Author of The Gauntlet
- There’s a change in your contact(s), and the new person(s) cares nothing about your relationship;
- Your customer is acquired by or merged with another large entity, and they no longer need you;
- The customer decides to consolidate suppliers or move the work in house.
- You discover that you are consistently compromising the profitability of your business to serve your largest customer;
- So much of your company’s time is consumed serving your most significant customer that there is no time dedicated to pursuing new business; or
- You’ve stopped offering uncommon, “against the trend” advice to your key customer because you are afraid to lose them, even though this helped you originally earn their business.
- Strengthen your strategic position with other key customers;
- If your contacts change, personally deliver the message that you’d appreciate the opportunity to continue earning their business, but don’t want them to feel trapped by an inherited decision. Then proceed to ask them about their impressions of what you do well and what you can improve;
- Be ready to act promptly if the worst happens. Build two contingency plans, one for a mild revenue decrease and one for a major reduction, with specific potential cost reductions, including manpower;
- Beware of adding debt and aggressively seek to reduce the amount you have.
If a key customer departs, when the time is right, advise your employees; though the news is bad, a surprise communicated later will be worse. Losing a gorilla customer is painful, but it can be an important step in eventually moving your business to the next level.
any of the vulnerability warning signs?