Yesterday, I sat with a potential client at a beloved university. Young Isaac had already sent our credentials package. We’d made the telephone calls. We’d submittted the RFP response. But we haven’t been invited to start working.
I didn’t get it. This potential client says they like our work and how we think. We have done award-winning, effective work for their sister college. But no work. Not yet. For months.
So, I called and asked for a meeting. Yesterday was the meeting. All I want to ask, I said, is, “Are we missing something here? What don’t we know about asking for your business?”
I learned about the administrative obstacles that hinder the way they award work. During our conversation, I came to understand why there was such a delay.
But, then, the lesson…
“I appreciate your coming over for this visit,” said the potential client. “Now I really understand how much you want to work with us.”
Just by coming over? Apparently, that’s a rare thing!
Similarly, a couple months ago, I scheduled a telephone call with someone who is infamous for being hard to reach. At the appointed hour, I picked up my phone to call him. But I wasn’t in my office. I was in his office lobby! I called his direct dial number and, before the he could suggest rescheduling at a more convenient time (which will never come), I said, “I’m in your lobby in your building right now. I would like to talk to you on the phone in person.”
He came out to the lobby laughing, and we had a great meeting. I kept it short, saying, “This is just a phone call, remember. So I’m going to get off the line.”
All of this reminds me of Mallory Factor, my first boss in New York, who always said, “He (or she) who gets on the plane gets the business.”
Don’t be surprised if the person who wins the business is the person who demonstrates enough interest to actually show up. That can be you!