Control What We Can Control

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This was originally posted on LinkedIn on November 22, 2023.

Another gut-wrenching loss where we were “finalists” for a new client engagement…

Except that these outcomes are no longer so gut-wrenching. In fact, other than a momentary “ah, too bad”, we’re on to the next opportunity.

It wasn’t always like this. I remember the days when an email from a prospect informing that they’ve “gone in a different direction” used to send our leadership team into a tailspin of self-pity and some anger. “Why not us?” “They made a big mistake.” “Can’t believe we lost.”

Luckily, we saw the unproductive nature of our ways and embraced a different approach: “Control what we can control”.

Control what we can control. What does that mean?

It means putting in our best effort ahead of any new business conversation, making sure we’re prepared with the right questions and materials.

It means being prompt and detailed with our follow-ups, providing what the prospect needs to make a decision.

It means confidently presenting case studies and proposals that have been meticulously designed and proofed.

It means having solid references ready to go in case a client wants to talk to someone.

It means bringing different subject matter experts into the process to assure the client we know what we’re doing.

And even after all of these things, it’s very possible we might not win for any number of reasons. But there’s still so much more we can still control.

We can control the way we take the rejection, either feeling sorry for ourselves or using it as an opportunity to get better.

We can choose to ask for feedback and find out where we fell short or could’ve done better.

We can take a hard look at our process, our positioning, and our marketing to see if there are any disconnects and continue making improvements.

We can continue to have conversations and gather feedback from existing clients and new prospects to figure out if we’re off the mark on how we’re framing our services or our pricing.

We can choose to keep expanding our network to increase chances that we have warm connections with new prospects, perhaps advocates who can vouch for us.

There’s so much we can control, so much that’s in our hands that it’s silly to sit around and complain and feel sorry for ourselves. It’s a waste of time.

But yes, it absolutely sucks to lose as a finalist, especially after going through so many hoops to then be told we didn’t make it. Then again, losing is just part of the journey and what ultimately makes winning that much sweeter.

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