“i’m just calling to let you know that I’ll be leaving…”
We’ve all received that call—the one from your primary contact inside a client company. The contact you’ve worked hard to develop a relationship with over months or even years of service. Then one day—poof! They’re leaving the company next month, next week, or maybe even tomorrow, and you realize your relationship with the company may be over.
It doesn’t have to be that way.
two ways to keep a resignation from killing a relationship
- Don’t let your primary contact be your only contact.
I attended Mirren Live (the agency conference) in May, and one of the speakers presented a really simple concept for ensuring this situation doesn’t happen to you. She recommended forming relationships “Three Wide and Three Deep”—meaning you should cultivate connections with three peers of your contact and three people at levels above your contact.
- Stay connected with your contact at their new company.
This is easier than ever with LinkedIn, since the connections you make are with the individual rather than company, and can easily transcend changes of employment. Depending on your contact’s new role, your product or service could still be of interest— either directly or by referral to one of their new colleagues.
how to do it without feeling icky
Business is all about relationships, but no one wants to feel like their relationship with you is all about business. Here are some tips for avoiding the ick factor, and honoring the people you’re connected to.
- Ask your contact if there are others in the company you could be introduced to. The key here is timing. Wait until you’ve successfully worked together for some period of time, and be absolutely certain your contact is satisfied with you. It’s also smart to make sure you are aware of any internal hierarchies or politics that might suggest a specific protocol.
- Check out their connections on LinkedIn. With a little research, you might discover your contact is connected to people you would love to work with—inside or outside the company. When the time is right, you can ask for a specific introduction. I’ve found that people who share a genuine relationship with you are usually more than happy to help. Being able to pass along a good resource makes them look good, too!
No shameless plug, here. I just wanted to pass along this simple yet effective strategy for preserving lasting business relationships.