The following screenplay is written based on many years working with sales teams to understand why a strategic opportunity has been lost.
Even though what you are about to read has occurred countless times, I am required by law to state the following: The characters here are fictional and bear no resemblance to anyone in real life Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
Scene One – The Deal Review
As the scene opens, we see the Salesperson in a brightly lit conference room. He is sitting across from a woman who appears to be his superior. The whiteboards are covered with scribbles and large Post-it notes hang from the walls. It is obvious people have been hard at work preparing for something…
Salesperson: “Of course I’m excited Mary….we are in the last stage of the approval process. While my main contact is not the final decision-maker, he is working directly with the executive in charge of the project and who owns the budget. We have made it past all their gates including a technology review and meeting with the decision subcommittee. Our solution has been selected by the committee as the one they plan to recommend to the decision-maker. After their final meeting next week, we expect immediate approval and are already getting our resources ready for a launch in the next 30 days. We are confident our solution is the right choice for a customer because it most closely aligns with the requirements they have developed internally and offers the fastest payback as demonstrated by the business case we have put together.”
Sales Manager: “Wow Ben…you have really done an excellent job bringing this deal to a close. This is really going to help us make the quarter… Congratulations!”
Scene Two – Disappointing News
As the curtain rises, we find the sales person sitting at his desk. The calendar on the desk shows a week has gone by. He looks distressed and holds a phone to his ear. He is speaking in a resigned and exasperated tone.
Salesperson: Yeah… yesterday was rough. We had the final meeting with my contact Jim and I could tell when I walked in the room something was wrong. Jim looked really depressed. He shared with me that due to budgetary reasons, the project we both worked so hard on was not going to move forward at this time. He explained that the executive team really appreciated all the work we have done but that this critical initiative would simply have to wait until next year… Too many other things on the plate as they say.”
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Scene Three – One Year Ago
As the curtain rises we find two business men conversing in the hall. It is one year ago and they are passing each other in a well lit hallway. One of the men appears to be a very senior executive, while the other looks to be an aspiring up and comer…
Business person #1: “Good morning Mr. Williams, nice to see you today. I’m actually glad I ran into you as I’ve been meaning to send you an email with an idea I believe will interest you. Some of the folks in my department, myself included, have been evaluating how a change in some of our core processes and technology could really benefit our company. I took your Keynote from the all hands meeting last month to heart and think that some of the ideas we are working on really align with the vision and direction you have for the company.”
Business Person #2: “Good morning to you Jim… It’s Jim right? Well that definitely sounds exciting! As you know, we truly value innovation and initiative here at Falcon industries.I look forward to hearing more about these ideas of yours. Why don’t you ask my assistant to set a meeting for us after the board meeting next month?”
The older man walks offstage as the younger man continues on his journey. From the opposite side of the stage, another Business person, this time a woman, approaches.
Business person #3: “Hey Jim, how’s your day going? You look excited.”
Business person #2: “Sally… am my glad to see you! You will never believe what just happened. Remember that processes optimization idea we were talking about last month? Well I happened to bump into Mr. Williams in the hall just now and ran it by him. Guess what? He loved it! He’s given us the green light and wants to see a proposal next month. We need to get the team together immediately and put together a plan to present a solution for immediate approval.”
Business person #3: “Wow Jim… that is great news. I’m glad I put together that short list of vendors a few months ago… I’ll reach out to them today. We need to get proposals from our top three choices immediately so Mr Williams knows we have done our due diligence.”
Fade to black
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