“Desperation is like stealing from the Mafia: you stand a good chance of attracting the wrong attention.”
If you run a business, nearly invariably, there will come a time when your sales dip or don’t reach the numbers that you expect them to, and a gnawing, nagging feeling will start to creep into your thoughts. That feeling is desperation. It gives rise to the questions which will pervade you and obliterate your confidence. “Am I good enough to do this?” “Do people really want my product/service?” “Has the economy fallen off a cliff?” “Will I have to live in a van down by the river?”
When I was an Army officer living in Germany, I and almost all of my friends were single men. On most weekends, especially when we weren’t dating, we’d head down to downtown Frankfurt and go bar hopping with the hope that we’d meet women. Of course, we tried to play off the idea that we were actually looking to meet women, thinking that some Zen-like approach of being interested in anything but the actual thing that we were interested in would help mitigate that whiff of desperation.
We called that whiff “buck scent.” We likened it to the scent that male deer get when it’s mating season which causes them to run around looking for mates and, in turn, causing the potential mates to run away as far as possible. Our theory was that women could smell “buck scent” a mile away, and it was as repulsive to them as the north end of a magnet was to another north end of a magnet.
Years later, fast forwarded to when I was running a business and sales were getting to a precarious point where we would only have a couple of months of run rate in our accounts receivables, I faced a similar situation. I wanted (desperately) to have sales, but knew that if a potential customer sensed that desperation, I was doomed. If the customer knew that I needed a sale, it would bring up the following negative outcomes: