A few weeks ago, I had the chance to design a video system for church about an hour and a half away. Before our meeting, I knew that there would be at least one other proposal from a local vendor, but they were referred by a friend, and asked whether we'd be interested in taking a look at their plans. Going in, I knew that I didn't have much of a chance to make the sale.

We met for about an hour, I took some measurements, ran through the standard questions on how they'd use the system, and wrote a lot of notes. The church was on a tight decision timeline, and asked that I quote exactly the same equipment that the two other vendors quoted so that they could compare apples to apples.

From their perspective, that makes the decision easier, but the customer told me not to low-ball him because he "always threw those bids out." Let's see -- out-of-town vendor and can't be the lowest price -- what's a guy to do?!

When they look back on the project in a couple years, I wanted the church members to be happy with their choice, so I went out on a limb and offered an upgrade to wide-format projectors and screens, along with HD cameras and switching equipment, right at the top of their price range. None of that was on the list from the other vendors.

A week or so went by, and I made the followup call. With resignation in his voice, the person on the other end of the phone told me that the church board had decided to go with the local vendor, despite his recommendation of our system.

He thanked me for thinking outside the box, and said that our proposal offered a more "future-proof" solution, and met their price point. What was the sticking point? After two hours of discussion with the board, he had thrown up his hands.

In the end, despite a recommendation for us from the man charged with interviewing vendors, it seems like the church board chose to let potential problems be at least part of their choice of vendor.

Aren't we all sometimes the same way? I've done it.  We make decisions or take on stress about things that will likely never be a critical issue and often miss something better while we're worrying about what might happen if...

I want each of our clients and potential clients to get what's best for them -- whether from us or from another vendor.  Like my contact at that church, I hope to see life as full of possibilities, as opposed to potential problems. It's a lot more rewarding that way!


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