Managing Relationships: Keep In Touch With Your Champions

Has this happened to you? The person who is your champion inside a client company leaves to take a position elsewhere. That person’s replacement starts acting like they are tentative about your products and services. Then the hammer falls. That client replaces you with another vendor. The changeover may not be preventable, but at least it does not have to be a surprise. If you have some notice about your champion’s departure, then you can seek help in your attempt to preserve the relationship. You don’t want to assume it’s lost. But you sure don’t want to act like you have an annuity. Find out what kind of vendor review will be done by the new person. See if you can meet with the departing champion’s boss if you have not been able to extend your relationship up the chain of command. Arm yourself with as many facts relating to all the good you have done for the company. Find out what makes the new person tick and how you can start a new relationship and help them with a quick success in their new job. You may not keep the work. But you won’t be burning any bridges either. And, perhaps most important of all, work to have your departing champion take you to their new assignment if your products and services fit there.