Avoid Getting Martha Stewart-ed
Many thanks to all of you who responded to last week’s blog about me needing topic ideas. The first responder, Michelle, asked about how to prevent getting your ideas stolen by customers or prospects. And for those of you not familiar with the reference in the title, I have heard that Ms. Stewart is famous for co-opting other people’s ideas and taking credit for them herself. Let me frame this out for you.
You do your research. You find a prospect that you would really like to do business with. Their issues are a perfect fit for your solutions. You make your pitch, in part by saying that you have some great ideas to share. And it works. You get the appointment.
You have a fantastic meeting, build great rapport, and fill the prospect’s head with some new direct mail innovations, or some fancy new fold you learned about on PIworld.com, or some other earth shattering idea. The prospect thanks you and promises to call you “soon,” but you later discover that s/he took your ideas, shopped them around, and sold you down the river for a lower price…or to an incumbent vendor…or to his/her brother-in-law.
It happens, right? Can you prevent it? Well, that is tough.
On the one hand, we might just have to accept that it happens to all of us, and that we choose how much of the idea to divulge and at what stage in the sale.
Or, you could try to get ahead of it. What if you said in the meeting, “I have some real innovations to share with you. My expectation is that if I consult with you on this project and we see eye to eye on the parameters and you like my ideas, that you will agree to award me the project. How does that sound to you?”