Trent Brown is a lineman for the New England Patriots. He’s 6’-8” tall and weighs 380 pounds.
That makes Brown 21% taller and 110% heavier than Cohen.
Yet every Sunday, Tarik enthusiastically grabs the ball from Mitchell Trubisky
and heads, full speed into four guys that look just like Brown, not to mention the seven others who are lined up behind, ready to pound him into the earth. And the idiot’s smiling!!
What is he thinking!?
He’s thinking the same thing your firm needs to be thinking when you go head-to-head in a presentation against one of those mega-firms that seem to have unlimited resources to draw on when it comes to impressing a client.
I’m sure you’ve run into them – those teams that show up with a 3D model, fly-through videos and four-part harmony. You’re left standing there with your PowerPoint bullets, wondering what happened. How can a small firm, with limited resources, compete against the big boys who can bring it all?
You’ve heard that rule of the Old West– never bring a knife to a gunfight. So the first step in winning this battle is to avoid the gunfights. Determine for yourself whether or not the client is likely to be dazzled by all the whiz-bang fireworks. If so, walk away. You don’t need that kind of client.
Or, are they open to hearing and seeing genuine enthusiasm, real creativity and dedicated hard work. While the big boys might have the horsepower, there’s often a lot of bureaucratic inertia behind it.
If you watch Tarik, you realize that he never willfully runs head first into a 300-pound defensive lineman. He cuts, dodges, ducks and dives around the big, lumbering opponent, daring to be caught. He relies on quickness, dexterity and speed, rather than sheer volume. You can do the same.
No, you can’t win a head-to-head, impress-me-if-you-can contest. But you can play a totally different game. Look for the weaknesses in your opponent. Can you out-perform them in client service? Response time? How about flexibility and willingness to do things the way the client would prefer?
Where your 6’-8” opponent has lots of muscle, you’ve got an endless supply of stories in which you’ve gone the extra mile for your clients. You’ve got the close personal relationships that have you sharing barbeque with that client as your kids play together in the back yard.
The best game you can bring is one of enthusiasm and authenticity. Let that client know that you’re genuinely excited about working on the project. Let them see who you really are – warts and all. Let them see a level of dedication, passion and commitment that they’ve never seen before. Let it be infectious. Shy and reserved is for losers. Give it all you’ve got, and leave absolutely nothing in the locker room.
When Tarik Cohen crosses the scrimmage line he knows there are 11 enormous guys, all wanting his head. Anybody else would turn tail and run. But Tarik knows he’s got something they don’t. He genuinely believes he’s the best man on the field. He genuinely believes that his speed and agility can beat their size and weight every time. And he genuinely believes that the passion he brings to the field is what wins games.
What do you believe?