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Success Newsletters

Vol 9, Num 2 February 2009

In this Edition
1. The Art of Being a Partner and Doing the Right Thing
2. Monthly Inspirational Quote
3. Recommended Reading

The Art of Being a Partner and Doing the Right Thing
In the world of sales and marketing your services, you never know where the opportunities are going to come from. Hence, seeing every interaction, even those where we get turned down, as an opportunity is critical.

As an illustration, last fall I was contacted by a prospective client. I had been strongly recommended to their organization as a potential speaker for an event they were hosting. We chatted on several occasions both over the phone and face to face. All seemed to be progressing, however the prospective client had been clear that they were also looking at different options including an industry speaker, which I wasn’t.

In the end, despite the good rapport with the potential client that I had built up, they did select the industry speaker. What impressed me with my potential client was that he went out of his way to assure me that the decision was not related to me or my skill, simply a business decision taken on what they felt was best for this particular event. I must say I appreciated his comments very much and it made the rejection a little easier to take.
As I always do, whether I get the engagement or not, I sent the client a handwritten note thanking him for his consideration of my professional services and for also being up-front and honest with me. I wished them terrific success at their upcoming event and although it was disappointing not to be selected, I recognized the rationale for their decision and I hoped in the future we could work together on another event. Just because you have been turned down doesn’t mean you haven’t started to build a valuable relationship.

As it turns out in this case, a turn of events resulted in the client calling me back a week or so later as an error in scheduling had resulted in their chosen speaker not being available. I did end up speaking at their event with very positive feedback. My client was very happy, and it was a big success.

Why I am telling you this story? What is the message? I believe there are many:
It is not a forgone conclusion that the client would have contacted me again if I had not taken the initial outcome so graciously and not personally. Based on the rapport we had built initially and then the initial rejection, he could have felt embarrassed to contact me again when the change in events happened, and he could easily have moved on to another speaker. Reaching out, in this case, even though I wasn’t the chosen speaker, further solidified the relationship with my now client.

My philosophy is to always try and be seen do the right thing, to be a person of integrity, to not take rejection personally. This approach can keep doors open instead of closing them.
On a similar note, my wife, who works as a management consultant recently lost an important contract with a client she had been working closely with over the last few years and with whom she felt she had a trusted advisor relationship. While initially this was a blow to her ego, she quickly recognized that it was simply business, and handling this rejection with integrity would leave her in better stead for future work with the client. She reached out to see how she could support the winning consultant and offered her assistance to the client in any way that could support the success of the project.

Before you do anything rash, let your ego go. Take the high road. Count to ten rather than over-reacting or being too sensitive to rejection. You can’t win them all…but you can leave the door open.

This is not the first time I have not won a speaking engagement and I am sure it won’t be the last. Am I unique in sending thank you notes? No, but I bet it is not the norm, especially when you did not get the sale, contract or engagement….and hence it stands out. People do take note, in this age of technology overload and impersonal email’s and being bombarded with messages, the personal touch does count for something. A good old fashioned hand written letter with you writing the mailing address, and here is a novelty, attaching a stamp on it yourself instead of using a bulk mail machine or pre-printed address labels..really personalizes it and makes a difference, and ensures it being opened, or maybe that’s just me being old school!

But you need to be genuine in all your interactions. This is about being a professional, not marketing strategy. The client who rejected you yesterday can be a great relationship for the future if you handle the rejection the right way.

INSPIRATIONAL QUOTE
“Your ability to get people to initially listen to you – and then for you to SHUT UP and to listen to them, will ultimately determine how successful you will be. If you want to earn their business, earn their trust and respect first”
Charles Marcus

RECOMMENDED READING
Natural Born Winners By Robin Sieger
This book teaches you seven timeless principles for success: Have a clear goal, Craft a definite plan, have confidence, have a sense of purpose, do not fear failure, be committed and celebrate. You have probably, in one way or another, heard all this before. I know I have, however do not dismiss them. Robin Siegar is not only a very smart and successful guy himself, but his book is filled with personal stories and anecdotes. He is a great storyteller and simplifies everything in his book. An excellent read.

Date Added: November 30, 2009 | Comments (0) | Filed under: Newsletters



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