Have you ever worked hard to win a contract but been pipped at the post? This is for you…
I’ve been working on a long and complex sale with a national organisation that has gone through extreme turmoil and numerous staff changes. Many times I’ve felt like packing it in as the odds seemed stacked against me. Yet, at long last, it appeared that my endeavours would bear fruit.
Complex sales bring the biggest rewards
There were many, many conversations and exchanges between us over 12 months, and we had inched towards an understanding, and indeed a programme of work. I had shared my approach to social marketing in some detail. The prospect had gone from zero knowledge of inbound marketing to an educated position. I had been willing to share a great deal because the project was both interesting and promised great success all round.
After what seemed an eternity, I was told that the project was ‘a goer’, and I would be delivering the work. I was so delighted I ran up and down the stairs several times (and there are five levels of stairs at my workplace!).
Dear John, I just don’t love you any more
But… (you guessed it) my contacts became increasingly evasive and it became clear our honeymoon was over. Sure enough, I got a ‘Dear John’ letter. The relationship was dead before it even started! In fact those people who were happy for me to drive their offices and lay out the foundations of a social marketing strategy didn’t even have the guts to call me to explain the situation. They took the coward’s route and emailed with a vague and inadequate message that clarified nothing.
Now, anyone who has ever lost out on significant work in this way will recall the gnawing feelings of anger and regret that follow. Could I have done anything differently, better? Maybe.
None of us have the automatic right to win business. But we do have the right to be treated in a professional, honest way; to have our input recognised; and not to have our ideas and unique methods ripped off.
Good luck to the agency that picked up the work! Communication and trust and honesty must to be at the heart of all marketing partnerships. My experience suggests the ‘winner’ will face trouble ahead.
Have you ever been stitched up by clients or prospects? Please vent in the comments below!