Thursday, December 5, 2002

This is a page from my book, “How I Sold My Business: A Personal Diary”

It's been just over two weeks since our breakfast meeting, and Rob and I met his prospect late this afternoon at the prospect's office.

The first thing to say is that Rob drives a sweet car, a red sports car of some sort. He told me he owns it outright, and if that's the truth, I think to myself that he can sell it and have at least a $40K down payment to buy the company.

The funny thing is, I've owned this company all these years, and I still drive the same crapmobile I had when I started the company. When I was Rob's age I had a much nicer car — an eight-cylinder Ford Thunderbird I got over 100 mph a few times — but as I've gotten older I don't care about cars too much, as long as they're comfortable and reliable.

As Rob and I walked from the parking lot to the main entrance of the building I asked him several questions to try to get as comfortable as I can in this role. Having owned my own business for all these years, I'm surprisingly uncomfortable at going into a meeting and feeling "muzzled." He assures me that if the client asks any questions about our relationship he'll handle them, and again, we can fall back to our "partnering" approach if need be.

The meeting with the prospect went very well, and I liked working with Rob. He's everything you'd want in a salesperson: smart, enthusiastic, honest, and likable, and the prospect has been well-qualified. Rob also knows what he's talking about technically, and I found myself wondering again if he can be the project manager we're looking for. For two people that barely know each other going into the meeting, everything is as smooth as can be. If our situations were reversed I'd gladly hire him.

As our meeting started to wrap up, I realized that either Rob or I are going to have to write up a proposal for this prospect, and as we approach the point in the meeting where it's time to tell the prospect this is the next step, I'm prepared to say that I'll do it, but Rob says just the right thing, that "we" will have a proposal to him within a few days. The prospect doesn't press us on a date, so Rob and I are spared a discussion of how we'll work this into our schedules.

On the way out to the parking lot Rob and I talk about the proposal, and he tells me that if I can write up the technical part, he'll plug it into his standard format. I told him I can't get it written up tomorrow, but that I should have it for him Saturday afternoon. I ask how he thought it went, and he said it was great, he really enjoyed working with me. I told him I enjoyed it as well, and we drove off in our separate directions. So far, so good.

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