The Big Reveal…

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I said I tell you how I escaped the corporate chopping block back when I messed up the trade show dates and almost got fired!

But I ran out of time yesterday!

Sorry about that!

OK, so lets get to it…

How the incompetent hero didn’t get fired…

Well, if you’re sitting comfortably it goes a little like this…

Cast your mind back to my innocent phone call to the venue to check on something insignificant and the “No, Mr Whitfield, your booking isn’t for that date and in-fact we have someone else taking the whole of the venue that day, sorry…” response.

When the sick feeling in my stomach had subsided, I collected my thoughts, regained my composure and innocently replied ‘Oh yes, silly me, got my dates mixed up there – just out of interest who is taking the venue that day?’

Now remember this was the 1990’s, long before GDPR, so let’s just say people weren’t quite so obsessive or protective about other people’s data…

So the nice lady on the phone told me the name of the local engineering firm who had booked the venue for an internal sales presentation.

Now because it was the 1990’s that meant there was no Google or LinkedIn – this piece of information gave me a slight glimmer of hope I but still had my work cut out to rescue this situation.

After a morning of undercover detective work that would make Bergerac proud (I’m keeping the 90’s theme going here…) I managed to find out the name of the MD of the firm and one vital piece of information that might offer me a bargaining chip…

Sneaking away to a private office, I closed the door and made the call…

As luck would have it, I’d discovered through some obscure press cutting their PR agency had faxed me, that he and his family were life long fans of the First Division football team that our sister brewery sponsored.

And despite the best efforts of a most tenacious gatekeeper, he took my call.

I decided that honesty was the best policy (er, sort of…), laid my cards on the table and appealed to his better nature and explained my kids would go hungry if I got fired..

OK, no I didn’t say that BUT it may have been my last resort!

When he’d stopped laughing, he congratulated me for my bravado (not the actual words used) and I made him my offer.

Which he gladly accepted.

And so our trade show took place on the date I needed it to take place…and his die-hard fan son walked out as mascot for the home game which conveniently took place on his 10th birthday.

It still took a few awkwardly persistent conversations with the guy who dealt with the sponsorship at the football club, as to exactly why I was so VERY insistent on this particular kid being mascot for this particular game – but it worked!

I’d not got fired!

And a kid got a wish granted!

So what can we learn from this sorry episode?

Check your dates. Twice.

But more important than that we can learn that knowledge, or more accurately how knowledge is applied, can be a very powerful thing.

Without doubt, the gem of information I learned about his family’s football passion and then how I used that knowledge saved my job, career, the whole lot…

And the same can be said about how you grow your business…

You see, understanding who you are dealing with, want to deal with and how to get them to say yes is the most critical thing in marketing….

To do that you need a deep understanding of your ideal client and what motivates them.

And you also need to know what makes you stand out, what makes you special and therefore what you need to make the focus of your marketing efforts.

Combine both sets of insights and that’s when the marketing magic can happen…but I know that if you don’t live and breathe marketing this part of the process can be tricky, awkward and let’s be honest – make you feel more than a little bit icky and uncomfortable…

You wouldn’t be alone in feeling this way and that’s another great reason for joining the Small Business Big Ideas Hub on Facebook – there’s a ready made support network of similar professionals who’ve experienced similar feelings of dread and revulsion – but come through the other side with a much clearer idea of how to market their business effectively.