When we first win a customer or contract, it’s natural to be on a high and very excited – a bit like the first flush of love. But when business as usual kicks in, it doesn't take long before we are taking the customer (our partner) for granted. In doing so, we tend to forget what a risk it was for them to choose us in the first place, and the gratitude we felt during the honeymoon period.
Last year one of my clients was bidding for an important government contract. The Department in question was looking to reform this part of the market, so we had several bids in place and the team was braced to expect change. The first call we received was to notify us that we had lost our (small) current contract. The CEO, always gracious under pressure, was genuine in thanking the Department rep for the opportunity to participate and assured him that she understood the reasons for the loss. He was grateful and surprised to receive such a reaction, having made similar calls to other unsuccessful suppliers and been given a much more aggressive and angry reception.
Not long afterwards, our team got better news. We had won a much larger contract that not only replaced the revenue (and jobs) of the first one, but increased both exponentially.
No matter what business you’re in, long-term contracts are a game of strategic relationships.
When there is a setback, think carefully about the future and don’t burn your bridges.
Expressing true gratitude for the opportunities we've already been given in business actually helps us to win even more. We never know what lies ahead, and we can achieve so much more with the customer’s backing and support.
|This is an extract from Robyn’s new book Winning Again: a retention game plan for your most important contracts and customers. To order your copy, go to http://www.winningwords.com.au/winning-again/|