Are You Chicken Or Tofu? – 09/08/2016

Why do we have so many choices of different meats, vegetarian or vegan options in places to eat? Some are gluten free, dairy free, some are under 500 calories………why? It’s because food is not a ‘one size fits all’ kind of thing. You can’t serve chicken to a vegetarian, you can’t serve ice cream to a vegan and you can’t serve a sandwich to a celiac. If we can understand and embrace that in life, why do we struggle to understand this in our work life too?

None of us can be meat, vegetarian, vegan & celiac friendly in one go – it’s not possible. OK, enough about food (it’s making me hungry). I’ve used food to symbolise that all of us are very different. We have different life choices, styles and beliefs so whilst we can incorporate and respect that in our personal life, we have to look at it from our work point of view too.

There is nothing worse than that phone call, email or meeting to say “you didn’t get the contract”. Whilst the first thing in the meeting you may do is ask why, in your head you wonder “What did I do wrong?”. Did I price it wrong? Did I pitch it wrong? Is it because I laughed at what I thought was a joke but quickly realised it wasn’t? Did they not like me? Perhaps we should stop the self doubt and turn it into the real options. Sometimes it’s just a case of you are chicken and your client is vegetarian. More often than not it’s not that they didn’t like you, it’s not that your pitch wasn’t suitable, it’s not that you product/service was wrong – it’s just not what they needed right now. It doesn’t mean sometime down the line they won’t be needing that chicken when they have employees who aren’t vegetarian or such but for now, they want tofu and that’s not you.

The most important thing to do is take away any criticism you get, not dwell on it and use it to improve yourself – even the best CEO’s in this world can improve themselves as NO ONE is perfect (no matter how much they say they are!) What you must do is make a good impression. There have been many times I’ve had a sales meeting or training and the client says “no thank you” – so many contact me in 6 or 12 months down the line and say “I’m ready now” or “I remember you” – often they’ll follow you on social media and watch in the background waiting to see if you actually do what you say you do. You peak their interest – feed them titbits and then they want more and buy you!

So next time you don’t get that business – evaluate what you’d do given the chance to re-do it and think “well I’m a chicken and they’re vegetarian”. It’s a simple ‘wrong place, wrong time’ scenario.