The truth at any price, even the price of your deal.
Better, Faster, and Cheaper: Don’t tell your dream client that you are going to be better, faster, and cheaper. You may be one of those things. You may even be two of those things. But you aren’t all three of those things, and you are only setting your dream client up to be disappointed. Tell the truth about the necessary investment.
Your Client Doesn’t Need to Change: Don’t pretend that you are going to be able to deliver better results than your competitor without your client having to change. Your competitor isn’t awful, and they know how to create value. They are struggling to produce results, and you are going to have to help your client with their internal obstacles if you want to deliver better results.
Their People Are No Good: Don’t suggest that your people alone are going to make the difference. The folks that work across the street are good people. They are trying to make a difference. If they are complacent from time to time, they aren’t alone in that sin, now are they? People make the difference, but don’t talk down your competitor’s team.
Better Results Will Be Easy: Never allow your dream client to believe that there isn’t going to be problems or challenges along the way. This is setting an expectation that isn’t very likely to be met. Instead, tell them there is a learning curve and that you will improve over time. Tell them you are going to need them to give you air cover as you make mistakes and learn.
Telling the truth may make it more difficult to win, especially when your dream client wants to believe something that isn’t true, but if you want trust, if you want a relationship, and if you want to win the long game, you tell the truth.