When you promote, sometimes the trick is coming up with a trick! Something innovative and clever enough that gets you the attention you need.
Some years ago I started up a small marketing firm, and I ran into a few financial problems where I needed to raise funds (when you’re a new young business, this can happen – a lot). I knew about an “angel investor” a weathy entrepreneur who “invested” and/or lent money to young businesses. He’d give them a helping hand … if he liked their business idea.
The problem, getting in to see this large business owner was next to impossible. He had a personal assistant, a private secretary and several receptionists that handled most of his correspondence. And a very busy schedule with national and international interests!
He didn’t attend many of the local city (Portland, Oregon) business type affairs and functions. I was really struggling with how to get by his various assistants who I knew would show me the door. So how was I going to get an appointment with this individual?
And then I came up with an idea. My budget was almost non-existent, yet I spent a substantial amount of money on a beautiful bouquet of flowers. One that looked professional but personal, and I wrote a short message, sealed it inside a small envelope and had the flowers with the “envelope” delivered to the investor, himself!
I was betting on the fact that none of his aides would feel comfortable opening the envelope addressed to him. And they weren’t. He was the first person to read my note.
The next morning I received a call from the personal assistant. His opening words to me were “You’re are very clever Penny, Mr — said to tell you he will give you just 15 minutes of his time on Monday, at 8 a.m. sharp.”
Yes I was excited but very nervous. I organized all the documentation I felt I needed to show him, I reviewed, again and again what I had to say and in what order to get his attention. I only had 15 minutes to accomplish my goals. The morning came, I showed up. I was led into a gorgeous office suite overlooking the water, from Swan island where his offices were located.
I shook his hand, looked directly into his eyes, told him why I needed the money, what I planned to do with it, handed him the paperwork to back it up (which he glanced at and set aside) and then he proceeded to ask me a lot of business type questions, by then the 15 minutes were up and his aid opened the door and said “Sir your long distance call is waiting.”
I knew that was the signal my 15 minutes were up, but then my potential investor looked at his aide and said “I’m not through here yet, I’ll call them back.” I stayed 45 minutes, had to return in a week with more paperwork but he did agree to help!
Previous to my meeting, I’d been told by another business owner, that almost anyone who approached this individual when asking for money, never made it past 10 minutes, before the long distance phone call happened! So I was very pleased and honestly proud of my accomplishment – because through the whole process I was “scared to death” and not sure I could do it!
His final words on our first meeting were. “Oh and Penny, the flowers are beautiful, thank you.”
And the message? Would you like to know what I wrote? It said:
“Dear Sir, I am a young entrepreneur and if you meet with me I can prove to you that I have a business idea you would want to invest in! Enjoy the flowers, either way! Thank you, Penny”
This is a memory I will always remember fondly, because in spite of my fear and doubts I proved to myself that “Yes I can and guess what … If I can, then so can you!”