Mark these words well, because you won’t hear them uttered by me often.  I received a cancellation for a presentation I was scheduled to deliver in January… and I’m happy about it.  No, I haven’t been hitting the eggnog; I’m truly happy about it.

The request came in to my office a few weeks ago for a keynote presentation and I was all over it.  It came from a sales team that had some room on their agenda for a quick, motivational talk.  They had the right guy because I’m more than happy to accommodate.  In the world of corporate training and delivery I happen to love keynote deliveries.  You would too, unless you would prefer speaking for eight to sixteen hours instead of one.  But there was a problem.

This is a group I’ve never worked with before, and it’s also a company from an industry that I do a great deal of training in.  In other words, the work may have been easier for me to conduct, but it was not necessarily the best program for their needs.  Yes, I mentioned this to the client, but the client was set on their particular request, and instead of getting a 60 minute slot, they moved it to a 90 minute slot.

The cancellation came in the form of a message left on my voicemail.  “We won’t be needing you after all for our meeting.  We just don’t have the time in our agenda.”  That sound you just heard was the sound of relief from my end.  After speaking to the client on the phone, later this year we’ll put two days aside on the calendar and do this thing right.

How many times are you faced with similar decisions?  Decisions that provide rewards in the short term, but have the potential to poison the well in the long term?  Decisions that you know on a deep level may not be in the best interest of your client, but are in the best interest of you?

That’s okay, you don’t have to answer those questions out loud.  I’ll answer them for you.  I think we are all faced with these types of questions on a regular basis.  It would be impossible not to be tempted by the short term rewards that can be thrust upon us all by eager clients telling us what they want.  Although it might go against every sales instinct in your body to risk that sale by pushing back and letting the client know the difference between what they want to buy, and what they should buy, in the long run, everyone usually wins by pushing back.

As for me, we’ll see in about six months.  I still think it’s worth the risk…

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