Heading back to London on the train, read a fascinating architectural critic’s account of the March 2008 opening of Heathrow Terminal 5 in London’s Times newspaper. By his account, it’s set to be fabulous, on-time and on budget.
Deep within the lengthy article were some wonderful comparisons between this huge (£4.4bn – 5,000 workers) construction project and an abject failure at nearby Wembley Stadium. Depending on who you believe, it’s at best two years late, and generously reporting, three-times budget.
What struck me is how we as sales professionals help people buy our wares every single day. Yet the potential purchaser buys with far, far less regularity than that. So why is it that when a sale seems like it’s going off-track, we often miss the chance to ‘educate’ the buyer on best-practice?
A couple of cracking quotes I’ll present here.
[a purchase and implementation/delivery] involves a series of decisions which must be taken in strict order. Failure to do so causes delays, and delays cause other delays. “It’s all down to the organisational qualities and the decisions taken by the client. When clients know what they want, and they get the right team and take the right decisions at the right time, it all goes like clockwork.”
[a quality buying outfit] put one [person managing] the job, and he told the [suppliers/advisers] exactly what was wanted. “Decisions have to be taken on a weekly basis. You start messing around and the whole thing unravels.”
And then there was the Wembley builder being caught out by (among several other things) rising steel costs it couldn’t pass on – so if there’s something that can change, the risk of which can be shared, then flag it up front and make a plan.