Hey it happens. You think you have a great rapport with your client, and that everything is going smoothly. Okay…. smooth-ish. Something always comes up. There are some bumps, but you do your due diligence, right any wrongs, address issues as they come up, and work hard to make sure that your client is happy.
And then the Dear John email arrives. They’ve decided to move on for any number of reasons (growing, pivoting strategies, needing a new change). It sucks. Now you’re in the same boat you were the last time. You need to fill that vacant client spot with a new client. You need to get new work coming in, and quick. You feel like you just broke up and all you want to do is sit on the couch and binge watch episodes of Xena while you eat a whole box of Mallomars, but you need to get your rear in gear and get business going.
Really, what are you supposed to do? Well first…
That’s probably the most important rule of them all. Don’t panic. Take some time to consider your options. Read a book. Ride your bike. Do something else for a short time. It’ll help, and it will also give you the time to reorganize and develop a new strategy. Here are a few other useful tips (in no particular order):
1. Cold call
It’s a pain. When you’re an introvert like me, cold calling past and potential clients is that one activity that will induce anxiety in you quicker than a pole cat to get to the buffet in a henhouse. It has to be done. You have to get out there and build your contacts list. Selling yourself is part of the game, and going door to door still may be the best way to get your foot in the door.
2. Network, Network, Network
See number 1. No really, you have to network. It’s vital to your business, and you just plain have to do it.
3. Start thinking about what you don’t do
What you don’t do is just as important as what you actually do. This helps when deciding how to proceed as it helps you to give a solid plan. It can also provide potential clients with realistic expectations of your work.
4. Get a goal, but focus on the process
Goals are great. They give you something to strive for. However, focusing on the goal can take away from the process. The process is what will give you the skills you need to complete projects. The process sharpens the tools you need to complete a project. Focusing on goals can cause you to overlook important factors, and create complications. Goals can also blind you to other possibilities, and create a sense of anxiety or despair if those goals aren’t ultimately attained. In Buddhist terms, the “Process” is the “Now”; the “Goal” is the “Future”. Always bet on the “Now”.
5. Take on whatever job you can take
Remember what I said in number 2? Yeah, you may have to take on jobs that you don’t want to take on, or may be less adept at. But if it brings in a new client that can become a potential boon, then you have to weigh that. Just know your limitations, and the time you have to spend.
6. Know your worth
Don’t let potential clients talk you down below a point that you would be willing to accept in any circumstance. You need to let the client know that you provide a service, and that your service comes at a cost, and if done correctly the cost will turn into value for the client. Value cannot come without cost for either you or the client.
Go forth and be excellent to each other
Losing clients or customers is the price you pay for being in business. You can’t take rejection personally even if it is personal. You just have to dust yourself up, and get back to it. There are other clients who need your work. Go forth, and be excellent to them. Just remember to still bill them when they go.