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Why Coming Second Will Help Ensure You Win- Every Time

I have always believed to succeed in business, ‘being first’ would be a bloody good place to start. But I was wrong. The fact is, coming second, or even third, is critical to succeeding in business and often, in life. Here’s why.

Malcolm Gladwell spoke about it at the Cannes Creativity Festival in June 2011: how innovators often are not the ones who end up commercializing their innovations. Rather, someone else sees it, tweaks it, refines it, popularizes it, and makes a fortune out of it. Think “Steve Jobs , the mouse, icons and stealing Xerox’s great ideas…” Jobs stole the ideas and made them great. He made a fortune out of this.

I liked the concept, but did not really understand the point, until I read this great quote from an Australian rugby union legend, John Eales, who said:

Top 5 ways to get that all important first date

Cold calling a prospective new client is petrifying. It’s like phoning someone you hardly know and asking them out. Yet there are better ways to getting a ‘date’ with a prospect than resorting to that awful phone call. Here’s how to do it.

I still have nightmares about phoning girls and asked them out. Why? Because, if they said ‘no’ (which sadly was not infrequent), it was back to therapy for me!

We all fear rejection. And in business, it’s simply not easy to ask someone you don’t know to meet with you, when you both know you are (all bullshit aside) after but one thing- their money!

Yet to drive new revenues and indeed careers, being great at nailing that first critical meeting with prospects is a powerful asset.

Here are five of the best tips I know to get that first all important meeting with a prospect without always having to make that hand trembling phone call.

The most powerful weapon to growing your business

I posted this story when I first launched this blog. Many missed it, so apologies if you didn’t, as here it is again. It’s one of the best ideas I’ve seen. It’s all about one simple yet clever idea that will drive your business. It’s a beauty.

It started when Andrew Parker sent me a dozen mangoes and a bottle of French champagne.

With that gesture I learnt the secret to guaranteeing a steady flow of referrals and new revenue to any consulting services firm.

And it’s referrals- positive word of mouth about you from a credible business person to another business person- that fuels our success.
Andrew called it his MICRophone program. It is a brilliant idea, and it drives growth. This is how it works.

How to make more money from losing than winning

Agencies I have led have made more money from new business pitches we lost than from pitches we won. Sounds illogical, but it’s true. Here’s how to win when you lose.

It begins with a story of love almost lost. I was very keen on a certain young woman. I showered her with huge attention, was captivated by her every murmuring, did everything I could to shine. You know the plot. One day she put her hand on my shoulder: “Chris, I appreciate the attention but you need to know, I have a boyfriend.”

And it was the way I responded to that critical moment of truth that encapsulates the secret to making more money out of losing than winning.

The secret to winning pitches

To win new business pitches, having great ideas that solve client problems is not enough. We also have to beat our competitors.

It’s easy to get absorbed in solving client problems when working on a pitch. The client wants a strategy and ideas which will deliver certain results. That’s our focus and has to be nailed, absolutely.

But to ensure a world class ‘win’ hit rate, developing great strategies and ideas for the client is not enough. Sometimes competitors beat us not because they are better than us, but because they beat us.

To win more often, put just as much energy into developing YOUR AGENCY’S STRATEGY to win… your strategy to beating your competition.

The most powerful weapon to growing your business

It started when Andrew Parker sent me a dozen mangoes and a bottle of French champagne. With that gesture I learnt the secret to guaranteeing a steady flow of referrals and new revenue to any consulting services firm. Andrew called it his MICRophone program. This is how it works.

When I started my own firm, I had 17 years of ‘sweat equity’ behind me of relationships and favours done. I expected a stream of new client referrals in those early days, a ‘thank you and good luck’ gesture from a long list of professional ‘I Owe You’s.’