Sunday, May 6, 2012

Glen de Vries: "When you think everything is lost, don't give up"

This story is from Glen de Vries, President of Medidata Solutions, as told to Patricia Olsen in the New York Times:

Eight years ago we were giving a sales presentation to a California company. The first day, everything went well. The second day, one of our employees spilled an enormous cup of coffee on the chief information officer. Then our software wouldn’t work. I thought we’d blown it. Our head of sales asked what we could do to salvage that meeting. Ballroom dancing teaches you to be confident, not arrogant, and we took that approach. We decided to act as if things had gone well and we were on the way to winning their business.

We told the group we’d had a bad day, but if they could see us at our best we were sure they’d like us. We sent them everything they needed to create and simulate a clinical trial. After using the system, they were sold. They ended up being our biggest customer. The lesson is that when you think everything is lost, that’s the time to not give up.

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