As I sat here in my office, I noticed a sheet of paper that has been hanging taped to a shelf for years. It is titled “Why Clients Leave?” It shows the statistics that I first heard many years ago about why your clients discontinue doing business with you. It also shows the percentages of clients who leave for various reasons.
For example, it states that 1% of your clients quit doing business with you because they die. Don’t you just hate that when it happens? I mean, clients are supposed to live – and buy from you – forever, right? It is an obvious reason, but it did need to be included on the list.
The list shows only 5 reasons, with the most prevalent reason (at 72%) being an “Attitude of Indifference.” I get that. I have quit doing business with some companies – and some doctors – who have treated me as a number. I understand that I was not their only client (or patient), but, hey, at least pretend that you care about me as a person occasionally.
Now that you have read some about what this list entails, I now want to give you my Top 5 reasons why your clients REALLY leave you.
Number 1: Your Social Media Posts
Yep. It is true. If you truly believe that your clients do not check your business (and YOU) on social media, think again. This happens all the time. If you are in business, and you want to use social media, just know that roughly half of your clients may leave you if you are always discussing your politics, as roughly half of the country is on each side of the fence. It is the reason why years ago that my Dad turned down being the Treasurer for a friend of his who was running for governor. He told his friend that he was concerned that he could lose half his clients over politics (and this was in the 1970’s!).
Number 2. Your Lack of People Skills
This is why I am always teaching people how to improve in this area. Look, some people will buy from you regardless of your people skills, either because they do not have to interact with you personally, or because you are the only person they know who offers what they need. But do you really want to lose ANY business, just because you are weak in this area? Start today to improve your people skills. Pick up – and read – a book on the subject. Join Toastmasters. Sign up for some webinars, or a class online. I do not care what you do – just do something.
Number 3: Prejudice
I really did not want to include this in my list here in 2018, but it is the truth. For whatever reason, some people just refuse to stop being idiots. Go figure.
Number 4: Nepotism (or at least, Playing Favorites)
You know, a lot of people are really cool. They are truly nice. So nice, in fact, that when their son/daughter/neighbor starts selling a product or service that they have bought from your company for years, they immediately stop buying from you to support their relative or great friend. It happens. I would strongly advise that when this happens, you let it go. Feel free to inquire why your client left, but when they tell you why, encourage them. Tell them that you hope their son is successful in representing that product. Just make sure at the end to say that you would love to have them as a client again should their son’s venture not succeed.
Number 5 (my personal favorite): Because they WANT TO
Yes, you read that right. I said that some clients will leave you just because they want to. No reason needed. Maybe they just want to try something new. Maybe they found a business that does what you do that is now on their way to work. Maybe they have met a new potential love interest who just happens to work at this other place. Do you really think that they are going to continue to be loyal to your product or service, when the possible love of their life works for your competitor?
Here is a real-life example of Number 5. Years ago, I was the Chief Operating Officer of a family business. One of many things that I oversaw was the maintaining, leasing, and purchasing of all the company’s office equipment. I started to date a young woman (who later became my wife) who was representing a local Postal Machine business. When it was time to update our old postage meter, just whom do you think I chose? Our previous supplier, or my wife-to-be? I am sorry, but there was really no choice.
By the way, that original list of Why Clients Leave did not include any reason that was titled, “Because of a Hot Redhead.” It just shows you that not all expert lists are totally accurate.
Here is the takeaway: if you are in sales or in business, you WILL lose clients over time. The key things to do is (1) to minimize the reasons why they leave, and (2) to continue to add new clients. That way, when some do leave, you have nothing to worry about.