Slowing Down the Opportunity

The great Spanish philosopher/essayist Jose-Ortega y Gasset once said, “Life is fired at us at point-blank range with no time to think.”

Too often we allow this tenant to control our client behavior versus SLOWING the process down and injecting humanity into our strategy. I’ll explain:

During a meeting with a client who was presenting a company for potential acquisition to a buyer, I realized it was as important to understand her buyer’s goals and challenges BEFORE presenting the opportunity.

I call this process “slowing down the opportunity.”

Determine Their Motivation First

Her tendency was to first present the merits of her client’s company to “wow” the buyer and then determine their propensity for the acquisition. That is very much a “life fired at us point-blank range” approach. Hurry up…get your message in front of them ASAP! Act…don’t think!

I interceded by insisting she slow down and take time to ask a series of questions to first determine/acknowledge the buyer’s commercial goals and the headwinds they faced to better tailor her comments about this investment.

We developed a series of questions, which I’m sure you could apply in your next presentation (tailored to your audience, of course):

  • What are your business goals for the balance of 2023?
  • What headwinds are you facing?
  • What promises have you made to your management team/Board of Directors?
  • What is your company’s position relative to your competitive set?
  • Ideally, where would you like it to be?
  • What’s your perception of the company and the opportunity I represent?
  • How could this acquisition enhance your organization?

Then Declare a Solution/Recommendation

These questions would affirm the person/team to which she was presenting this opportunity. Once knowing the goals and headwinds of her client, she could then be declarative with the value proposition she developed. In the process, she was also clearly demonstrating a desire for the acquisition that would benefit the buyer as well as her client. The classic “win-win” but this time, she had spent time determining what a “win” for the other side was first!

To sum this up, before you run to present the value of your idea, take a step back and affirm the person to whom you are presenting your opportunity/ideas. Your goodwill and professionalism will shine through, get their attention, and likely lead to positive results!