The cream always rises to the top.
When I was younger, I had no idea what that phrase meant. As a young adult, I kind of understood. As a parent, I am sure I used it once or twice. And just this past week, as a business owner I saw it in action and it really drove home how important it is for me (and everyone) to make sure we are the cream and touching base with our clients on a regular basis.
It was a regular week for me. I had a bunch of busy work in getting documents together for a group that left this past Saturday. The phone rang and it was Bob Sweeney from Innovative Travel Acquisitions in Atlanta.
In the past, I had worked with Bob on one of the sale of one of my retail agencies. Unfortunately for him, a local buyer off of his radar surfaced, and we did the deal without Bob’s help.
We experience this same thing all the time. I found it cheaper elsewhere. My brother’s wife’s sister’s friend’s teacher’s kid is a travel agent and I booked it there. Oh, I didn’t want to bother you, so I just booked it all online for the same price. Now granted, the agreement with Innovative Travel Acquisitions excepted pre-existing offers and offers from people not brought forth from the firm; but it is similar. They expended some work, and yet, came up empty handed.
I am not looking to buy or sell an agency at this point and I explained that to Bob. We chatted a bit more about the industry, how the market was for selling and buying agencies, and some other chitchat. After 15 minutes, we hung up and I went back to my documents and he (likely) went onto the next name in his Rolodex.
But after I hung up the phone, I got to thinking. Do I want to sell? Do I want to expand? Is there a move in my future? It all came back “no,” but, Bob’s business card was fished out of my desk drawer and placed right under my blotter (reserved for horribly inappropriate jokes and important business contacts) for easy retrieval.
Not to speak for Bob, but I don’t think he thought of the conversation as a “no;” but rather a “not yet.” And I am pretty sure he is fine with that. I am pretty sure he is fine with “wasting” 15 minutes with me every three months. And I am pretty definite that when it does come time to sell or buy, Bob’s card will be coming out from under the desk blotter.
Are you one to get discouraged when you don’t see an immediate return on your investment of time and expertise? I know I am at times and I need to understand that “no” really means “not now.” And most importantly, I needed the shot in the arm to make sure I am regularly following up with my traveling and non-traveling clients to make sure that my card is under their blotter right next to their inappropriate jokes. A sincere thanks to Bob for the much needed kick in the butt!