There is a moment of truth every entrepreneur and salesperson will face. Those who learn this lesson early are most likely to succeed with greater joy and peace.
It was 2004 and a prospective new client asked me if we could successfully deliver. It would be our organization’s largest project ever with a phase one budget of $1.5M. I wanted to nod, yes, and say we could deliver. But could we?
You may have been in my shoes at one point in your career. There are moments in our careers when everything comes together to test your resolve.
There are three approaches to this situation that I have come up with.
The first is the hyper-competitive-chase-all-deals approach. This is the approach when we say yes to be “successful” in the sale without regard for delivery. It is a lose, lose, lose (you, team/org, client) situation. This choice lacks integrity, however, if we let go of our judgments and look with fresh eyes, another insight will emerge. When people overcommit their organization, they are scared, and scared people narrow their focus on the one who matters most – themselves. People in this state –and we have all been there (scared) – are not trustworthy, as they are missing information that would be helpful for an optimal choice. For example, that sale may be the perceived difference between paying the bills or going hungry… or out of business in the context of an entrepreneur.
I learned that if I am in a scared state, I need to stop, release how I see a situation, and let the scared sensations move through my system. Once I breathe, feel, and then allow my perspective to change, I can see more of what is actually occurring.
Back to the $1.5M sale, I could see that if I closed that “deal” on the spot, it would put tremendous pressure on our delivery folks and put our personal and organizational reputations on the line, risking growth of our business long-term. The right question: “Is this something we actually can succeed at delivering?” Instead of the scared reactionary answer of “yes”, I had a much more thoughtful answer, “Let me confirm with our delivery team. Let’s involve them and create an approach that works for both our teams. My belief is we can hit this out of the park. However, they need to own their parts in our delivery commitments. The only way to do that is involving them upfront. Would that work for you?”
Over time, this insight matured even further as our organization continued winning larger projects. In fact, we began selling a Discovery and Definition phase that gave clients massive benefit and surety upfront. Our success rate, though not perfect, was off the charts higher than our competitors.
You may be wondering what happened when I took that breath, felt the feelings, and allowed for new insights? My past brain, filled with stories of failures and successes, relaxed and stopped producing evidence that brought with it fear. The projection of those fears on the future also fell away. No longer was I scared that I wouldn’t pay the bills. I was present in the moment and did what was in the collective highest and best interests of our prospective client, our company, and teams.
Freedom from Fear, Willingness to see the Truth (changed perspective) and Stress Management were just three of the 10 elements of effectiveness and well-being that led to a successful engagement with that customer. We did that project and kept them as a client for many years and several successful deployments.
If you want to learn more about these three elements and the other seven that make up how you automatically respond or react to situations, check out this free gift.
Our team has been helping people live their best lives and this overview will show where your inner automatic decision system is serving you, where it works against you and a path to do something about it.
Oh by the way, I mentioned three approaches to an opportunity stretching you and your organization beyond its limits.
The first, chase deals at any cost, has obvious drawbacks. The second addresses the situation upfront as the example illustrated. The third is raw honesty and collaboration. This can be the scariest to implement but has potential to enroll an organization in your success and create a deeper partnership. Remember to check out that free gift.