Change Your Approach and Win More Deals

I was going through my notes from various leadership courses I have taken in my life and came across this poem from Portia Nelson that was provided as a thought provoking handout.

It made me think about the stories told to me by economic development professionals who have had to bridge the gap between the public sector and private sector when trying to close deals. They typically express a sense of futility stemming from the process of going through the expected motions when working to achieve consensus.

Since it impacted my way of thinking, I want to share it with you. If you find the message has value, pass the link to this page on to a colleague. You might jut save them the cost of a leadership course.

There’s A Hole In My Sidewalk
– by Portia Nelson

Chapter One
I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in.
I am lost… I am helpless.
It isn’t my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.

Chapter Two
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don’t see it.
I fall in again.
I can’t believe I am in the same place.
But it isn’t my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.

Chapter Three
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in… it’s a habit.
My eyes are open.
I know where I am.
It is my fault… I get out immediately.

Chapter Four
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

Chapter Five
I walk down another street.

Do you ever feel like you keep falling in the same hole when competing for a deal? Do you have a sense in advance for where the process is likely to break down or fall off track?

I think the next time I get frustrated I will reread this poem and remind myself that maybe it is time to walk down a different street in order to achieve my objective. Maybe more deals can get closed if we occasionally considered skipping to Chapter Five.

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2 Comments so far

  1. Eve Georgiou

    November 10, 2009

    Sounds like a very good course!
    Love the poem, but it isn’t always easy to walk away.
    You can offer a value proposition, even added value and still not close a deal.

    Having the right players at the table is obvious but sometimes not achieved somewhere in the course of building the plan.

    When finalizing the selling process remember to have open ended questions to close the deal.
    Here are a few basic examples:

    1. What will it take to get their business today?
    2. Define the benefits in simple terms.
    3. Provide excellent-outstanding service to your client. If you believe in your product/service it will show and stand behind it!
    4. Offer to maximise their budgets and also perhaps an offer of a discount for a limited time. Perhaps only until the end of this week or month?
    5. Last but not least and probably the most important….preparation….know who you are working with…bringing every resource to the table is a must!

    Sometimes you can do this and much more, experience can help in deciding when to walk down another street, but atleast you can feel good about knowing you did everything possible…it just wasn’t meant to be…today!

  2. Steve Little

    November 11, 2009

    This is an interesting and very thought provoking little piece. It reminds me a great deal of the Cleary translation of The Art of War. Two tenets come to mind; first, the notion of avoiding the need for conflict, hence, problem solving in advance.

    The other is the notion of knowing oneself and knowing others. Paraphrasing Cleary’s commentary, “If you do not know yourself and do not know others, you are imperiled in every engagement. If you know yourself but do not know others, or if you know others, but not yourself, then you are imperiled half of the time. If you know others and know yourself, then you can be in command almost all of the time.”

    This little poem is a great reminder about knowing oneself and others, and taking the time to be aware. Thanks Ed!

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