10 Sep Can You Match Their Enthusiasm?
Can You Match Their Enthusiasm?
(We’re back – refreshed and ready to go after our short sabbatical. Thanks for being a subscriber to Tenacity’s blog and for being interested in what we do. Please feel encouraged to respond, comment, forward, recommend or otherwise engage with us in this journey in to effective account management and client retention. We welcome and appreciate the dialogue with you.)
There is a certain tyranny in the “new normal”. Humans have a tendency to normalize any situation – including the situation where we possess a client in our portfolio. They’re ours – we have them – we’re used to them. The thrill of the victory when we won the client has long since vanished. We’re off to the next new conquest – the next new client.
Here’s the rub. That client that we have normalized is now the next new conquest for our competitors, who seek to take them away from us. And, they’re definitely enthusiastic about winning the business. And our client? It’s entirely possible that they are sensing that taken for granted feeling we may have been normalizing and unintentionally communicating. But you can bet they’re feeling courted, wooed and highly desired by our competition.
That’s even more interesting because the margins that we are enjoying are likely to have matured and are likely to be a lot higher than that competitor will bid to supplant us. Additionally, competitors will willingly parade legions of adoring senior management, employ corporate aircraft and limos for site visits and just basically pull out all the stops to win the business.
The bottom line is that unless we clearly communicate to the client that we are at least as enthusiastic about keeping this client as the competition is about taking it, we are in deep trouble. This is especially true if we’ve done a good job eliminating the client’s problems (which they have now normalized too, by the way). (See blogposts on Revelation X™)
Some years ago, I dealt with this question at the conclusion of a keynote address that I had delivered. It may be useful to see how (a younger version of me) dealt with the question. You can link to it at http://www.stevewurzbacher.com/engage.html.
Retention of these clients requires a formal retention / renewal plan involving the entire team and commencing well in advance of the contract’s expiration. Tenacity calls this process TARP™ (Team Account Retention Planning).
Remember, “The worst time to renew a contract is when it is due for renewal” (Tenacity Client Retention Commandment #8).