From their page on aeroelasticity the wiki definition for “flutter” – so toss that coin – is “a dynamic instability of an elastic structure in a fluid flow, caused by positive feedback between the body’s deflection and the force exerted by the fluid flow”.
I came across this from a way easier to understand the concept. Where an aeroplane wing starts vibrating out of control and snaps into several pieces.
I saw pictures of it, both simulated and real, in a documentary on Boeing’s late-60s ridiculously swift 30-month development of their 747 jumbo jet.
Reminiscent of grainy footage where a suspension bridge sways to smithereens in wild oscillations during a storm.
The problem arose with this new plane being way bigger (2½ times) than any gone before. Which when combined with going so fast (just 8mph shy of the speed of sound) meant disaster struck.
With time almost up, wing designers finally licked the issue by placing certain weights at the wing tip.
So flutter was prevented.
Flying too fast so your wings shatter? Sounds like many a deal crash.
Perhaps then a flutter test is worthwhile across your forecast.
Your own Sales Pulse, or Sales Sweep, if you like.
When your haste to make that deal is unmatched by your prospect, there’s rarely a soft landing.
It can happen the other way around. But let’s not kid ourselves. Waiting for buyer’s urgency outpacing yours is like looking forward to the next supersonic passenger flight. Maybe in a generation’s time, and certainly not in this current sales period.
Here’s a flight-pack of sample questions to assess whether you’re headed for the dreaded flutter. Give yourself time to pull up before any fatal selling incident;
Are the resources you’re throwing at this reflected prospectside?
How mobilised are their post-sale acceptance/delivery team?
Which way do they tilt; talking value or cost?
When meetings take place are they on-time or pushed back?
What true access have you to senior execs?
Do they really think the sky will fall in if they don’t buy?
How deep have they moved into the details?