Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Counter Offer Syndrome

When I joined Rutan & Tucker it was high on my list to bring along a marketing coordinator from my previous firm. She is smart, talented, and a joy to work around. We made a team. AND, our last firm was changing in ways that made staying difficult. She was ready to jump. When partners at the last firm found out she intended to leave they pulled out all the stops; made promises; told her everything is going to be great from here on out. She stayed.

Not too many days later I've heard from her and now she is MEGA unhappy. The partners may have wanted things to transform, but the people she actually reports to are still the same. The hassles, the politics; overworked and left to the wolves (with a little more money).

An amazing statistic is that 89% of people accepting counter offers are gone in 6 months. 89 PERCENT! I remain hopeful.

What does this have to do with marketing? Everything! People want to leave because they are beyond unhappy. Clients do the same thing!

If the relationship is not transformed, money and platitudes will not change a thing. A huge discount (or a raise in the case of my teammate) changes nothing about why someone is unhappy.

If you believe you have an unhappy client about to move to a new firm your only hope is to change the relationship. Your only hope is to do the hard, gut-wrenching work to change a relationship. If you don't make the effort, you don't get to keep the business. Period.