Losing contracts is part of doing business. Sometimes it will be your team’s fault because a key member left the company, your teammates became complacent or they failed to deliver expected results. Perhaps a client moved to another country, didn’t provide you with enough support or closed their doors. Although losing a deal is demoralizing, what matters more is how you deal with the experience. Learn how to help your team reflect on the situation, learn from it and move on.
Provide your team with details on why the contract went to someone else. In many cases, a client wanted to save money or have a family member or friend complete the work. Or, perhaps the client wasn’t completely satisfied with your output. In any case, assure your team the client appreciated their efforts. Help them manage their emotional response as you manage your own.
Let your team know whether the client agreed to keep the door open about giving you the contract down the road. Perhaps the company that received the business gives a price increase beyond what your company was charging. Maybe the family member or friend who took over the work isn’t reaching expectations. Keeping the lines of communication open means you may secure the business again in the future.
Collaborate with your team to create notes about what you learned from working with the client and facts about why you lost the contract. Spend time reflecting on the experience and use it to guide your decisions moving forward. Before taking on new clients, think about how you can avoid losing one down the road. Include your team’s unique combination of talents that differentiate them from the competition and make them irreplaceable. Encourage your teammates to visualize a future where they deliver significant results for new clients who remain with your company long-term. Be grateful you got to work with the client.
Talk about how losing the contract frees up time for new opportunities. Reframe the loss in a manner that respects both the client and your company and brings your team excitement about the future. Remind your team of the value they provide clients and how that will continue long into the future. Your track record is full of significant wins and will continue to grow and diversify to include even more big contracts.