What is the real reason we lose business when selling? Every day, I get questions from industry salespeople about how to handle problems that cost them business and clients. Here are three recent examples:

  • “I just lost a long time client to a competitor over a small difference in price…”
  • “So far this week, I have lost 5 jobs to one particular item… the set up charge.”
  • “A problem with a bulk email has lost me two customers.” What can I do about this?

In Each of These Cases — and in Most Cases Where We Lose Business or Clients over Something that Seems Fairly Insignificant — the Problem is Generally Not What We Think it is…

The problem is probably not the small difference in price, the set up charge or the email snafu. The problem is with the relationship.
If we lose clients over a small difference in price, it means we haven’t effectively conveyed the value we provide over our competitors.
If we lose clients over something like a set up charge, it means we haven’t solidified the relationship enough to justify the additional expense.
If someone dumps us because of a botched email, it means our relationship was not nearly firm enough to begin with.

So Rather than Addressing Symptoms by Attempting to “Match the Price” or “Eat the Set-up Charge” Why Not Attack the Root of the Problem?

Ask yourself:

  • “How can I improve this relationship to the point where I won’t get the heave-ho over a small difference in price?”
  • “What do I have to do to make the value that I bring to a client more than justify any necessary set-up charges?”
  • “What level of familiarity and rapport do I need to reach with my client to ensure that small issues can no longer derail the entire relationship?”

Then go to work each day on building the types of business relationships that will withstand issues like these. Your clients will appreciate the extra attention, and you’ll be far less likely to lose them to hobbyists and price-cutters.

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