In All Due Haste
“The Last Supper” required quite a bit of da Vinci’s time to paint—about three years. The Goldberg Variations demanded a couple of years from Bach. The Pulitzer Prize winner Rick Atkinson took four years between publishing “An Army At Dawn” and his current best-seller, “The Day of Battle.”
Proposals take about 45 minutes to write, if you have the information to include in them. An hour with an economic buyer is probably sufficient to obtain that information. That would mean that if you met with the buyer this morning, you could have the (Fedexed) proposal in his or her hands tomorrow morning.
The longer you wait, the more bad things can happen. I’ve never had a buyer say to me in the interim, between points in the business model, “You know, I’ve been thinking, and we should triple your fee,” or “I’ve found another five projects for you to work on.” Instead, obstacles pelt like hail from the skies: There has been a merger, an acquisition, a divestiture, a surprise in technology, another alternative (to you), a change of personnel, a shift of priorities, an unexpected competitive inroad, a new regulation, turnover, a UFO landing.
When you wait, more bad things happen than good things. Consequently, why wait? Consultants wait for three unacceptable reasons:
1. They have no sense of urgency.
2. They are seeking perfection.
3. They fear rejection.
I have a habit of telling people in my Mentor Program that a magazine or Internet article can be written in 45 minutes. Most argue that it takes at least a week. I have the majority down to two hours. Tell me who’s closer to the truth, my pragmatic assessment or their self-delusions?
Clients will see urgency and responsiveness in your sales process as evidence of what they will receive in your consulting process.
We are after success, not perfection. You will NEVER have all the information you need, so go with what you have. There is nothing so unneeded as a needs analysis.
Rejection is never personal, but if you go into a relationship trying not to be rejected you’ll be like the athletic team trying not to lose (instead of trying to win). You will lose.
Confederate general and raider Nathan Bedford Forrest was said to explain his success with, “I get there firstest with the mostest.” (This is contested, since Forrest was an educated man, and may have really said, “I arrive first with superior power.”) In any case, the faster you move, the more you will tend to pre-empt others and gain the advantage.
Stop procrastinating. MOVE. There is no capital investment in speed. There is only your volition. This IS a race, so you might as well get good at it.
And it does take only 45 minutes to write an article.
© Alan Weiss 2007. All rights reserved.