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35 Floors in 45 Seconds

It had been months since any progress has been made with this particular prospect. I used to struggle a little as to whether I was ahead of the market readiness for my product or if in fact I was not doing such a great job getting business through my pipeline. In this case the Insurance industry was complex and where mergers and acquisitions created multiple billing systems of the legacy variety slowing the advancement of payment solutions for policyholders. So, when my prospect called and said they were ready to meet, to say the least it piqued my curiosity.

Previous meeting with this prospect were shall we say “frosty”. The folks on the other side of the table for some reason were not so receptive to salespeople and it was one of the few times in my career that no matter what I seemed to do, I would get a tongue lashing from the prospect. I dutifully prepared for the call, making sure I had all my ducks in a row. One thing I always liked to do was to review the company’s leadership and other relevant facts to be conversational. Like so many other sales calls I had to travel to the prospect which for me meant most of the time connecting flights to get to a destination. The prospect was in a large city but not one with many direct flights. As I was about to board the second flight my phone rang and the familiar voice of the assistant to the Vice President, I was meeting spoke on the other end of the phone. “I am sorry Mr. McNamara; we need to reschedule the meeting today.”

The human brain is an amazing instrument and it is unbelievable how quickly it can process and react. For a salesperson I think there is even a more heightened sense of reality that kicks in too. Turns out the Vice President I was going to see had been dismissed from their role the day before, for shall we say not being so nice to their staff. Glad, I was not the only one. In that nano second, I had to think. I told the assistant that I had already landed and was on the way to their offices. Not entirely true, I had landed, and I was on my way to their offices, I was just 400 miles further away than she now believed. “Ok Let me see what I can do”, she said. After a brief hold she indicated that the Senior Vice President would now take the meeting.

The meeting with the SVP went well. Turns out my contact had not shared with their organization any of the information, data, or benefits that our services would provide. They would need to get back to me. As I left the meeting, I had to take the elevator down to ground level from the 25th floor. Soon I would be on my way home and reporting into my leadership on the progress of the day. In my haste I thought I had selected the lobby button, the doors to the elevator closed and to my surprise it started up, not down. After a few seconds, the familiar ding most elevators emit sounded as the doors opened on the 35th floor. A tall fair-haired man stepped forward. What looked like his assistant was pushing some papers into his hand telling him the time of his next appointment. As he looked up and entered, I instantly reached out my hand and greeted him by his name and introduced myself. For the second time that day the brain had kicked in to help me out. I was in the elevator with the CEO.

It is incredible what can be said and shared in a minute or less. During that time, I was able to introduce myself, tell this person, why I was there, who I had met and what the purpose of the meeting was, and how it could benefit the organizations policyholders. He shared that he had just played golf with our CFO last week at a charity event, and that he would follow up with the SVP I had met to get a briefing. We even had time to joke a little about each of our golf games before the elevator opened in the lobby, As he exited the elevator he indicated to me to let him know if there was anything he could do.

As salespeople we must always be ready. We never know the time or place where opportunity will arise that can help our sales process. This chance encounter was just that, a chance. Being able to succinctly articulate your purpose and value in a very short space of time while making an impression is the Art form of sales. When you get the opportunity for that so-called elevator pitch, seize it because 35 floors will be gone in 45 Seconds.

Roger McNamara Bio:

Roger is a 25+-year veteran of the Payments Industry, most recently as the Director of Business Development with American Express in the US. He has worked on the largest Acquisition targets for acceptance across multiple Industries and across the globe that include : Airlines, Communications, Technology, Cruise Lines, Entertainment, Fractional Jet, Freight, Government, Healthcare, Insurance, Oil & Gas, Residential Rent, Restaurants, QSR’s, Retail, Services, Supermarkets, Travel, Vehicle Sales, B2B and Wholesale. Over that time, he has sold more than $200 Billion worth of Card processing and became an expert in Bankcard Interchange and Discount Rates, how they are calculated and what merchant pay to accept Credit and how this is dramatically different from what they believe they pay. He is an expert in Merchant Statement analysis and payment processing and the rules and regulations associated with payments and the associations. Roger has also developed the insight for Merchant Services Salesforces and salesforces in general to be able to better position their products and gain share particularly in B2B. Let him show you how you can too. He can be reached at

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