What to do when your point person leaves
Every stage of a sales relationship can be tricky, but it's the time in between relationships that can be downright terrifying. What happens when the person you've spent time and effort establishing and cultivating a strong relationship with leaves the brand or company you've invested in? Luckily, there are steps you can take to keep relationships cruising even when individuals abandon ship.
Source: Marketing consultant Adam DeGraide
The first step in the rebuilding process is understanding the departure of your point person. Reach out to the original contact to determine whether it was a friendly or hostile departure. If leaving the company was amicable, then you could ask the original contact if he/she would be willing to do a hand-off to the new contact.
If it wasn't a positive departure, then you might have to take some additional steps. Providing a few favors should not be out of the question. Let the company know that you're there to do anything you can to keep the transition as smooth as possible.
However, focus on favors of time and non-tangible items instead of tickets and other spiffs; save those until the relationship is further along in its rebuilding. Favors won't just help in the rebuilding process; they'll make you memorable. Work to send a clear signal that you are a significant -- and essential -- resource for the organization.
Once you've begun rebuilding the relationship, there are action steps you can take to maintain it. First, learn as much as you can about this new person through LinkedIn, Twitter, and other online resources. Then, reach out directly to the new point person. Try to set up a phone call or meeting to introduce yourself. Go ahead and send the person a handwritten note congratulating him or her and letting them know you're there to help in any way. Be patient for a response, as they'll likely be swamped at the start.
Once you're able to connect, make a point to understand the person's preferred method of communication. Just because the previous person liked face-to-face meetings doesn't mean the new person will. You might have to be willing to adapt in order to sustain your relationship with this new contact.
Growth is a huge part of the rebuilding process. A new contact gives you opportunities to present ideas the previous person may have shown no interest in or even turned down. You'll need to start over in educating this person about your product or service, but you can tailor this as informative, not sales-driven.
Try to interest this new point person in what your company does -- as well as your collaborative history with his organization -- as soon as possible so he/she sees this as a mutually beneficial relationship that needs to continue. Show them how you can add value to what they do.
Make a Statement
In the end, the departure of a key point person is the perfect opportunity to send a powerful message to the company that your relationship is more than just a connection between two people. You are there to provide value to the company as a whole. It also gives you the opportunity to form a new type of relationship -- one that's poised for not only stability but also for growth.