A Letter from Your Competitor

Dear Competitor,

We only know each other by reputation so I hope you don’t take it personally, but I’m poaching your client. I ran into them at a recent industry event, and after asking a few questions I learned that they have been working with your firm for more than five years. During the first few years, they were very happy with your services. You eagerly learned as much as you could about their needs and provided numerous value-adds to keep them happy.

Lately however, they feel like you have gone on autopilot. They no longer receive any special attention from you (unless their invoice is overdue), and you have not been proactive about the needs surrounding their latest B2B product (sorry if this is the first time you’re hearing about it). They recognize that they’re not your biggest client, and they value the relationship they have with you, which is why they have not actively been looking to replace you. But once they heard about the introductory discount, needs assessment, and value-add I was willing to offer, they decided that they were better off making a change.

This will come as a shock to you, since your last round of client feedback with them was in 2014. You’ve probably been coasting along with the thought that no news is good news. I hate to say it, but you made it easy for me. I look forward to meeting more of your clients very soon.

With gratitude,

Your Competitor

Authored by David Ackert

6 thoughts on “A Letter from Your Competitor

  • By the way, reminds me of a story: I called one of our vendors and asked for X (and given it was a bit of a crisis asked for immediate attention). The reply was: “What do we owe you ? Well, I can tell you we were understaffed, had some churn in people handling relationships, and … = we probably were not the most ideal client, but we were their largest client, we did move our business several thousand miles to be within eye-shot of them, plus we were their first major client, had financed them through growth, and it was speculated we turned them into a Fortune 500. Well, I ended up calling their CEO and they said consider it done, though everyone complained to me that there was still a tension in the air locally. It was an easy decision – they would be phased out over 5 years and we would invest in another start-up and help that start-up build their business.

  • That is the way it works. When I preach Continuous Improvement you would not believe the number of people that tell me “that is old fashioned concept ” or “if it’s not broke don’t fix it” (though usually comes from someone who I question could successfully impediment via their have the personality or …. Same goes for “on day one the founder serviced our account” and then as they grew the next person served 3 accounts, then the next person served 10 accounts, and ….

    • Great blog! Really drives the point home. This is extremely true and we’ve experienced this many times over the years (in both directions mostly when adding clients and occasionally when losing clients). Thanks for the reminder!

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