Why did you lose your last ten clients?

How often has this question been asked by you, your boss, your sales manager, or someone else?

The only one who really knows the answer is your former client.

So, why don’t you ask this person why s/he no longer buys from your company?

You might get lucky and find a customer who is prepared to talk, but keep in mind that s/he has moved on and may not want to talk to you.

Also, your customer probably will give you only one reason, then thank you for your efforts and wish you well. How much have you learned? Not much at all.

“Success is going from failure to failure without a loss of enthusiasm.”
- Anonymous

I once lost a client for whom I had created a successful direct-mail campaign. This marketing effort had produced a nice 1,148.85% Return on Investment (ROI).
I found out from my client that she was upset with the slow response that she was getting from me regarding a marketing questionnaire for which she had paid. After answering the questions, my client wanted her marketing analysis, but we just couldn’t seem to find a mutually convenient time to get together. Ultimately, I gave her a refund on the questionnaire and we parted friends.

However, to this day I feel that there had to be something more. Maybe there was a hidden “decision-maker,” someone else who had a final say about who my client does business with or who harbored some ill feeling. I felt very bad when I lost my client because I was hoping that there would be a long and profitable relationship for both of us.

Sometimes it’s hard to pinpoint the definite reason why someone chooses to stop giving you his/her business. It can be hard to determine what complaints s/he had about you that led to the decision.

Oftentimes, you are left with very little information.

Working backwards to discover what went wrong can be very difficult. However, if you are prepared to ask a new client for a little time after the first sale or, even better, after s/he has been buying from you for awhile, then you probably can determine the things that keep him or her coming back and buying from you.

After the relationship with your client gets past the new phase and is “long-term,” ask him/her why you get his/her business.

There will be many reasons, not just one or two.

You may have to probe a little, so ask some open-ended questions. I’m sure that it will be worth it.

Build a file or a database of the answers that you get—the reasons why your clients came to you, of course, but also (if possible) the reasons that they stopped using your competition.

Learn from their answers and discover what you can do to prevent clients from going somewhere else

” One man’s loss is another man’s gain.”
- Unknown

You can benefit by using what you have learned with your next prospect.
This information will help you to convert him or her into a new client.

What are you willing to ask your clients about

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