I Fired a Prospect Today. Yep.

It may seem completely counter-intuitive. I’m the sales rep.  I’m supposedly the person who never met a deal he didn’t like. The one who will drag our company’s resources through any unqualified pursuit to the bitter end – all the while golfing, wining, dining and fretting away the company’s resources – or so legend has it.

So why did I do it? Why did I let this deal go?

1. It was the right thing to do for the prospect: Our stepping back was the most transparent and powerful message my firm could send the client. We know the right way to do this engagement, and we are not going to compromise your success or our reputation by short-cutting.

2. It was good for my business. Here’s a question: What is the WORST hand in poker? The SECOND best hand. That’s the player who stays in, doubles down, fattens up the pot (drives up their cost of sale)…and then loses.

3. It will free up precious time. Let’s face it, time is more valuable than money at this point in your life. You only have capacity for x number of deals per year. This client will take all the time and information that you offer, but they are not going to buy at your solution/scope/price. What is the opportunity cost to you for not spending that time on other opportunties?

4. It was good for my psyche. Training/re-training yourself that not every deal is a good deal is an important lesson to learn and reinforce. Nothing is more powerful than the will to walk away. It’s good for your sense of self as well as your ability to offer more objective counsel to your customers going forward.

So (never thought I’d say this…) what are you waiting for? Go out and fire a prospect today!

Marketing, Sales

Honesty is the Best Policy

I was just informed by a client that I lost a large project for which I was told I was a finalist.  It’s a long story,  but the bottom line is that I was mislead. 

Lying certainly does not fly when I’m the customer, but I found out today that it also does not work for me when I’m the seller. 

There were many times throughout the buying process when this client could have warned me or signaled me that there was not a chance for me to win.   I know what you’re thinking, maybe he needed me for leverage.  In this case, it turns out no – the alternate solution was not a similar service.  The only thing I did not get was the truth, and I was asking the hard qualifying questions all along .

In the karmic nature of the universe, this type of behavior tends to pay us back ,  so I’m not dwelling on what to do next with this client.  I’m sure it will work itself out.  I just don’t think that the fibbing is worth the energy.  Paraphrasing Mark Twain, “If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember everything you said.”

One good thing will come of this situation, however.  This was a solid reminder to treat those with whom you work with transparency and honesty.  I think that if you do, you will get it back in return.

Social Media

Making Dogfish Into Lemonade – Great Social Media Save by The Red Cross…

Think you can let your social media team tweet away and not monitor the mentions and results? 

Well, this week the American Red Cross, they learned a sobering lesson (pun intended) that you better be listening.  They were, and they recovered…

There was an accidental tweet of a personal nature launched over the American Red Cross Twitter account.  It referred to a staffer partying with friends drinking Dogfish brewery’s Midas Touch beer – and it lit up the Twittersphere.  Here is a link to the full story on the Huffington Post.  Better yet, jump into the Tweet Stream on this topic and get a load of all the traffic this thing drove:!/RedCross

With some quick thinking and some quicker action, The Red Cross has turned this potentially embarrassing gaffe into a fundraiser.

This proves once again that if you can show that you are listening in social media, and that you are a part of the community, the community will reward you with the benefit of the doubt, and maybe even some donations.  You might even say the Red Cross has the Midas Touch!