I wrote a blog post entitled “Good Enough Is Good Enough” a couple years ago and received more positive feedback on this article than I had any others. As I look back on some experiences from this past week, I wanted to circle right back to it in this column.
My team is currently in the process of courting 2 large-to-us prospects. The deals set before us are exciting, challenging, and intimidating. This, of course, inspires us all the more to put our best foot forward and do all we can to impress. As I wrote answers to some of the questions put forth to us by one of the consultants involved in the selection of a provider, I ran across one asking me to describe our strengths. “We’ve grown to become experts in good enough,” my answer began… and I immediately stopped typing.
Is that really what I want to tell this prospect? That our greatest strength is being good enough and not “excellent” or “above and beyond your wildest expectations?” As I let this thought sink in, I realized that what I was writing is exactly what I wanted to convey. I’ve never seen the need to over-promise and over-deliver just to win a sale. If we can get you what you’re looking for at a budget you can afford and within a timeframe that meets your needs, why shouldn’t we start working together right now?
This is just as applicable for the rest of life as it is in technology sales and business development. If a vegetable garden that is “good enough” puts the canned goods in my family’s pantry that we need for the winter, why do more? If hiring a contractor to do a job in 5 days that I could pay someone else more to do in 3 gets the job done on time, what do I care?
I believe we often set our expectations, and those we believe others set upon us, far too high. Whether it’s because we want others to think we are experts or feel the need to add fluff to a project in order to raise it’s apparent value and related cost, we’re prone to think that more is always better. This only gets worse when we pit ourselves against companies “bigger and better” than our own, because if they can offer these services, I must as well if I’m to impress the prospect.
As I sat across the table from the prospect that read my exploratory responses this morning and listened to him say, “this is just what we needed to hear,” I was refreshingly reminded that not everyone feels the need to be impressed with over-the-top expertise. If we can meet their needs and build a friendship / partnership in the process, who’s to say that a smaller and more flexible organization like mine and yours can’t win against all odds?
Written by Chet Cromer for publication in the Business Leader