Nov 28, 2012
Jim Treliving and Arlene Dickinson have added published author to their lists of career achievements. Harper Collins has published Jim's Decisions: Making the Right Ones, Righting the Wrong Ones (Get it online from Amazon or Indigo) and Arlene's Persuasion: A New Approach to Changing Minds" (Get it online from Amazon or Indigo.
Every week we'll publish an excerpt from one of these books that ties into the lessons from that week's episode. This week we turn to page 221 from Arlene's Persuasion:
"The Trouble with Losing
Sometimes I've walked out of a pitch with a sick feeling in my stomach, knowing we don't have a prayer. Other times I've left on a real high, certain we're going to land the account. In the first case, I don't think I've ever been wrong. In the second, I definitely have been - we've failed to win some accounts where I thought we'd knocked it out of the ballpark. Either way, losing doesn't feel good, though it's hardest to accept when you've mentally placed yourself in the winner's circle. Then you can torture yourself, wondering "what went wrong?" It's especially difficult to answer the question when actually, upon review, you can't imagine things going any better than they did. You're pretty sure you did everything right.
"And maybe you did. But even when things go perfectly you can't always manage to persuade people to give you what you want. They may have been looking for someone older and more experienced. Or someone younger and cheaper. Perhaps your presentation really was but another candidate's was even better. Or maybe the other candidate had an inside edge: he went to college with the interviewer - or had a picture of the CEO in a compromising position. Chances are, you'll never know for sure why you didn't win.
"In my experience, the feedback or explanation you receive won't be very helpful. At Venture, we've heard it all: "your agency is too big." "Your agency is too small." "Your approach is a little too edgy for us." "We're looking for something a little edgier." And so on. Generally, the explanation you're given isn't the real reason. It's a little like dating. No one ever says "Look, I don't want to see you again so I took the time to jot down a detailed and brutally honest list of everything I dislike about you. Consider it my parting gift." What people say when they're just not interested is "It's not you. It's me." Or some other nonsensical platitude that doesn't leave you feeling enlightened and doesn't give you the information you need to avoid making the same mistakes again. Instead, you're left still puzzling over, what exactly, went wrong."
Chemistry, that sense of emotional connection or the possibility of one, is so important when you're pitching. Many times, selecting a winner from the shortlist will come down to a single question: who would I rather work with more? If they didn't choose you... Well, that's life, and beating yourself up over it won't help."Excerpt from: Persuasion by Arlene Dickinson. Published by HarperCollins Publishers Ltd. Copyright © 2011 by 761250 Alberta Ltd. All Rights Reserved.