Chandler

The Art of Saying No

June 12th, 2012 in Business Development, Leadership comment Comments Off

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You want me to walk away from that deal? Really?

Have you ever had the sinking feeling when closing a deal that something isn’t right?  That the hard fought battle to win the business has left you with no energy to actually deliver?  Maybe the timeline is too short, the budget too small, the client not engaged or the company not a fit for your services.  Despite this, you wanted to/ needed to land the sale so you pushed on.   Many of us are hardwired to go against resistance.  We are also under constant pressure to bring in revenue.  In combination, these inner and outer forces can see us going after business we are better served to walk away from.  My younger clients have the most trouble with this; they haven’t yet had enough projects gone wrong to know that overriding their gut check is a mistake in business development. Tony Schwartz’s post on the art of letting go paints a clear picture of when to walk away.  Tony asks himself four questions:

1.       Do I have a feeling in my gut that this dog just won’t hunt?
2.       How important will this seem to me in six months?
3.       How important will this seem to me in two years?
4.       Is there a more enjoyable and productive way I could be investing my time and energy right now?

I have said no to a number of opportunities lately that didn’t fit with my current focus.  It felt great to be able to keep my energy for the clients I have now. I am fortunate to have enough work right now and enough in the pipeline that saying no was relatively easy.  The question is how easy would it be to say no if I didn’t have enough?  The answer:  not easy and more important than ever.  When the client roster is lean, we all need to stay fresh and focussed on finding the clients to whom we can deliver our best.

Here’s a fifth question for Tony’s list:

5.       How will saying no now, help me say yes to something better?

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