I was with a client last week who was worried—worried that the “big pitch” they had out there was going to go sideways. All I could tell them was to stop worrying. We reviewed every step we had taken. We reviewed the prospect’s objectives, how we proposed to deliver on them, how we could do that within budget, and how the ROI they could expect would exceed their present investment of those same dollars in another medium. We had done everything we could. If it was a tactical and logic-based decision using empirical data, the deal would be a slam dunk. But that is not always the way decisions are made. Sometimes they are emotional, personal, or political. You can mange those to some extent, but you cannot control what is in the mind of the decision maker or makers. So yes, it could still go sideways.

But there is no sense in worrying. I explained that, when I was on the street selling, once I had made a pitch, I moved on. I worked on other cultivations, lead generation, proposals, or pitches. I stayed active working on other opportunities. If this “big one” went sideways, I would need a back up. If it happened and I closed the others as well, that would be glorious! But I needed to keep my mind off the “big deal” (or any deal that is in the hands of the decision maker—big or small) and focus on things I could control.  I was always available if the prospect had questions or needed to negotiate further, but I kept my mind off worrying by working on other projects.

Then as I sat with this client, I remembered something an old boss once said to me when I was fretting over a deal (before I learned to focus on other projects). He said, “Worrying is like sitting in a rockling chair. It gives you something to do, but gets you nowhere!” I shared the thought. They smiled and moved on to another project.

If you need to get out of that rocking chair, be productive, learn lots, and network with other industry professionals specifically in the municipal sector, you might want to attend the WSC® – Municipal Sponsorship Summit being hosted later this month on February 27-28 in Richmond Hill, Ontario.

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