You just lost your biggest client.
Totally out of the blue, and worse yet all you got was an email with no explanation. You panic, of course, you forward the email to your Sales Manager and run in to the office, freaking out.
After strategizing, you get in your car and drive over to see the client in person and try and figure out what’s happening. You make an offer to try and save the deal, but the client tells you there’s nothing you can do, they have to cancel.
I say, you should’ve been planning for this.
I believe sales people should have the mindset that their biggest client is cancelling tomorrow. Think about it, if this scenario happened to you (to most of us it has at one time or another), you lost your biggest account, what would happen? After the anger and the second guessing and more anger and more second guessing, there comes a point when you’d have to think about how you’re going to replace the income you just lost. Something tells me that most of us, would eventually respond by kicking it in to a higher gear.
So, I believe we should always work in that gear and if that fear of this happening is what gets you there, then so be it.
Quick side story. I was a Market Manager once in a market that, prior to my arrival, had lost its largest billing client (by far), a multi-location auto company, that had decided to stop spending on radio altogether. All the major radio clusters in town were hurt, but we were hurt the worst.
Each month we had a prior year “comp” of around $30,000 from one client that was non-returning, for the first eight or nine months of my “reign.” When I started reporting to a different Regional Vice President he had some great advice on how to view this: “Don’t look at it as needing to find one account to replace the thirty-thousand per month, rather think of it as needing to find six, five-thousand-dollar clients.”
That must’ve been why he was paid the big bucks as an RVP. Without his input, I would’ve never realized that in a city where the average client was spending $3,500 per month, I wasn’t going to be able to find another single client to spend almost ten times that, but I digress.
The point here is that the money eventually has to be replaced – that’s the only choice you have. If it’s one client, three clients, ten clients or thirty clients, you’ll eventually need to replace (and grow) your income/revenue.
This is where the F word comes in to play: funnel. What’s in your funnel to replace the lost dollars? We all know that when the client cancels, if that’s the first time you start working on a replacement account or two or three, you’re dead. It’ll take you at least three to six months to replace that money in most cases.
However, if you have several pieces of business in that funnel you’ve been working on, in anticipation of your largest client cancelling, you’re way ahead of the game.
Try it. In the coming days, work like you just lost your largest client, because one day, you will.