Too Much Eagerness. Bad for Customers. Bad for You.

Last week, I had a coaching session with one of my clients who is a pretty talented business development person. I say ‘talented’ because she has all of the raw materials: enthusiasm, energy, work ethic, and decent communication skills.

Then, last week she relayed a deal that her company is working on. As she described the situation, a couple of things caught my attention. She proceeded to tell me how important this deal was to her company and how excited she was and how desperate some of her teammates are about landing this deal. (I suspect the desperation came directly from the sales force, but that’s a different matter).

After she reviewed the situation I asked her if she noticed anything about how she described the deal. She said she didn’t. But I did.

What I noticed was the underlying theme of neediness and awestruck-ness about this deal. It’s that “this-one-would-be-a-huge-feather-in-our-cap-if-we got-it” attitude. But that kind of thinking, to me, assures she won’t get it.

It’s Bad for Your Internal Team

Since one of the strategies with this prospect was a presentation meeting where she was to bring her engineers to discuss the deal with the customer, it becomes even more vital that their (engineer) minds are right when in contact with customer.

Anytime you give those people ample reason to be scared they’ll take it. Feeling pressure and stress is no way to go through a presentation like this. And the more magnitude and burden you put on the situation, the less likely you will be to care/focus on what the customer wants.

This is part of that overall misguided myth that the more excited we are about getting a deal, the more excited the prospect is about giving it to us. I know we were all taught that-and really want to believe it. But in my experience, it’s the cause of more lost deals than won deals.

It’s Bad for Your Customer

More importantly, anything that takes your eye off of the customer’s problems and goals creates a block for you – and they’ll feel it. Feeling that pressure to perform is one of the most common mistakes made in business development /sales. In coping with that pressure, you take the attention off of them and put it right on yourself.

Bad strategy.

You didn’t think about that did you? Of course not, because you were thinking about how big this deal could be and how proud you would be to go back and say that you landed it!

The Remedy

The next time you feel yourself getting overly enthused or excited (or even scared) about a deal, you must drop back and take some deep breaths. Recognize that the pressure you feel about landing a job will pass right through you onto the prospect. And they really don’t want to deal with your pressure. So they’ll get rid of you (and never, ever tell you that was why.)

Manage your emotions.

  • http://twitter.com/digitalyoung Young Digital Group

    Timely reminder, thanks. I do have that occasional deal that I get too excited about and it doesn’t turn out well – It feels like I jump the starting line and get disqualified.

  • Zamon Kingi

    Bill, a great comment and one that Oren Klaff in ‘Pitch Anything’ puts under the blow torch. Clients smell neediness and this in turn transforms you into a supplicant. You will “do anything for this piece of business” and guess what? That’s exactly what the possible client will have you do. First off, you’ll be off to fetch the red rock before you close the deal and having laboured to drag the red rock to the table, they’ll then turn around and say, “hmmm we think we need a green rock for this deal to happen” and off you go again. Who has control here? Needless to say it won’t happen and I think we have all been there. I learned a lot from that book and I’m learning lots from your awesome podcast. I listen to it on my commute to and from my office on my 1940′s era cruiser bike. Good tip on taking the deep breaths. I like to remain ambivalent about a giant deal. Stay unfazed. Even though it’s the biggest deal of your career and you have too much month at the end of the money, pretend like these deals cross your table every day. You are in demand and it’s your decision to work with them because of the value you bring. Try this next time. A little ambivalence goes a long way. Keep up the good work over there and as the erstwhile Mr. Klaff says; “Always be leaving!”

  • Amy McIntyre

    Great article. Thank you for reminding us customer’s can sense when we are too eager or too needy. It’s good to step out of the box and put ourselves in place of the customer. No one likes to be “pushed” into something.

  • http://twitter.com/BeSTforum Blake Ensign

    This is an awesome article. I had this happen recently with a colleague in relation t a referral. She was putting so much pressure on gaining the deal that she was inappropriately micromanaging grown men (or trying too). Her need for information was so constant that we could barely complete the just getting to know one another conversations. Content got confused in the clients mind. In the end, her greed for and short-sightedness in the natural realities of the sales process with the mutual client destroyed her professional business relationship with me.

  • Connie Cermak

    Great article! Not only can your customers and your colleagues feel your eagerness, but so can your collaborators, who many no longer want to collaborate with you.

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