On Being Good Enough

photo credit: Greg Rakozy

photo credit: Greg Rakozy

The other day I was chatting with a friend who owns a small business. My friend was complaining that she’d pitched a prospective client that she was convinced would give her their business because she knew she was the best choice.  After all she said – and I’d have to agree – she worked harder and knew more about this client’s business than any competitor and she’s had more success in this industry than any of the competition. And yet in the end, and to her great surprise, the prospect chose someone else.

Needless to say my friend was super upset and frustrated by this. She couldn’t understand why the prospective client didn’t select her company. I totally understood her frustration. Though, I have to say this kind of thing happens all the time. I’ve been there myself and you know what I learned, as crazy as it might seem my friend may not have won the business because; she’s the best.

Now, I know what you’re thinking, when presented with options – who wouldn’t pick the best?

The reality. Lots of people. – Maybe even you!

Think about it. When choosing a product or service for yourself, how often are you really looking for the very best? Do you need the best dry cleaner in the business for your laundry? Do you need the best accountant to do your taxes? Or even the very best car wash to clean your car? And, how much time are you willing to devote to researching the “best” options? Probably not that much, particularly if there is what seems to be a “very good” option close at hand.

Does this sound like you? If so, it might make you feel better to know you’re not alone. In fact, most people aren’t looking for the best choice; they’re just trying to avoid making a bad choice. Even market researchers who conduct customer surveys for a living will tell you, when the survey asks, “why do you continue to do business with this company” the most frequent response is, “because I’m comfortable with them.” Not because they’re the best. Not because they’re exceptional. It’s just the comfortable choice. Whether we realize it or not, most people just want “good enough.”

So, with this in mind the next time we’re in a situation like my friend in which we’re pitching a client and we believe we’re the best choice, instead of focusing on our superiority we might give a little thought to the “risks” a prospective client might see in hiring us. Like, maybe we’re more (more money, more horsepower, more sophisticated etc.) than they think they need. Then, without dwelling on the potential negatives we should to address and mitigate each potential issue for the customer.

In the end, we just might find we’ll come out a winner. Because, we were just “good enough.”


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