Nowadays, if you ask someone how the
grass is, you may get an answer about the legalization of marijuana. But, for
this post, let’s get back to the old saying that “the grass is not always
greener on the other side”. I’ve experienced two scenarios recently that have
provided me much food for thought in writing my blog. This week I am going to
focus on the client that left because they believed the grass would be greener
on the other side.
After a 9 year business relationship, as
several previous posts have eluded to, I had a client leave me. There were
several factors that weighed in their decision process, but admittedly, none
more so than the addition of a new management team member. Regardless of our
long-term relationship, she felt the need to come in and make her mark on the
organization early on, and in doing so my firm was dismissed. Her approach was
to make the owner and his right hand, those I had been working with weekly for
years, question decisions I (and my firm) have made in our services to them.
She had them, in very short timing, believing that it was time for a change and
that said change should have been made a while ago, and that she had just the
right firm to change over to.
Now, Cleveland being a small community,
it didn’t take long for me to find out that she has several personal and
extremely close relationships with management of this other firm. Pausing for a moment, let me point out that
I am not at all bitter, rather I sincerely feel bad for my former client. They
hired someone they believed would put their company’s interest before her own
and in doing so sold them on the concept that the grass would be greener on the
other side. Now, back to my story, she did not disclose to her new employer
just how close she was to this other firm. Might this change have been in the
works before she even got the job? Maybe.
The decision by my client was quick and
abrupt. One day we were knee deep in work and the next we were dismissed. In
fact, the owner didn’t even have the courtesy to call me and breakup, rather he
sent me an email from the airport just prior to departing the country on
business. It’s like breaking up with someone over text, kind of a chicken sh%t
move. (Ok, maybe that was a little bitter.) Nevertheless, without much thought,
my once active, long-term client was no longer my client.
It’s only been a few weeks since the
change, but through the grapevine I am hearing that my client may be
second-guessing their decision. Or, at the very least, wondering if they
overreacted too quickly without much forethought. You see, as it turns out, the
grass isn’t necessarily greener on the other side.
In the time since my client left, the
new firm has shown their lack of technical capabilities, in that they’ve never
had such a complex client before. They’ve never built nor managed an e-commerce
platform that competes on an international stage. And, they are uncertain on
how to best maintain the platform. Moving on, they are also making the same
marketing related recommendations that we were making for the better part of
one year, and showing the client no signs of any unique skill sets. So, why
then did the client make such a change?
Relationships and human nature kicked in
and emotion drove a decision that the client likely now regrets. Think of it in
personal terms for a moment. We’ve all been in relationships with a significant
other that for some reason did not work out. Whether it was days, weeks, months
or years, we’ve had a regret or two, and wondered what if. Why did the
relationship come to an end? Was it you? Was it me? Was it us together? And,
was it abrupt without much thought only that the grass must be greener on the
I’m not suggesting that this old saying
is right or wrong in every situation. There are certainly times where a
departure of the same old-same old is necessary and the grass truly is greener
on the other side. As a career sales person, it is my job to be focused and see
clearly the warning signs of when such a change may be coming. And, it is my
job to counsel the client on how such a decision may impact the relationship
going forward and their business.
Would I invite my client back? Maybe.
But, the ground rules have changed, as they’ve shown their true colors. Only
time will tell.