I was betrayed! It was 5 years ago a friend of mine was working for a learning management company. I was still consulting for a global training and coaching company.
I was working on a deal with a large chemicals company and part of the deal was slowing down because they needed a learning management system. I knew my friend worked for a great company so I thought why not find a way to broker a joint proposal and become a hero to this potential customer.
We made the arrangement, put the joint proposal together and like a dream it all looked like it was about to go ahead. It was a week later I got a call from my client saying they've accepted the proposal from the company. I was puzzled as we had already submitted a proposal together.
To my surprise my friend and their company offered another proposal with a different training company with an almost identical proposal for half the cost. The customer took the offer!!
To put it simply I was pissed, hurt, disgusted and confused. How could my friend do this and let this happen? I reacted terribly. I hounded the company, blamed the customer for going back on their word – tried to pull on pre written agreements to get all parties to concede. It wasn’t pretty and I was the worst possible version of myself. Unrecognisable and I was ashamed.
I’ve since taken a lot of learning from that moment, what I did, what I saw and the advice I was given that many people get.
“Focus on the things you can control not what you can’t.”
I examined that advice many times over looking at different circumstances we inevitably face in life, sales, leadership and key account management.
I came to the conclusion that that advice is UNHELPFUL and INCOMPLETE
This advice tells you to ignore the facts and doesn't give you a helpful way to solve problems in those unexpected moments that will happen for everyone. The question is…
What is a helpful way to respond when we crappy and unexpected things happen?
There are a lot of great articles on dealing with the unexpected. They’ll tell you to acknowledge the facts, emotional detachment is needed or have a positive attitude. All helpful stuff for behaviours you can choose.
Here’s what we don’t talk about. When we're faced with the unexpected we're typically dealing with three things. People, Emotion and Control.
People (There are always people involved. The complexity lies in who, sometimes they are people outside of your view, network or they could be people you know and don’t forget yourself)
Emotion (The reactions people have to situations, environment, your own feelings, psychology and behaviour)
Control (Feeling of not having your voice heard, the unseen decisions you weren’t apart of, the hidden work of the unknown, the pressure of others on another person, institutional and legal structures and obligations that impact how you relate to others and potentially the environment around you)
When you're faced with those unexpected situations these three things will always be there.
If you know People, Emotion and Control will always show up it will illuminate more options and enable you to make even better decisions that allow you to respond more proactively and positively.
How do you do this and why does it work?
Instead of panic or going straight to focusing on what you can control. You need to allow yourself to filter through the facts and evaluate the three areas of People, Emotion and Control before you can take effective action. Why? This will allow you to notice what things are really in your way and then how to navigate them.
Let’s go back to my epic fail 5 years ago with my friend. If I had applied this thinking I would’ve realised
People – My friend was under pressure from his boss to cut a deal, the customer was desperate to find an immediate solution that was under budget, my customer’s boss wanted a decision quickly so he could answer to his boss
Emotion – Insecurity, fear and pressure for the customer, greed, reputation management
Control - I didn’t acknowledge the pressure and process my customer was having to deal with, all parties had access to each other’s details
As you can see if I’d evaluated the situation within these categories I could’ve immediately seen opportunities to address what I could while acknowledging what I couldn’t control.
Here’s a helpful place to start.
Ask yourself these 6 filter questions
1. Who is involved and what unseen emotion might be there for me to acknowledge?
2. What positive steps could I take to respond to those people and that emotion?
3. What relationships might be effected and how do I protect that?
4. Who else may need to be involved and what contribution would they make?
5. What things within my control could I now use to my advantage?
6. What action can I now take based on this information?
These questions guide you through simple steps to getting you focused
Have these questions on your wall. Remind yourself. In identifying those things you can’t control lie the clues to how you can discover more of what you can.
If you resonate with what I write Send me a LinkedIn request. If you're a key account manager, sales leader of consultant responsible for and concerned with existing customer retention and growth get connected to my customer growth email series and mailing list HERE. You can start the process of learning a new framework of thinking to growth. www.jermaineedwards.com
Founder of the Key Account Hack System - New Key Account thinking that transforms customer relationships and creates predictable sales growth.