SELF IMPROVEMENT: My best lesson

I suspect that many of us when we have pitched for business, and it

seems to have gone well, feel the deal is done.

This feeling grows as you discuss the bid with your colleagues and agree

that "they couldn't possibly go elsewhere". Better still, others in the

industry have heard that you are favourites to win. It's about now,

though, that reality begins to bite.

I remember my first lesson in over-confidence many years ago. We had a

good product, we were known to be a market leader, and the prospective

client's selected software house resold our products and had already

integrated our solution into their package. As far as I was concerned,

the case was self-evident. How could they possibly consider taking a

competitor's product?

Just to make sure, however, I had stressed all the benefits, handled all

the objections (I thought) and submitted the written proposal


It was just a matter of waiting for the order. It came as a total shock

when they went to a rival.

It is only with hindsight that you suddenly recall the warning


The silence following delivery of your proposal. The lack of any

requests for clarification on pricing or licensing. The absence of any

dialogue or communication with the software house.

Until you get the order, complacency should be kept at bay. Always plan

for the unexpected.

"I'll remember this," I thought to myself at the time, "and I won't be

caught again."

Now, to be fair, the next time it happened was another story

altogether ...