5 Steps to Bounce Back After You Lose a Key Account

Cartoon of a businessman with a big whale on the line. Might he Lose a Key Account?

After You Lose a Key Account, Do Not Give Up
You had it and then you lost it—that big account that was going to make your sales quota for years to come.  For most sales people, it is always painful to lose a key account.

As a high performance solution seller, it is terrifying to lose a key account. You risk losing income, job security and reputation. Give yourself a bit of time to acknowledge the loss.  Then begin the rebuilding process.

5 Steps to Bounce Back After You Lose a Key Account

1.  Never Burn Bridges
Whatever the reason that caused you to lose a key account, be as gracious as you can as you take in the news. You certainly don’t want to offend your former customer. If they respect what you have done for them and the relationship you shared, they may well be a good referral in the future. Sour grapes could spoil that.

2.  Try to Figure Out What Happened
What responsibility should you take for losing a key account and what was due to circumstances beyond your control? You need to be objective. Try to re-frame the situation in a way that helps you look forward and understand what you can do differently next time.

List the facts and be sure to include the positive aspects of the relationship. You can learn something important from every misstep in life.

3.  Assess Your Unique Sales Talents
Again, be as objective as possible as you assess what it is that you bring to consultative selling that no one else can. What are your unique talents? The goal is to understand just what clients appreciate about you so you can highlight the qualities that make you hard to replace.

4.  Plan for Losing Key Accounts
You will lose clients…everybody does at one point or another. But you can lessen your risk and vulnerability of losing a key account by diversifying your customer base and working diligently on developing new business with target clients.

5.  Look Forward and Be Positive
Look for the silver lining. Maybe that key account did not really suit you and the way you like to work. Perhaps there was less real value in the relationship than you thought. You might now have time to develop an even better target client…one who is a better fit for you and your company. And don’t lose sight of the fact that if you were skilled enough to land a big account once, you can surely do it again.

The Bottom Line
When you have a better sense of your capabilities as a solution seller, you can be more discriminating in your choice of clients. Try not to take on accounts out of desperation but by being selective. You are not right for every client and every client is not right for you. When there’s a good fit, work is far more exciting and rewarding.

To learn more about how to not lose a key account and how to find, win and keep more key accounts, download The 4 Steps to Ideal Target Client Definition to Accelerate Growth

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