3The Irrational Buyer

Life is simple, but we insist on making it complicated.

—Confucius

Everyone in my industry knew about the opportunity. It was a rare gem that caused my competitors to throw everything at it. One of my competitors flew the stakeholders around in a luxurious corporate jet to visit its manufacturing plants, wining and dining them along the way. Another competitor feted the stakeholder group at premier sporting events.

I agonized that we were going to lose the deal because we weren't keeping up with the Joneses. My company didn't have the resources to entertain a large stakeholder group like our competitors could, nor was it in our culture to do so.

Adding to my anxiety were our no-frills production facilities that were dated compared to the competition, with their modern, state-of-the-art plants.

Honestly, it was like David going up against Goliath. But it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and I had bet the farm and my reputation on closing it.

Nail-Biting Suspense

After almost two years of work, we delivered our final presentation and proposal. On the eve of the decision I couldn't sleep. Perhaps that I was close to an all-out anxiety attack and mental breakdown is a better description.

But the next day no word came. Then another day went by and another. I called, but no one answered; I left messages that were not returned, and tried to pry information out of the gatekeepers. Nothing. Crickets.

I put on a brave, relaxed face, but I was in a state of ...

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