I blew it. I knew I blew it when the marketing exec started searching for someone else she rather speak with and then saying “where do I need to be next” while pulling out her phone. I was taken aback. Hadn’t been ‘over the shouldered’ like that in quite a while (when the person you’re talking to starts looking over your shoulder for someone else they rather be speaking with). And it was awesome.
It started as a chance opportunity to pitch a Homebrew startup to a potential partner. I love the hustle, the hunt, the chase. Got no problem getting my hands dirty to help close a candidate, a sale, a lead but was rusty on this one because it was outside of tech echochamber where I usually get benefit of the doubt based on personal relationships or warm introduction. This was the in-person cold call. She didn’t know who I was so my first 30 seconds needed to be intriguing and focused on her priorities. And when they weren’t? Goodbye.
Sometimes as an investor (or executive) it’s too easy to sit back and say “why can’t you close this opportunity?” I love being reminded that it’s hard getting those first customers to care about you and take a chance. No matter where you sit on the org chart, look for opportunities to practice what you preach – answer support tickets, go on sales calls, design a new feature. You’ll come away with a first hand look at what your team is actually confronting, not a sanitized view or aggregated into dashboard stats.
The exec who blew me off? I’m going to get the deal next time.