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Rosemont Cubs?

For the past couple of months, I’ve taught a simple formula for landing Big Fish clients that can dramatically change the entire dynamic of your business.

Today, I’m going to warn you about how you could lose your Big Fish clients.

And speaking of losing a Big Fish…

By now, you’ve probably heard of the battle going on between the owner of the Chicago Cubs, Tom Ricketts, and city officials over the proposed half-a-billion-dollar renovation plans for Wrigley Field.

On one side, you have a typically greedy major league team owner, and on the other a group of business owners, citizens and politicians – all with their own interests at heart as well.

The team owner, who despite owning the single most profitable organization in baseball (according to Forbes magazine), is personally about $600 million in debt from his purchase of the team back in 2009, also according to Forbes.

Maybe that’s why Ricketts is so outspoken about his opponents’ dedication to blocking his attempts to increase his advertising revenue. At one point, Ricketts even threatened his opponents by saying, “Well, the fact is, if we don’t have the ability to generate revenue in our own outfield, then we’ll have to take a look at moving, no question.”

The outcry was swift and powerful. Casual and hard-core fans alike were up in arms over the mere suggestion that their beloved, inept team would ever abandon its beloved, broken-down stadium.

(Meanwhile, would any of those people ever consider blowing a wad of cash on making cosmetic improvements to an old, broken-down car they owned? I can see it now: “I think I’ll put a $5,000 stereo system into my 1978 Plymouth Reliant.”)

As Ricketts also said, “All we really need is to be able to run our business like a business and not a museum.”

(How are you running your business? Are you stubbornly clinging to outdated systems or parts of your business that used to function well, but no longer do?)

Could the Cubs build an exact replica of “The Friendly Confines” – except with upgraded seating, restrooms, locker rooms, press facilities, etc. – in a place like Rosemont, and still attract sellout crowds despite putting inferior teams on the field year after year?

Of course they could.

But if they ever move out of Chicago’s Wrigleyville neighborhood, the big loser will be all of the bars, restaurants and other businesses surrounding the ballpark that depend on Cubs fans descending on the area and spending hundreds of millions of dollars every year.

And that’s a Big Fish that neither the neighborhood of Wrigleyville nor the city of Chicago are about to lose without putting up one heck of a fight.

How about you?

If you’ve followed the suggestions I laid out over my last couple of months’ worth of posts to this blog, by now you should be well on your way to landing at least one Big Fish client for your business. Or maybe you’ve already landed one or more.

Good for you!

So now you need to do whatever you can to keep them.

To help you do that, I’ve identified five big mistakes you can make that will kill a deal with a Big Fish:

  1. Not meeting your client’s expectations
  2. Mishandling a client crisis
  3. Taking on more than you can handle
  4. Putting all your eggs into one basket
  5. Being up cash creek without a paddle

Any one of these – or a combination of any of them – can not only kill the partnership, but have the ability to take down your entire company as well.

I’m going to take a bit of time to talk about each one of these. This week I’ll cover the first two…

I. Not Meeting Your Client’s Expectations

It’s essential for you to give your clients exactly what you promised them during the negotiation portion of your relationship. If something comes up where there is no way to meet the client’s expectations, not only must you find a way to fix the situation, but you also have to find out where it all went wrong.

A couple of things could have contributed to this problem:

  1. Bad salesmanship. The salesperson may have tried too hard to seal the deal and didn’t listen to the client’s needs.
  2. Lack of communication. This breakdown occurs between the salesperson and your own operations department.

In order to avoid these mistakes, you need to put a clear plan of action into place that all of your salespeople need to follow:

  • Think before you speak.
  • Give yourself a break.
  • Perfect your process.
  • Pre-format over-deliverables.
  • Stay hands-on throughout the entire process.
  • Define success.

II. Mishandling a Client Crisis

Crises are bound to happen, and how you respond and fix them will define your company and your relationship with your clients. If you respond quickly and effectively, you will gain even more trust and confidence from your client than if the crisis hadn’t occurred at all.

Here are some simple tips to help you deal with any client crisis…

  • Take responsibility.
  • Apologize no matter who is at fault.
  • Act swiftly and effectively.
  • Step in and take control of the situation.
  • Never point fingers or place blame.
  • Stay in constant communication with your client.
  • Stay calm throughout the situation.
  • Keep your eye on the ball.

Now that you know the top two mistakes you can make to kill a Big Fish deal, you can plan to avoid making these mistakes in the first place and prepare to put a plan of action into place for when a crisis occurs.

Coming next week: I’ll reveal the third and fourth killer mistakes you need to avoid when working with Big Fish clients.

If you need help with any of this, try my FREE test drive of to get all the help you could ever need:


2 Responses to Rosemont Cubs?

  1. Chuck Trautman Reply

    May 15, 2013 at 11:00 am

    Steve, I always enjoy your takes and analogies. Keep serving up the good stuff. – Chuck

  2. Mary Forte Reply

    May 16, 2013 at 3:14 pm

    I’ll admit I don’t know much about the baseball stadium controversy, I’m not a baseball fan. Being a retail store owner, I do know how to handle a client crisis.
    Clients come and go for various reasons. The UNFORGIVABLE reason is to ignore or mishandle a client crisis. No one loves to deal with these situations, but I have experienced first hand the increased trust and respect that can result when you follow the tips Steve has outlined.

    I for one will be reiterating this to my staff in our next meeting and posting these tips on the Employee bulletin board as a reminder to all. Customer relationships are what business is all about.
    Steve, thanks for giving me a topic for my next meeting!

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