This would bother me enough if it was merely a matter of being out-bid, out-negotiated, out-sold. It isn't. In every case it has been because my competition has been in contact with the prospect well before I ever showed up - before I ever made the prospecting call.
This would bother me enough if it was merely a matter of me discovering the client for the first time, and in prospecting discovering I've just missed a booking pattern. It isn't. These were all people whom I knew, or knew of, and I just hadn't gotten around to asking for their business yet.
The lesson in all this for me? Show up! Play full out!
Don't assume that because someone knows you that they know what you do. Don't assume because you serve in a volunteer capacity beside a potential customer that you will be top of mind when they're in a buying mood. The truth is, you'll be top of mind when they're looking for a volunteer. Don't assume because someone thinks you're a swell guy that it would occur to them to do business with you.
I have a friend who designs widgets for a living; damned good widgets. He diligently serves on many committees in a professional association. He is frustrated and confided he is thinking of quitting the association because of the number of people who know him and volunteer beside him who've asked him to check out the widgets they've just paid a stranger to design. The reason they haven't asked him? He never asked them; he just assumed they'd call simply because of his ubiquitous presence everywhere and all the time.
If the relationship is one of customer / client, even if only by nature of our respective positions, but even with our friends, family, neighbours, associates and all future clients, we owe it to them (if only to stop them from making a terrible purchasing decision) to:
- tell 'em what we do,
- find out if it's a good fit for what they need,
- present our product and
- ask for the sale. We owe it to ourselves and to our potential clients to ask again and again until we are categorically rejected.