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Did you abandon your client?

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When you lose a long-time client, it can feel as if you’ve being abandoned. You’ve stood together through what seems like a lifetime of battles and challenges, always finding a way through, no matter how difficult. You had a relationship; now it’s over. But it’s more than likely your client didn’t actually abandon you. It’s far more likely that you abandoned him.

One of these three things could be the cause of your loss. Study them, make changes where necessary and prevent the loss of your clients in the future.

1. Neglect. The most common way to lose a client is through neglect. Relationships (of all sorts) require careful tending. Ignoring your clients is a form of neglect and can have dire consequences.

At the beginning of your relationship, you’d call. You’d make appointments for face-to-face visits. You’d send articles that your client would find helpful in his business. And now…nothing.

Neglect is form of abandonment. When you discover that your client has begun a new relationship with your competitor, don’t fool yourself: He didn’t abandon you. You abandoned him.

2. Complacency. Another way you can abandon your client is to become complacent. Remember how you used to ensure all your client’s problems and challenges were taken care of? Remember how you used to follow up to make sure she was getting the results she needed? Well, she remembers too. And she can feel the empty space where the salesperson who cared about her used to be.

Just because you have a client now doesn’t mean you are entitled to keep her. Just because you created tremendous value for her in the past doesn’t mean you have a right to her business in perpetuity.

Complacency is either a form of arrogance or a form of laziness, and in both cases, can lead to losing a client.

3. Failure to grow. Your client’s needs are going to change over time. He is growing and evolving and his needs are growing along with him. And if he is struggling, that too means his needs are changing. In order to help your clients take advantage of the opportunities they come across, you have to grow. If their challenges increase, you have to be able to help them overcome those challenges.

If you don’t continue to grow, you aren’t going to have the ability to help your clients keep growing. If you are going to keep your client for life, you have to match — or exceed — his growth.

Failure to grow is another form of abandonment. You are, in effect, forcing your clients to need a new partner.

In each of these cases, you may feel as if you’re the one being left. But the truth of the matter is that your neglect, your complacency or your failure to grow may mean you’ve been doing the abandoning.

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Anthony Iannarino is the managing director of B2B Sales Coach & Consultancy, a boutique sales coaching and consulting company, and an adjunct faculty member at Capital University’s School of Management and Leadership. For more information, go


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