In these times of upheaval, it’s sometimes easy to grab whatever business you can get without considering if you really want it. I caution you to pause, assess these business opportunities, and then react. Here’s an example of how I put that advice to work for my own business.
Getting the Business Is Not the Final Step
Recently, I had the opportunity to meet an incredible CEO who was affable, lightening smart, and insightful.
During our dinner, he spoke about the importance of business development for his executives. He was frustrated that some of them were not succeeding in this area. It had been this way for far too long and no, he was not happy about it.
He went on to fully explain the financial frustration he and his firm were experiencing. He remarked that some of these talented individuals might not be employed for much longer if they didn’t begin producing results.
It was here that I let the conversation go a long time so that I could fully capture his observations AND his increasing emotional upset.
By the time he completed his remarks, he resignedly asked, “Will you take it on?”
Certainly, my first inclination was to say, “I’m in!”
But a disciplined little voice in my head said, “Not so fast!” In this case, getting the business was the first step…not the last.
Assess If You Want the Business
At this point, I knew nothing about his associates except that they were underperforming. Additionally, while I had already developed a respect for this CEO, I had no knowledge of his managerial style nor what his directs thought of it. And honestly, he didn’t know that much about me either yet he was ready to hire me on the spot to affect a major change in his organization. Call it a red flag, warning lights, whatever you’d like…I put on the brakes.
I responded by carefully outlining my coaching critical path. I explained that I would first meet each executive so I could assess if they truly had a desire and the commitment to undertake the coaching program/rigor I would tailor for them. In short, were they ready to do the work to change?
My close to him was this: “I won’t waste your money on someone I feel is not ready and willing to take this coaching journey. Once I determine they are, I’m all in!”
I knew this was a gamble on my part. I risked this potential new client bristling at my approach. And that I didn’t immediately say, “Yes!”
And guess what? It worked! He bought into my methodology, which is always key to starting a successful engagement. Through more discussion, he could see my approach would start with a strong foundation and it would result in a stronger team with reliable business development skills. This was a relief as he admitted that he had worked with other consultants who allowed their programs to go on without any end in sight and at great cost to his company.
If You Are Aligned…Then Say Yes!
Your takeaway from this example is: make sure you’re aligned with your client first before you say “Yes!” Get to a place where you are both agreed regarding each deliverable you’ll produce and what issue it solves, even if you use a little cognitive dissonance to get there!