Beating the first 90%

In business you will beat 90% of your competition if you just show up with a smile on your face. You stand a good chance of winning over the other 10% by showing up prepared.

I am big proponent of the face to face. I have so many personal flaws such as speech, education, writing, spelling that the only chance I had of getting hired was to show up face to face when the other competition wouldn’t. Many of my competitors like to make phone calls and hide behind emails. There is nothing wrong with phone calls and emails but the quicker you meet in person the better your chances are of getting the business.

I remember one deal early on that I have to laugh about when I think about it. I was in the business for about 3 months and I barely knew how spell the word hotel. There was this group in Summerville South Carolina that had 8 Holiday Inn hotels. I had sent the owner a letter introducing myself and low and behold he called me back. In those days there wasn’t the internet, email and cell phones. I asked him if I could come up the next day to meet with him. He said sure, so I cowboy up and drove over to South Carolina the next day to meet him. We really bonded up that day because he was a fellow Christian and we developed a mutual respect. Side note, that would have never happened on the phone and only happened because I drove 6 hours to meet him.

He asked me to put together a presentation on the 8 hotels and come back. This is the part where I laugh when I think about. I literally did not know what to put in the presentation. I put together 8 separate folders with the hotel name typed nicely on the outside and on the inside, typed out the information I could get from the Holiday Inn book on the numbers of rooms, what businesses were nearby, how old it was and any general information I could find. I had also driven to see all 8 hotels so I could talk about them. I had copies of his profit and loss statements but I didn’t know what to do with them or how to understand them. So I go into the meeting with my briefcase and pulled out these nicely typed folders on each of the hotels and just started talking about his hotels as though I knew what I was talking about.

To my surprise, they decided to hire me. Ha. That was the largest portfolio the company I was working for at the time had every listed. The funny thing was I still didn’t know what to do but I figured it out along the way. Those clients remained good friends for many years thereafter and we worked together on multi occasions.

The point is, I knew I would never be able to earn his confidence on the phone so I did the only thing I could do and that was to go see him.

In life I believe many tough and stressful spots can be smoothed over if we are prepared to physically sit down face to face and talk about it. This goes for business and personal situations alike. There is something magic about telling a person that they are important enough to meet with. In my line of work there have been hundreds of meetings I went into where I didn’t know how it would turn out but the importance and magic of getting in front of someone has never lost its advantages.

Even in the bible, the word “go” is listed 1,542 times and the word “stay” is only listed 62 times. KT

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