Recently, I have encountered an unexpected spate of established, solid client relationships that simply vanished in thin air. Retirements, changes in title or budget, or shifting priorities have led to a number of longstanding, strong client relationships to go up in smoke. Rather than basing my work schedule on a predictable stream that I built over time with these clients, I have been forced to act quickly to develop new relationships and rebuild my base.
Unfortunately, no one is immune to sudden, impactful changes to their clients or their clients’ needs. Despite many years of exemplary service, market, company or personal factors can force service providers and sellers to have to start again.
Here are some strategies that can help preempt such change and minimize its impact.
Always be in client creation mode – Regardless of how many clients you have in the bag, it’s imperative to continually create new ones. This is true even if you’re at capacity and can’t seem to find time to make new connections, let alone serve them. Make the time to regularly connect with new people, at conferences, online, or one on one, even if it means hiring someone to do some of your own work. Then, find ways to keep them in the window of engagement, such as adding them to a waiting list and an email list. Regularly check in on them and add value to the relationship.