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Monday 16 May 2022
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Column: I lost a deal to Mike Ditka

So, I was recently passed over by a prospect for a trade show radio gig. And here’s what he said to me when he turned me down:

Mike Ditka“Well, at least you lost out to Mike Ditka. That should make you feel better.”

It didn’t.

I mean, sure, I understood what he meant, but I wanted the gig. I like what this fellow and his organization are about, and I wanted to be a part of it.

I understand the allure of hiring Mike Ditka to come into your event to keynote: He’s a nice draw to attract attendees, he generates some buzz, and he likely will impart an impassioned message to the attendees. And you might get a cool selfie with the Coach.

But I like the buzz I generate better.

In the Coach’s case, HE will be the star. He’ll be the one everyone will be talking about, taking pictures of, and quoting to their social media network of choice.

In my case, my guests would be the stars.

[You see, that’s the best thing going with regards to what I do. We take all the spotlight away from ourselves, and shine that same light on the very people we profess to be most important to us…our prospects and customers!]

And for the record, my guests would include the attendees, the facilitators, the presenters, the sponsors, and maybe even Coach Ditka himself):

1. All these guests would love and appreciate being interviewed on live radio. That alone would generate it’s own buzz. Not to mention a round of selfies and photographs of THEMSELVES…not of some Hall-of-Fame football coach and player.

2. This is content the guests would promote on their own social and digital channels, a piece of marketing utility that would benefit them for a long, long time. Not to mention generate continued and ongoing exposure for my client and his event.

3. This is content my client could have integrated into their ongoing sales and marketing content strategy, and to help promote future events and move their market.

4. The experience is unique, for most people have never been interviewed on LIVE radio before. That’s memorable! Frankly, we’ve all been to events with famous keynotes. Yeah, it’s fun, but does it personally impact the people you truly care about?

5. Plus, the livefeed of my radio extends the event far beyond the ballroom where the event is physically being held. People from far and wide can hear from the attendees, the presenters, the sponsors….all sensing and feeling the vibe of the great event itself. A nice way for my client to serve those who could NOT attend, and extend their exposure too…

Anyways, the event is going to be great, my friend (and prospect) and his team will surely do amazing work, and I am positive Mike Ditka will be an inspiration. But that doesn’t mean I am not frustrated that I lost the deal.

Look, I get it: My client had a limited budget for the event, and he could only afford to do one or the other.

I lost. Coach Ditka won. And I will have to deal with the fact that I failed to convey the true power of what I do, and what I offer, to my prospect (and his team).

The purpose of this article was to come to some closure on the loss, and to inspire me to better refine the message for future opportunities.

You’ll win deals, and you’ll lose deals (lots of them). And for reasons that are seemingly out of your control.

But never forget that you have to make your case so compelling that your prospect will even overlook a Hall-of-Famer to engage you.

Don’t rest until you make that happen.

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Co-founder of the intrepidNOW Media Network, Todd Schnick is a media + business strategist and talk show host + producer. He is a former marketing strategist, national political operative, and lobbyist. Todd has published five books, writes a business + lifestyle column, is a distance runner, and lives in Chicago with his wife Stephanie + family.


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