I had an appointment with a bank in Versailles to show them a branding campaign I had just produced entitled, “We’ve got the Hometown Spirit.” The campaign was a bank sponsored community promotion as well as a campaign to promote the banks products and services.
Versailles is located right outside of Lexington in the heart of the famous Blue Grass Kentucky horse farms. The Fall Colors around Versailles are just breathtaking.
After my meeting I was in a great mood as the bank in Versailles loved the campaign and placed an order.
My next appointment was in Clay, Kentucky which was a few hours down the Parkway.
I decided to just drive around the area to see whatever was around the next curve in the road. I was in the middle of horse racing country. I drove by one beautiful horse farm after another. The extremely well kept farms were circled by beautiful white wooden fences. It’s a sight I’ll never forget. At one farm there were some horses close to the fence by the road. I stopped the car and just stood by the edge of the road and watched them.
Thoroughbred horses are amazing creatures. They have the muscle tone of an Olympic athletes. They walk with grace and their heads held high.
The next morning I was in for a surprise. I was about to meet someone who would become one of my favorite clients. His last name was Clark and I never ever learned his first name because people just called him, “Clarky.” Clarky was the president of the bank.
After we did our, “How do you dos” Clarky said, “You’re not from around here are ya?” And then he laughed. I said, “How could you tell?” He laughed and said, “I was just pulling your leg a little,ha-ha. It don’t matter much what you sound like. What matters is what you’ve come to show me.”
I showed Clarky the Hometown Spirit branding campaign and he loved it. He especially liked a part of the campaign called the Hometown Spirit Awards which gave out awards to local people who set a good example in community service.
I finished my presentation and told Clarky the price and asked him the closing question. Clarky looked me straight in the eye but he didn’t say a word for what seemed like an eternity. I looked him straight in the eye and didn’t say another word. We just sat there in this Western Kentucky stare down neither one of us willing to give an inch.
Finally, Clarky spoke and said, “Mr. Michaels, may I call you Gary?” I nodded in the affirmative and Clarky continued, “Now Gary, I’m just a country boy and this is just a country bank. I like your program and I do think it would be good for our bank but we’re going to have a real problem doing any business here today.” Clarky looked me straight in the eye and waited for me to respond. I said , “What do we need to solve?” Clarky said, “The problem is with my pen… He paused and then he said, “My pen won’t even write a number as high as the price you quoted me.” I laughed and looked him straight in the eye and said,“We can use my pen. It will write as high as you like.”
We worked out a little bit better price. Clarky was happy and the campaign was a huge success. I always looked forward to my trips to Clay,Kentucky to meet with my Old Kentucky Friend, “Clarky” Clark. He was one of my favorite clients.
Mr. Clark taught me that when you’re in a negotiation and someone tells you that they are just a “Country Boy” they are usually smarter than you are.
Gary Michaels is the Founder/Executive Producer of MTI Studios and Gary Michaels Online. Since entering the Brand Syndication field in 1980 he has produced Syndicated Branding Campaigns for over 5,000 local and regional advertisers throughout the US, Canada,New Zealand and Australia. (Photos by Thinkstock)
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