Tonight was wildly successful. I was completely in the zone. They had to sell me on accepting the deal at significantly more money than we would have accepted in our wildest dreams and I still left rather noncommittal.
Inside, I was jumping for joy. Outside, I was calm.
We ate in a private room at a steakhouse. I was there solo, along with two pinstripe-suited businessmen who are looking to work with PPB on this project, PPB, and two of her assistants. The Pinstripes thought they were in control, but they were really just there to pick up the check.
PPB introduced me, called me her goddaughter (which is the highest honor a mentor could bestow), and recited from memory my resume and my family connections. Then she said, okay, you have the floor. I outlined who I was and what I do quickly, and then began asking questions.
During dinner, Pinstripes interrogated me, clearly missing the fact that PPB had already decided I was running the show. At one point, Pinstripe 1 asked Pinstripe 2: “do you think we could bring in [another planner] who would work for less or would view part of the work as a [contribution to the cause]?” In front of me. While I was sitting there. As a negotiating tactic. I of course said nothing. I did mention that there are certainly other companies who do things differently, but this is how I, BP, and FP work.
I just had it — everything I wanted was right there before me. By being true to myself — the good parts and the bad — I got more than I would have asked for. At every moment, I was completely in control. When they pushed me, or interrogated me, I answered the questions I felt like answering. When they asked me things I did not feel like disclosing, I did not. They took that as a sign I was not serious or n ot prepared, but I was able to demonstrate that I simply did not choose to share everything.
By the end, they were convincing me to take the deal, asking what I needed to make it happen, what could they do to convince me. I said, well, I came in committed to doing it, but after speaking to you both, I am no longer sure.
That’s pretty much how I won. That and I took my jacket off at the end of dinner. I never underestimate the power of an elegant sheath dress and a pair of fabulous pumps.
PPB and I walked out together, giggling.
Pinstripes picked up the check for everything, including my valet. We waited for a few minutes and my car pulled up first. I was very proud to slide into it. It reinforced my image — it’s not flashy, but it’s very nice and slightly quirky. I was also proud to slide into it because it is BFD’s car and I am his girlfriend.
My first call was to BFD. I just wanted to tell him how great it felt and how well I had done. I got his voicemail. (When I got home, I saw that he had called the house from his cell 20 minutes before I called him, but did not leave a message. I ended up emailing him and asking him out for Wednesday.)
My second call was to my mother.
I drove far north to meet up with BP for a debrief. We closed down the restaurant/bar where he was. He was very proud, we were somewhat flirtatious, but we spent most of our time talking about BFD who BP is convinced is in love with me, given our relationship. He also gave me graphic advice about what to do to “lock that boy down.”
When we spoke about the project and the debrief, it was amazing.
Overall, my big comeback is completely on track and I am in control.