Last week, I found out that one of my long-term clients had decided to change directions, and go with a large firm that could suit their growing media needs. While I wasn’t completely caught off-guard by this, it brought a three-year relationship to an end. It was difficult for the client too, in a sense, to let me go.
Find Out Why and Don’t Take it Personally
Getting let go like this is usually no fault of our own. We have to be ready to deal with our client’s evolving needs. In this instance, as I said, I had been working with the client for more than three years. Their organization had evolved several times over that period. They needed a larger team to handle their needs. Some of the services they now require, I don’t offer. This is one of the factors which pushed me out.
Regardless. When a client relationship ends with no apparent reason, it is appropriate to ask “why?” if they don’t give you specifics on the question of “why?” be sure to ask them. Depending on the moment, you might want to wait until later to bring up the question. No matter, it’s definitely something you will want to find out.
Reassure the Client Then Keep in Touch
The client is letting you go, and if they appreciate their relationship, with you, they will most likely be sad to see you go. Reassure them, saying that you’ve appreciated working with them and that you hope that you can work with them again in some capacity.
Keep the door open. Every once in a while ask them to grab a coffee. Keeping the relationship going means that you will continue to have that client in your corner, even though they aren’t paying you for work.
Ask for a Testimonial, Referrals and Other Opportunities
In my case, the client said that she’d refer me and try to help me in any way possible. But clients might not be so forthcoming with this. If you feel comfortable, say something like “if you think of me for something else, whether it be with your company or elsewhere, definitely let me know.”
If you’re leaving the client on a good note, be sure to follow-up with them and ask for a testimonial on Google, Facebook or to put on your website.
It’s perfectly normal to feel bummed out about losing a long-term client. But don’t overthink it. Don’t let it affect your other work. Instead, take your passion and apply it to your other clients that you’re currently doing business with.
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