Recently a client came to me in a panic, as the dreaded message of "the contract has gone to tender" had come down the pipe. Usually it would not matter as this business deals with many customers. However, when this customer is the most lucrative customer for this client, decisions need to be made. So what next?
First of all, make decisions in a place of peace, not a place of panic. Going to end of the world, "end of my business", "end of my life" scenarios is not going to help. There are always options. I find writing a list of all of my options helps put my mind at ease as to what are the next steps. Usually I will include a worst case scenario, and realize that really it is not the end of the world, it is not the end of the business, and it is not the end of my life.
Everything is Figureoutable - Marie Forleo
Secondly, start hustling. Hustle for new customers. Improve relationships with your current customers. Find ways to make that revenue that you are losing. Sometimes you will find that losing your best customer opens a new door. Maybe find some new revenue streams that you were not attempting because you were so busy with that one customer. Put it out there to your current customers that you appreciate their business AND their referrals. You have nothing to lose, so letting others know you are open for new business will never hurt your current business.
Finally, just because a contract is put out to tender, does not mean you have lost. If you do nothing, then nothing will come back in return. Talk to the decision makers in that company and explain to them how your company can benefit their business more than anybody else. If you are the higher price, talk to them about your excellent customer service, speed, years of service of working with the company, and other strengths that is of benefit to them. At least going out with a fight will give you peace of mind that you did everything you could to keep that customer.
Losing your best customer is tough, but it does not mean all is lost. Take a moment. Breathe. Evaluate and Take Action.
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Entrepreneur, bike spinner, and resident of beautiful Steveston, BC.
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