When Second Place Means Winning

You may lose the opportunity to serve a company who has never before used what you sell. Second place may make you the real winner.

The first time a company uses a product, service, or solution that you provide, they are inevitably disappointed. Not usually at first. During the beginning phases, they are still excited and dreamy-eyed about the potential outcomes that the new product, or service, or solution will do for them.

But then things get tough. The realities of the problems and challenges of using whatever it is you might sell start to set in. Some things aren’t as easy as your dream client hoped they’d be. Things that they didn’t expect to go wrong eventually do go wrong. Sometimes things fail.

Nobody is perfect. There is no product, service, or solution that doesn’t come with routine, run-of-the-mill, everyday problems.

First Up

The first sales organization to serve the companies and individuals trying a solution for the very first time have to deal with the brunt of the company’s disappointment. The first to convert has to deal with managing expectations and managing disappointment.

No matter how many hands you hold as the first to covert a company to something new, your dream client generally feels betrayed and let down. Their expectations were too high, their excitement too great, despite your best efforts to manage both.

Second In Line

It is easier to go second when a company tries something for the first time. The company has already been disappointed. The bubble has been burst, and their expectations have been brought back in line with the reality of using any product, service, or solution. More still, they’re dissatisfied.

Continuing to call on these clients positions you as the person who can clean things up. You can describe how some improvements can be made, but that what you sell will still come with challenges. Their unrealistic expectations were already managed by reality. The improvements you can make sound good compared to what the company already experienced.

Second place is often better than going first. Especially if you have a plan to professionally persist while waiting in the wings for what is often inevitable.

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