Hearing no is never easy

So you look at the request for proposal and think, "We can help these people." The creative process begins, where you learn about the target market--their lifestyle, hobbies, favorite brand of floss--and then the inspiration hits you, maybe over lunch at a BBQ joint.

Your idea is non-traditional, not mass media and more one-to-one. You know that it will resonate with the audience and cause them to take action. It will get them talking and spreading the message.

But you worry that the client may think it is too “out there.” Where exactly Out There is you’re not quite sure. Is it near Cleveland? So you bolster the plan with some more traditional tactics and bring the whole thing together.

Presentation time arrives and you give it hell, really pouring out the passion, providing all the justification that your idea, while different, will work.

And the committee is interested. They ask you questions that allow you to confront the concerns about taking a trip to Out There and people seem satisfied.

Three days later you hear the news. They went with someone else. Someone with a more traditional plan. They describe the winning plan like they would a Volvo or a baby crib: safe.

It hurts. Not because you lost the business. It hurts because you lost out on a chance to prove the power of divergent thinking.

So you think about the next RFP and ask yourself, “Should we just give them what they are expecting?”

I don’t know about you, but I’d rather buy a small shack up in Out There, than put forth a boring solution I didn’t think was right.

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