The client/advisor relationship is often a precarious one. Our best clients, those who send us work repeatedly, communicate their satisfaction by re-engaging us on a regular basis. But our position is more murky with our second tier of clients, and sometimes we learn that they’ve moved on to someone else... without the courtesy of a formal break-up.
Upon reflection, things certainly started off well. But after the honeymoon phase was over, they stopped calling as frequently.
There was no formal complaint. They certainly seemed pleased with the services received. And they were never anything less than cordial. So, you told yourself that their needs had become intermittent. In fact, they even told you that they had less work to outsource, but they’d call you when things picked back up. And you wanted so badly to believe them, that you took them at their word. (Cue violin music.)
By the following year, there was no question that it was over. And it really wasn’t fair. You didn’t get three strikes. You didn’t get a chance to turn it around. You were just gently released as a function of never being rehired. The question is, what could you have done about it?
In a competitive environment, our clients are constantly being offered opportunities to take their business elsewhere. As the incumbent, it’s our job to be proactive. We have to make the time to check in and give them as many opportunities as possible to communicate their concerns. We have to probe for the business needs that aren’t being volunteered to us. We have to care about their success, and we have to show that we care.
So, put yourself in your competitor’s shoes. What tactic would they use to steal away one of your best clients? What could they promise that might entice your client to stray? That’s the vulnerability to address now, while they’re still kind of your client.
Authored by David Ackert