You’ve just made the pitch of your life and can’t imagine why the buyers are delaying. Or maybe you stumbled. The meeting wasn’t botched, per se, but it certainly didn’t go according to plan. Now you’re waiting by the phone, hoping against hope that the merits of your product shone through your shaky presentation.
If only to keep yourself from losing your mind, employ the interim between the meeting and the buyer’s decision to good effect.
Charles Balentine, district manager at Academy, has sat through many of these meetings. He has listened to presentations smooth and awkward, confident and faltering. He knows how long the fateful phone call may be in coming. “I will tell that vendor, ‘Go to the next level. Don’t always put all your eggs in one basket.’” Balentine urges a “continuative plan” involving two or more retailers, depending on no one of them to make or break your business’ success. Your first choice, Company A, may put you through six months of agony before delivering devastating news. Company B, to whom you looked to soften the blow of Company A’s refusal, may similarly disappoint your hopes. Company C may wildly exceed them.
According to Balentine, failure, too, has its advantages: “You’re learning from Plan A. Take those experiences and look at Plan B and C.”
Redeem the time. Don’t let the waiting game paralyze you. Perfect your pitch, perfect your product, perfect your business plan, and present them to anyone who will listen. You may be very glad you did.