Yesterday Governor Newsom declared a stay at home ban. This means we have to stay at home and can only leave for groceries or gas or to walk the dog. We’ve pretty much been living this way for the last week anyway. The biggest sacrifice for me will be no gym or no bike rides. I have a workout video queued up to do this morning.
Yesterday I had a big win for my clients. A hotel in Texas was going to charge cancellation fees or make my client have her meeting in May. This thing is going to be at it's peak in May and there is no way they can have their meeting. To top it off, all the guests at the meeting are health care pediatric professionals. Having them attend a meeting in the middle of a public health outbreak knowing they can return back to their hospitals and infect their already vulnerable patients is just socially irresponsible.
I looped in one of my leaders of my company. He believed that if the general manager wanted to talk to us then that was a good thing. We both believed that the hotel just needed to hear from the client, in their own voice that they can’t save the program and they need to allow us to move it to the year 2024. They said NO to our initial ask earlier in the week so this phone call yesterday was really important. I got up super early yesterday to have a prep call with the client. I told her “this is going to be your plea of passion. Be yourself and do your best” I personally prepped for the call giving needed numbers, showing a reduction in attendance since this outbreak started, cited local quotes from the mayor on bans that were happening and being extended every 7 days—and who knows how many times. I gave my own plea of passion on why this is a such a great group to have in the hotel, and to just have them cancel would be a shame. They needed to let us move this to 2024.
The call happened. I was sweaty. In the first 2 minutes’ of the call I hear my husband, yelling loudly in the distance in what sounded like the big red Kool Aid man’s voice. He was carrying on talking to a friend on the phone. There’s no way it was a business related call by the words he was using and the shear enthusiasm in his voice. My door was closed. My head set was on and he was on the other side of the house yelling to God knows who. In the middle of a super important call to which my client and I had been prepping for days, there is this bozo yelling about video games and tequila in the background. I texted him “SHUT UP”. I wouldn’t normally do this but I was in the middle of my plea of passion and was out of time. Of course, minutes later he comes storming in my office wondering what was happening, shit faced grin and mouthing the words I AM SORRY, he closed the door. I giggled and thought that one day I would think that moment was funny.
It was now my turn for my plea of passion on the call. Client was up, she gave her plea of passion. She nailed it. She spoke about social responsibility, Disney, hospitals, kids, and I don’t know anyone that would have said no to her after she was done. The hotel general manager spoke and said “We’re not going to charge you $900,000 to cancel, how about $25,000?” I was petrified my client would say “sure” so I texted my leader and said “Ok fancy pants, you’re up.” He came in guns a blazin’ and nailed it too. He spoke about partnership, and how we can’t pay the $25K. He spoke about the only option is to move the group to 2024 and why not just do it so they can get these great group in the house.
The GM said, “OK, we can move them to 2024” I said excellent. I must have said more than that because fancy pants texted me to “stop overselling and just take the deal” I must have been excited. I blacked out. We exchanged farewell pleasantries and hung up the phone. I called the CEO and we screamed on the phone. I called the meeting planner and we were elated. I called fancy pants and asked him for coaching on when I oversold.
It was a good learning moment for me. As an old lady in the business I don’t get many learning moments so I appreciated hearing feedback. We will get the paperwork done and moved on. I learned some good lessons from this transaction.
Over communicate to your clients in time of crisis.
Prepare them for the worst. Let them know what could go wrong and right.
Even if you’re an old lady like me, bring in support. It’s better for people to hear the same story from a different source and the fighting power I had with fancy pants was stellar.
Don’t oversell. If someone accepts your offer or counteroffer. Be quiet, hang up, move on quickly. I know this—but, in that moment, I just blacked out.
Remind your husband or house mate that they can barely hear themselves when they have noise cancelling head phones on and to refrain from screaming about video games and tequila when your house mate/spouse is on the phone.
Covid 19 day 18, a success!