Yesterday, President Clinton met with Kim Jong-il to secure the release of two journalists who the North Koreans convicted of entering the country illegally and who were sentenced to 12 years hard labor (which must be as close to Hell as one can imagine). President Clinton received some praise for efforts, and he deserves some praise.
This is a great lesson in outcomes. President Clinton did not fly half way around the world NOT to secure the release of the two journalists. The outcome of the meeting was decided before President Clinton stepped foot on the tarmac. The NPR article linked above references the back channels that the North Koreans favor, and which were surely used to arrange this deal. Were it otherwise, President Clinton wouldn't have left his office. The US State Department won't send a US President to be embarrassed and used for propaganda. Could this have gone South? Sure; but it wasn't likely.
The lesson for those in sales is that the outcome of every meeting should be decided before we ever start the meeting. Do you have agreement with the prospect as to the intended outcome of the sales call? Is the broad general agreement that includes their agenda. Or, do you leave it to chance and hope that some positive result might be obtained if things go your way?
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Filed under: Sales 3.0