about a job he was undertaking for her. It required lots of special orders and the schedules were out of Carl's control. The lady was accustomed to having her own way and disregarded all his explanations. She even complained about the timing of the project on social media. Carl took action--he refunded her deposit and referred her to one of his competitors. 

     Now and then, your relationship with a client cannot be salvaged. The best solution might be to resign the account, back away, and move on.

     Example:  Meg runs a gymnastic operation for children up to about age 12. She attracts new attendees by holding open houses and promoting on social media. But children grow up, and Meg loses them. She decided to expand into dramatic arts, especially for budding teens interested in a career in theater. She found a compatible business partner who was teaching dramatic arts but had no studio. Together, Meg and her new partner now offer programs for young people up to age 18 and beyond. The new operation attracts even more attention to the gymnastics side of the house and many of these young people get exposed to a career they might not have otherwise considered. In the face of losing kids as they turned 12, Meg found a way to expand the overall business. 

     The time to replace clients and customers is when you first get them. Sooner or later, you will lose them all. Think ahead. Have a plan in place. 

     All examples in these write-ups are drawn from actual business situations. Only the names are changed, but the ideas have worked for other business people.