Startups: How to deal with losing a Client

Losing clients is not something that any of us want to have happen or deal with. What is even more difficult is losing a client without a word from the client. Perhaps you don’t even know about it until you connect with them to take their order or make contact with them as you usually do OR notice that they have someone else as their main supplier or service provider.

Mark Suster, on “Both Sides of the Table”, speaks about how he “hates losing“. He says:

I think about it for months, often years. But I embrace losing. It is how I learn. I relive the moment so many times over in my mind wondering if I could have done this differently or if I shouldn’t have said or done this or that. I talk to trusted sources about it. I ask for feedback. I hate losing. I don’t want to lose next time.

He gives some good advice which I totally agree with and try to implement in my own business. I will share some of these ideas later on in this post.

What is Failure? Is Losing a client considered a Failure?

On this subject… I recently heard this idea, which I would like to share with you, taught again. In my own, quirky wording it comes down to this:

[Tweet “Failure is not Failure if you learn from it, then it becomes a lesson and ultimately Success!”]

So, back to Mark’s advice. What do we do when we lose a client or contract.

Mark and I (Ha!) suggest you do the following:

  1. Ask your customer why you lost. Tell them that you’d like to learn so that you can improve. Be gracious. Write things down. This is very important! If you don’t know why you lost a client or contract, you can’t learn and grow.
  2. Learn. And don’t make the same mistake twice. Obvious, but I find that some people just never learn. See what products or services you could change/offer to better assist your client. Sometimes, there is nothing much you can do but if there is some room for improvement or a lesson to be learnt, grab it with both hands…just don’t get stuck there. Learn and move on!

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