Last Friday night, my wife and I decided to go out to dinner. I came downstairs in jeans and a t-shirt with plans to get a pizza. I didn’t even shave. After all, we’ve been married for over 30 years. How much effort do I need to make? It’s the same woman I see every day!
My wife, on the other hand, looked beautiful, as she always does.
Outside, a car horn honked. In the driveway was a red Ferrari and Ryan Gosling was behind the wheel. He knocked on the door. My wife opened it and Ryan Gosling handed her a bouquet of flowers. Ryan Gosling offered to take her to a 5-star French restaurant.
Off she went.
Thirty years of marriage and, in one day, Ryan Gosling stole my wife.
Fortunately, not a true story. (I’d be heartbroken!) But it can happen to you with your clients.
You have a relationship for 3, 7 maybe 10 years and it’s gotten comfortable. You’re on autopilot. The work gets done, maybe not with the same zest and sizzle as in the first year or two. But no one’s complaining. Suddenly, the competition knocks on the door. The competition gets a meeting. The competition starts whispering sweet nothings in the client’s ear, such as “data analytics,” “robotic processing automation,” or “lower cost of ownership.”
Next thing you know, the competition has your client in the passenger seat and they’re driving away.
Incumbency is one of the two hardest things to sell against. (I’d be interested in comments on what you think the second is.) And complacency is the Achilles heel of the incumbent service provider.
Remember: if you don’t treat your old client like a new client, they soon will be an old client.
How you handle dates with your significant other is up to you. Just watch out for Ryan Gosling!