Joe, the sales chief of a big chemical company, came to see me one morning to discuss the large contract for the next six months. He said he knew the situation was competitive and he had come to find out where his company stood. I told him that the deadline was still two days off, and I couldn’t discuss the bids, especially as one last bid from a competitor hadn’t yet come in. Joe then explained that he was in a very vulnerable situation, for he had to close immediately on a large deal for an expensive ingredient that went into the production of the chemical he sold us. He would have a terrible loss if he made the commitment and then found he did not get the order.
Reluctantly, I told him then that his company simply didn’t have a chance to win the order because its bid was distinctly higher than the other two bids we had received. Joe then left. I could not, however, help noticing that he didn’t seem particularly crestfallen.
Two days later, after I had received the last bid, I made a comparative report to my boss, Earl, recommending another supplier, and considered the matter closed.