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Mike Dennehy

8 years ago I got a strong sales lead for our commercial real estate software from a company that really needed it. Their existing home-grown legacy system was badly creaking at the seams and represented a serious business risk. This was compounded by the fact that the developer of the system, an employee with 20 years service, was seriously ill with cancer.

At the presentation meeting, after brief introductions and scene-setting, I presented a summary of what I understood were the issues they needed to resolve, so I could then present our solution. I didn't hold back, and finished with a comment about the business risk associated with depending on a seriously ill developer and that we had no time to lose.

I understood the reason for the increasingly sick look on everyone's face when it was pointed out to me that the architect of the system was in fact in the meeting. Not only did he have a different view of the seriousness of the issues they faced, he certainly didn't appreciate having his state of health thrown in his face, and I got that sinking feeling when you know you have zero chance of making a sale.

My lesson - make sure I know exactly who everyone in the room is, and whatever happens avoid commenting on personal issues.

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