I started my career in Telecom almost 25 years ago doing Proposals for then Telecom Giant Nortel Networks. I remember someone I consider one of my mentors telling me: “Leticia, doing proposals is like taking a medicine that doesn’t taste good, you hate it, but it will eventually make you feel good”. Back in the late ’90’s the proposals that Nortel was bidding on, were ‘Greenfield” (new) Wireless Networks, hence I was working on $200 Million proposals. Talk about stressful days! I did that for several years, the medicine tasted bad, but the knowledge I gained was unparalleled.
I then went on to do pure sales for over a decade. Social being that I am, I did well in it, but there are many things about the sales process that I don’t like.
My natural professional evolution has brought me to be more involved with the strategic vision of the business. I’m 10,000 feet above the nitty-gritty of daily operations, and I don’t hide it, I like it up here but I don’t allow myself to forget that the growth of the business is greatly linked to two of my previous roles, pricing, and sales.
Not long ago, I was told that we had ‘lost” a deal. It seemed strange to me because it was for one of our oldest customers, one we have a great relationship with. I decided to personally call the customer and this was the outcome:
- While the account manager was referring to it as a lost deal, in reality, it was a matter of the customer not having full budget approval during this fiscal year.
It is not lost, it is simply not happening, yet.
- In my lively conversation with the customer, he shared with me current challenges and future goals, so we were able to make a road map on how to get him where he needs to go.
True sales can’t be done via email, pick up the phone and call your customers (and when is safe again, meet them face to face!)
- While as a company we do have a set of commercial and payment terms that are standard, we have always excelled at looking for creative solutions if possible.
‘We have always done it this way’ is never a good answer.
I then proceeded to work personally on the revised proposal, took the time to go into every single number, and followed the whole thing until we had the Purchase order in hand. I was revitalized! In the beginning, it was like, I’ve been there done that, I don’t enjoy doing this, but then, as I put all my energy into making it happen, I taped into a “cozy” familiar feeling. Create space for all your talents and strengths to be part of your life and great things will happen.
Remembering what we are good at is a great way to reconnect with the true essence of you.
What is one of your strengths that you’ve forgotten about or don’t use as often anymore? Get reacquainted with it, and pay attention to your feelings as you are at it. Have fun!