Ask the Boss — Losing a Major Account

QUESTION: "I met with a client and blew a major account. What can I do to resurrect my job?" — Karen (Cincinnati, OH)

"Don't jump to such extreme conclusions; a major account is rarely blown in one meeting. Analyze and strategize. What do you think went wrong, and how can you fix it? Don't be afraid to ask for help. If it's a major client, the company will want to employ every resource necessary to keep the business." Christie Hefner, Chairman & CEO, Playboy Enterprises

"There is no worse feeling than losing a big account. The key to moving forward is to make sure your boss understands why the account was lost and what you did to try to keep it. Hopefully, you kept her in the loop throughout the sales and support process and jointly made key decisions. Then of course, the next step is to stop feeling sorry for yourself and go out and find an account to replace the one that was lost!" Mark Cuban, Owner, Dallas Mavericks

"I look at the situation two ways. First of all, were you prepared? I am a firm believer in doing your due diligence. I think it is imperative to come to the table prepared. If you were, and it just didn’t work out, I can live with that. If, however, you took a short cut, well, that’s a different matter. Secondly, I like to discuss the situation one-on-one with my employees after the fact. I’ll ask what they saw and why they went a particular direction. The truth is, I learn from my people just as much as they learn from me. Mistakes are part of life. I’ve three-putted in business just as I’ve three-putted on the golf course. Bottom line: you have to learn from your mistakes and move on." Greg Norman, Chairman and CEO of Great White Shark Enterprises

"Being honest and upfront is key. Thinking that your boss won’t find out about it is silly. Who better to hear it from than you? Immediately speak to your boss and tell them that you’ve made an error but be prepared to outline steps of how you will correct the situation. Don’t place blame on anyone except yourself. People generally will not be any tougher on you than you are on yourself. Also, be prepared to apologize or make amends with the client, but not without your bosses input and agreement." Alexadra Lebenthal, President of Lebenthal (an AXA Financial Business)