The Secret Weapon

I had an important meeting today.  Big state, big agency, big revenue potential.

As is often the case in these meetings, I was outnumbered.  This time it was 3 on 1.

I started my spiel.  I talked about my company’s editorial expertise and resources.  I told them about the exciting things that we were doing with comparable agencies.  I brought up a number of possible ways in which our organizations could work together.  I made it clear that this would be a “win-win” in every sense of that over-used term.

I got nothing.  They scribbled furiously on their notepads, brows furrowed, and asked probing, cautious, intelligent questions.  Then they started in on the litany of reasons why we couldn’t do the deal.  This would be a roadblock.  That would be an obstacle.  Here’s a troubling challenge that we need to consider.  I don’t see how we could get around that impediment.  I’m sorry that you had to come all this way….

I saw it slipping away.  It was time to pull out the secret weapon. 

“Well, I really appreciate your time and it’s clear that we have some work to do in order to make this happen.  I do hope that we can work this out.  I’ll let you get on with your day, but before I go, let me just leave this cover color sampler with you so you can get a head start on selecting the cover color for your new books.”

Their eyes lit up.  “We get to pick the cover color?  Wow, there are a lot of choices.  Ooh, I like that one.  Oh, that one would be nice too.  What do you think about this one?”

It was a close call, but I think I pulled it out.  Funny what motivates people. 


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