Want to be successful? Swallow your pride.
(And bring cannolis.)

I’d like to share an embarrassing and awesome story about the lengths I went this week to try to win a new client and how my efforts turned out:

Day 1: On Monday, I took an 8am train from NYC to DC to meet a potential client for a new pitch. I was planning to go to DC especially for this and maybe stay one more day to squeeze in other meetings. This is the biggest project we’ve ever competed to win.

So Monday, I show up at the office of this client and wait in the lobby. The client comes down and says:

Client: “Nicole. Hi. Our meeting was at 2:30 not 3:30.”
Me: “Um…WHAT?”
Client: “Yeah. We’re not sure we’re going to be able to work out everyone’s schedules for you to come back and present.”
Me: “I understand. I apologize. I didn’t mean to waste your time. There was clearly a misunderstanding of the schedule.”

I left totally dejected, pissed at myself, and humiliated. How could this happen??!! I went home and booked a 9pm train back to NYC. Opportunity gone. Money wasted. We were up against two other agencies. No way we’re winning now. Ugh!!! Then that train got cancelled so I booked a 10pm which got me into NYC at 1:50AM. I went to bed at 2:30AM exhausted.

Day 2: I got up for work and then at 11AM I get a call.

“Hi Nicole. It’s Joe from yesterday. Can you come in at 5 and present?”
Me: “Um. I’m in New York. I thought yesterday was a deal breaker.”
Client: “Well, we believe in second chances.”

What could I say to that?! I checked Amtrak, booked an Acela to get me in 45 mins before the meeting, literally threw a bunch of clothes in a bag and ran to the train station.

When I got to the train station I bought a dozen cannolis in a to-go box and an “I Love New York” mug and got on the train.

2.5 hrs later I got to DC, changed into “meeting” clothes, and arrived at the client office 15 mins early.

Me: “Hi. I’m Nicole. Let’s do this over again.”

I went into the meeting and surprised the team with fresh New York cannolis and everyone basically screamed in joy. They ate while I gave an hour pitch and then I handed the “I Love New York” mug to the director and left. I went to bed at 8pm that night after barely dragging myself to Chipotle for a sad dinner. I was so tired.

Day 3: I get an email from the client director that simply says “call me.” So I call.
Me: “Hi it’s Nicole. How are you?”
Client: “Well. Those cannolis you brought yesterday gave me horrible food poisoning.”
Me: “Please don’t say that. No!!!”
Client: “Just kidding. They were great. I had one for breakfast this morning. Anyway, we loved your ideas and if you’re still interested we want to work with you.”

It’s officially the biggest single project we’ve ever won. And I WORKED for it. It feels amazing.

Lesson: Swallow your pride to be successful, and never give up.

Thanks for reading ☺

CEO, Worn

Worn is a creative agency specializing in food and retail. We’re run by fearless women (clearly.) See our work at www.worn.nyc

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