Winning is a habit. And so is losing.
New business pursuit teams that are stuck in losing streaks are desperate for a way to reverse their fortunes. Unfortunately, the methods they try often don’t work. Here are some frequently futile “solutions”:
Pursue more and more new business – if you pitch often enough eventually you’ll win.
Keep doing what you’re doing – the problem isn’t us, it’s the prospects.
Work longer and harder on solutions – maybe the ideas just aren’t good enough.
Change our capabilities – we can compete more effectively if we can offer a broader range of solutions.
Sometimes these changes lead to a win or two. But many times they don’t. If you’ve been in that situation – you’ve instituted different approaches but you’re not getting different results – then maybe you’re not seeing the real problem.
I’ve been amazed at how many new business pursuit teams suffer from a real lack of self-awareness. They don’t realize that it’s their own behaviors and attitudes – their individual Mindsets – that are holding them back. The change they need isn’t a new strategy or longer hours. They need adjustments to how they interact with the prospect and, subsequently, put the pitch together.
The connection between self-awareness and behavior is explored in this article in HBR. Though it looks at “mindfulness” (which I think is actually something of a fad), there’s some very relevant and valid research described about the connection between self-awareness – as a key element in Emotional Intelligence – and behavior change.
EQ and Winning – Perfect Together
I have no doubt that the most successful pitch teams are also the most emotionally intelligent. That’s because their high EQ allows them to see exactly how they need to interact with each other and with their prospects. They are more honest about what it will take to win. And they’re more willing to make adjustments.
Here are potential symptoms of low self-awareness, of people who don’t realize the impact they are having on others, both internal and external to the pitch team:
Sticking with the same pitch process and storyline no matter who the prospect is or what the need is.
Not showing up to every pitch team meeting.
Digging in their heels without really listening to others.
Sabotaging collaboration, with team members and maybe even with prospects.
Bringing the same content to every pitch (“I’ve got these stories I like to tell – they’ll be great!”).
Giving off bad vibrations that deflate other pitch team members.
Not seeing the need to rehearse.
Reversing a losing streak means making real changes to the pursuit process. And that won’t happen without first being willing to take a long and hard look at the attitudes or Mindset of the pitch team itself. First change those as necessary. The other needed changes will more easily follow.
- Bob Wiesner