Small Sparks Fuel Huge Opportunities
This was huge. I had just landed a national pitch from a cold call.
I was traveling for work for the very first time, meeting some big wig from our Washington DC. We were meeting in an office in Baltimore because I, Kim Ford, had lined up my first national pitch. I was in my early 20’s, sporting a brand new suit and pumps from the basement of Burlington Coat Factory, and I felt good.
My colleague and I met for the first time in the lobby and talked before we went in to meet the prospect, John. As a Tenant Representative in Commercial Real Estate, we began our pitch talking about our company, our history, and who some of our prestigious clients were. Prospect John smiled and nodded his head. He was engaged, and he even seemed impressed.
We asked him a few questions, and he answered. I even chimed in with one. Prospect John didn’t throw his keyboard at me or ask if I was old enough to drink, so I was pretty sure my question was okay. My eyes went back and forth between the two of them. I was enamored by how my colleague leveraged his vast business experience and knowledge of the industry to elevate our already amazing company into something quite heavenly. I was in awe of his dexterity and confidence. I just wanted to borrow a little or, at the very least, take notes. Then, I noticed Prospect John’s elbows glide across his desk until his fingers hit the keyboard. He began looking at his monitor and typing.
In shock, I looked back at my colleague, who remained well-poised and continued presenting. Prospect John was ignoring our pitch. It was a total disaster. I wanted to kick my stupid, ugly, horribly uncomfortable new pumps across the room.
As we wrapped up our pitch, Prospect John thanked us for our time and held the door open for us to leave. As we passed over the threshold back into the lobby, I glanced over my shoulder to see John head back toward his chair. I turned and took a few steps toward him, tapping him on the shoulder. He seemed startled, but, in his eyes, I could see that I had his attention (and his computer was on the other side of the room).
I said, “John, you’re busy. Your business is growing, and you need to get locations opened all over your region. Just give us one shot, one location, and we will show you first-hand the value we bring. I’m confident in our team and our ability.”
I’m not sure where I pulled that from, probably the desperation bucket, but it just poured out. It must have hit Prospect John pretty good because he immediately replied, “Okay, come in, and let’s look at the map.”
When people ask what I do, I answer “whatever it takes”.
Holy shit! I was ready to do the MC Hammer dance in his office. I think my colleague was as well. I’m not sure Prospect John would have joined us, so I kept it together (and danced in the bathroom by myself a little later).
Speed to Market
We walked out of that meeting with a project, an opportunity, and I was determined to show Client John that he made the right decision.
Our solo project was quite challenging, and nothing like the office deals I had done in the past. Client John needed a new site under contract immediately. We called on experts around the country, and I quickly learned about things like switch facilities, tracing fiber, floor load capacity for battery back up systems, dual feeds, racking systems, and dry fire suppression systems. I spent day and night becoming as knowledgable as possible about Client John’s business and how it could impact site selection in Commercial Real Estate.
“The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones,” — Confucius
We found three suitable locations that met the companies rigorous building standards in Client John’s desired location, and he was pleased.
“We all need small sparks, small accomplishments in our lives to fuel the big ones… because its the small sparks, which start small fires, that eventually build enough heat to burn the whole f*cking forest down,” — David Goggins
It’s Beginning to Burn
As we worked towards finalizing John’s new ten-year lease, I read an article about his company’s continued expansion, as well as three other regional leaders who had recently been promoted to John’s level. I called each one of them. I introduced myself and told them about the solution we’d provided for John, how quickly we met Johns’ goals, and how we understood the company’s specific needs. I described how we could save them time, and how we’d love to help them as well. Each one of them gave us their projects. I quickly became an expert, traveling all over the country, providing the exact solution this company needed.
We won that project because we showed up as a team, with a lot of experience, provided a solid presentation, and asked for just one tiny opportunity.
You will never experience growth if you‘re afraid of taking chances.