I've read every one of Robb High's endlessly repetitive 'agency mistake' e-mails. I've listened to Brent Hodgins and his diabolically clever Mirren business development workshops. And, I've even learned a few tips of the trade from such notable strategy consultants as Richard Harte, Ph.D., and Darryl 'Big D' Salerno.
But, my new business thinking was just rocked by a voice mail from a commercial real estate agent. Yes, you heard me right, a commercial real estate agent.
The call came from a guy I'll call Tim. As is usually the case with unsolicited cold calls, Tim made his message sound urgent. And, he also used a soft, personal tone and an air of familiarity that made it seem as if we'd known each other since those halcyon days at St. Francis Grammar School.
Tim's message not only left my lower jaw hanging on the floor. It made me shake my head and think, 'Why didn't I think of that?'
It went something like this:
“Hey Steve. How have you been? It's Tim. Tim Tenacious with Fabulous Realtors. You know. The big commercial real estate brokers here in midtown. Anyway, listen, I'm a big fan and I know there are so many ways you can help Fabulous PR ourselves. So, here's what I need from you ASAP. Can you call me back and give me talking points I can use with my CEO to convince him to hire you as our PR firm? In the meantime, we can help you find some space that will perfectly meet your needs and we'll have a great quid pro quo going. So, ball's in your court, big guy. Give me some bullets I can work with. Oh, and I'll set a meeting through your assistant and we'll start finding you the kind of office space you deserve. Can't wait to catch up.”
Tim's twisted logic was both appalling and laugh out loud funny. I immediately shared it with my management team, suggesting we toss out all of our other business development strategies and, instead, borrow a page from The Book of Tim.
Could you imagine me calling, say, Jon Iwata of IBM (a dream client I'd love to work with, BTW) and leave him a Tim-type voice mail?
“Jon? Way, way too long buddy. Way too long. Listen. Do me a favor. Call or e-mail me some talking points ASAP about your new top-of-the-line laptop computers, OK? I want to put your sales messages on Deivis Baez's desk. He's our IT manager and he really should be working with you guys to upgrade everything. Across-the-board. Right now. You get me? In the meantime, though, put Peppercom on a monthly retainer so we can return the favor and make this a real quid pro quo. You'll get a big order for new software and we'll help you PR IBM. Can't wait to hear back, Jon. Talk to me baby. I want to help you help yourself.”
I've heard of reverse psychology before, but Tim's new business strategy is a stupefying show stopper.
In fact, if I were Tim, I'd stop trying to sell commercial real estate and, instead, channel my genius towards strategy consulting. Trust me, Robb High, Brent Hodgins, Darryl Salerno and all the rest won't know what hit them. In fact, they'll probably end up hiring Tim to provide strategy consulting for their strategy consulting.
I'd go on, but I owe Tim some bullet points for his CEO.