After several meetings in which we had dug deep in to my prospect’s challenges and had¬†met with key influencers and decision-makers, I put together a recommended solution.¬† Two days after forwarding it to my key point of contact, we were sitting together reviewing it.
I had at least¬†six hours of desk time invested in this recommendation, in addition to the previous steps.¬† Hopefully this would be¬†the key component before¬†a final¬†proposal and sign-off.¬† After discussing it in detail, out came the prospect’s pen, and she started marking it up.¬† Substantially.¬† Of course there was more than a bitter twinge of, “Look what you’re doing to my beautiful
work of art!”¬† But…
… there came that whisper inside my head.¬† “Discipline, man!¬† Swallow your pride!”
The salesperson in me trumped l’artist.¬† Indeed, this was an excellent step.¬† The prospect was taking ownership of this solution.¬† What did I care if I had¬†put six… or ten… hours in to it?¬† What did I care if she was going to overhaul it in a spontaneous 15 minutes?¬† What did I care if this neatly formatted document was beginning to look like the floor of a wood sculptor’s atelier?¬† The solution was still being crafted.¬† This was a crucial step in her buying my, er…¬†our… solution.¬† I didn’t own it.¬† We did.¬† And once I agreed to work in her… er… our…¬†changes and get her a fresh draft, she was now going to get the deal done with her internal powers that be.
Lesson learned, reinforced or whatever:¬† Let the prospect take ownership of your proposals, and watch a sale happen.¬† It also makes swallowing your pride taste so much sweeter.
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