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Discover key strategies to not only win your dream clients but also to retain and grow their business effectively.

You spend your time doing the challenging work of acquiring a first meeting, creating a new opportunity, winning hearts and minds, and eventually winning the client’s relationship and their business.

Once you win your dream client, you need to retain and grow the client’s business. It does you no good to win a client only to lose them. Once lost, you must go out and find another client to replace your dream client. That is no easy task.

What follows here is a list of ways you might lose your dream client, and how to keep clients for decades:

  • Avoid complacency: You did such a good job winning the client that you are so satisfied with your ability to win the client that you feel no need to try any harder. You should feel good when you win a new client, but not so good you believe your work is done. Those who win deals and disappear will find their competitor engaged with the same contact that signed your company. Your competitor is excited with the new opportunity to take your client from you.
  • Overcome entitlement: You created value for your contact, helping them improve the strategic outcomes your competitor failed to produce. Your team has been delivering the results for months. You now believe that because you are doing good work, you feel you have an absolute right to the client’s business. But now your client has a new need, but they haven’t seen you for months. They have, however, started taking meetings with your competitors.
  • Combat apathy: During the period you were pursuing your new prospective client, you were deeply interested in the company. You were also enthusiastic about what will become your dream client. You were concerned about the smallest of things. But now that you have won the client, you display a lack of interest.
  • Ensure consistent communication: Your relationship started with you communicating with your contacts. You spent time in their facility, taking time to communicate with many stakeholders who would determine your fate. Eventually, the communication and the time you spent resulted in ink on a contract and you jumping up to the top of the stacked ranking. Your client feels that you shut down the communication. Your rival is now conversing with the same people you spoke with when you won their business.
  • Address resentment: You took care of the client as you and your team, spending time with them, helping them with every one of their requests. But over time, you have become bitter, as the client imposes on you feel you are being mistreated. You don’t believe your clients don't recognize your frustration. Because it is clear you are resentful, your contact has suggested they need to start taking meetings with what they are describing as “alternatives.”
  • Respond to long-unaddressed needs: Your client has had a problem with your company and your results. You have had several meetings to discuss the challenges the client is experiencing, but so far, you and your team have done nothing to help your dream client with the outcome they need. Now you have waited long enough you found your competitor’s name on the sign-in sheets on the front desk.
  • Tackle systemic challenges: Outside your client’s window, there is a storm brewing. Anyone paying attention to the client would have addressed the headwinds already making it more difficult to generate the results that used to come easy. But because you allowed these unaddressed systemic challenges to continue, your dream client now belongs to your competitor. You might not have another opportunity to win the client back for a decade.
  • Adapt to new stakeholders: This one isn’t your fault, but it may be your responsibility. The new stakeholder that has just been hired by your client has decided to bring your competitor with them. They know and trust these people, and because they know the new decision maker, you are being removed from the client’s supplier list.
  • Creating continuous value: You may execute fine. But over time, keeping your client requires new value. You are right to believe that you are doing good work. But over time, your client needs you to help them improve what you are doing together. When you can’t provide new value, your competitor has several new ideas that would thrill your client with something new.
  • Address company failures: You may believe your company failed the client. You may believe this is not your fault. But because you didn’t intervene early enough, the client looked for a new partner able to help the client succeed. It was your client, and because you didn’t engage your leadership team early enough, the dream client is no more.

Strategies for Sustaining Revenue and Growth

Some of us are in industries where you can expect churn (the loss of clients). In some industries, it is possible to lose millions of revenues. Losing a large client can mean your sales organization must replace the lost revenue before they can add a single net new dollar of growth.

There is more conversation about winning deals than there is about keeping and growing your clients. Those that want net new revenue will need to retain their clients. You may find that by taking care of your clients, you add to the net new revenue, especially when you can offer new value. It’s helpful to have contacts and contracts, the two things that make it easier to propose new value.

Leaving this article, identify the ways you may lose your dream clients. Where you notice you have a problem, plan to retain your client. This may be difficult, but it is still easier than winning a new client to replace a lost client.


Sales 2023
Post by Anthony Iannarino on December 19, 2023

Written and edited by human brains and human hands.

Anthony Iannarino

Anthony Iannarino is an American writer. He has published daily at thesalesblog.com for more than 14 years, amassing over 5,300 articles and making this platform a destination for salespeople and sales leaders. Anthony is also the author of four best-selling books documenting modern sales methodologies and a fifth book for sales leaders seeking revenue growth. His latest book for an even wider audience is titled, The Negativity Fast: Proven Techniques to Increase Positivity, Reduce Fear, and Boost Success.

Anthony speaks to sales organizations worldwide, delivering cutting-edge sales strategies and tactics that work in this ever-evolving B2B landscape. He also provides workshops and seminars. You can reach Anthony at thesalesblog.com or email Beth@b2bsalescoach.com.

Connect with Anthony on LinkedIn, X or Youtube. You can email Anthony at iannarino@gmail.com

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