My first job after college was a really strange opportunity that was a little too much like the “Boiler Room.” Although the job was the wrong fit for me, I received some excellent advice from the president:
“Don’t fall in love with the deal.”
Any of you sales people, marketers or job seekers know the feeling. Let me recap a few examples for you.
Job seeker: you finish an interview and you aced it. The people were great, the pay was great. You were imagining all of the great lunch spots. The fun business trips. And you even picked out the outfit for your first day. Then a week goes by. Then 2. And finally after 3 or 4 weeks you give them a call and they have selected another candidate or the job is unavailable. You finish the call disappointed because you had spent the last few weeks imagining yourself there.
Senior executive: you just finished meeting with a potential strategic partner. You begin to imagine all of the ways you can work together, tap into their customer base and impress your shareholders. The only thing left is to work out the paperwork. In the home stretch they begin to ask for concessions. And they rewrite the legal agreement. Suddenly what used to be a 50/50 partnership is looking more like 30/70 in their favor. You are willing to go by their terms, because this organization is extremely influential and you’d rather work with them even if it isn’t on your terms or in your best interest. The initial euphoria has turned into delusions.
Sales rep: you meet the ultimate propsect. The one who will cover your quota for 2 quarters, and they are ready to buy next week. Your product is ideal for their needs and you only need to work out the price. Unfortunately at the last moment your biggest competitor drops their price significantly to sweep in and seal the deal. And you were already making travel arrangements for your celebratory trip.
The point of this post isn’t to depress, but here are my tips to protect yourself in case you are falling in love.
- Step back and really evaluate the opportunity you are euphoric about
- Look at the potential risks and challenges involved in the deal
- Note the maximum you are willing to give to make it work. And what you will do if it doesn’t work.
I’ve seen too many cases where the deal someone falls in live with is the beginning of the end. In sales and business.