The Time We Sweated Buckets on a Potential Client

The Time We Sweated Buckets on a Potential Client

After a few (several) lean years, we got it together enough to hire a bunch of good people. Including a dedicated sales employee. Will Jones. With Will and a sales plan, we felt pretty on top of it. We could take on anything. Or so we thought.

We got a call from a company in Louisville. It seemed like we might be able to help them, but it was a little unclear. We were going to hear them out anyway. Any chance to meet new folks and make another connection.

We got there early, and stopped by a new coffee shop. Music blared from a record player in a side room surrounded by bins of records. The place had a distinct grit. We were certainly the only ones there in sports coats. I got a small coffee. Will got an americano. The barista asked, “You sure you want a large? They are strong.” He was cool. He was just back from Austin. He was an agency guy.

“Of course.”

Once safely ensconced in the potential client’s lobby, we waited in some chairs that could be called Contemporary Office. Will sat on the edge of his seat shaking his right leg compulsively.

We were still a little early, so it seemed like a long wait. Will was getting more agitated. Checking the time on his phone over and over. The client came out and we shook hands. We walked down the hall and into a bright room. The ceiling slanted up to a full wall of glass. It was more of an atrium than a traditional conference room. Will sat down facing the windows.

We passed around the proposals and started to discuss the details. Because of his position, Will was in the spotlight. The room was full of plants. The summer sun was falling in the room. It was humid and quite warm. I was feeling comfortable and a little sluggish. That must be why it took so long to notice. Will was talking. Fast. He just kept going. A trickle of sweat down his temple. He kept going. Sweat beading up on his lip. He kept going. I didn’t know how to interrupt.

The client finally stopped him. “Are you okay? Do you want to take a break?” Will looked around in that wide-eyed way of someone just waking up from a bad dream. “Uh, yes.” He got up and went to the restroom. I made small talk for a few minutes then excused myself.

Will had his back to the door. He was shirtless in front of the hand dryer. He was toweling himself off with paper towels, and trying to get rid of the soaked armpits and back of his dress shirt.

I don’t remember what else happened. We didn’t get the business. But we learned a lesson.

Mind the espresso.

A little is good and a lot is too much.

Send the proposal ahead of time.

You don’t want to surprise them with the number.

And, for god’s sake, slow down.

Cool is confident and confident is cool.