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.