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Beware the Success Mirage


success mirage“Nothing succeeds like success.”

How many times have you heard this in business and, yet is this really true?..

 Success is good. Success is what we strive for. Right? Yes, but there is a risk that comes with success.  Bill Gates, no small success himself, explains the danger: “Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose.” (Lehman,Goldman Sachs, the sub-prime mortgage lenders and British Petroleum are the obvious examples that immediately jump to mind.)

The questions to ask for your business, however, are: how seduced have you become by your success? What accounts might you be taking for granted? What business systems and models have become sacred cows for you that should be revisited and updated or revised?  What language are you using in meetings with prospects and clients that needs to be strengthened to connect, build trust, and close business?

Can you answer in the affirmative for each of the following?

  1. Are you following a sales process that matches how buyers buy today, not how they bought yesterday?
  2. Do you engage in client centered ROI conversations or get lost in old feature/benefit laundry lists?
  3. Do you communicate value in current partnering language or present in past pitchspeak?

Given a shaky economy, intense competition, and increased buyer sophistication, what succeeded for you in the past is unlikely to sustain you in the future. The winners in business for tomorrow will be those who ruthlessly re-examine their assumptions about how they are doing business, what clients want, how they are set up to deliver on those expectations, and, last but not least, how they frame the conversations they have with prospects and clients.

Anne Miller is a demo and presentation pro who helps clients win business in high stakes situations. Author, speaker, coach, and seminar leader, Anne is passionate about helping people be their communication best to get the results they seek. For more information and free resources: Contact Anne at 212 876 1 875 or

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