By Jim A. Luff
As you may recall, the saga began with a standard RFP seeking a luxury transportation company to handle transportation for high rollers and music acts performing in concert at a nearby Indian casino.
I had diligently responded to the RFP telling him all about our company, services and experience only to be asked to “sharpen my pencil” to be considered. I explained that if I sharpen my pencil, I have to cut corners and degrade service and that is something we are not willing to do. To me, that is like asking the Hilton to act more like a Motel 6! They guy truly seemed to understand. Still, time went by. No contract, no return call, no letters, not even a courier pigeon. I left phone messages and e-mails but heard nothing.
Finally, I use my stealth skills and obtain his cell phone number from an unwitting employee of the casino. I used a line that displayed another business name on his Caller ID and got him on the line. Only to hear how I had aligned myself with another casino by virtue of it appearing on my website. He further stated he had referred the decision to their advertising agency. Of all places, an advertising agency? Why?
So, I called another client who uses the same agency and knows the owner. I enlisted her to ask her account rep to find out from the owner of the agency what they were doing with the casino and what role they would play in selecting a limousine company. Eventually, I was in direct contact with the agent handling the account. We discussed the fact that we do in fact have a package on our website with another casino. I have no idea where this came from but I blurted out that this would be the equivalent of not flying on American Airlines to Houston because Southwest Airlines also goes there. I explained that we provide service to a very wide service area. In fact, our county is over 8,000 square miles and we provide service to every city in the county. I invited her to call some of our mutual clients and ask about us. I asked her to call our local arena, who we have an exclusive contract with. I asked her to call the Chamber of Commerce as well as our local Convention and Visitor Bureau. I asked her to call the managers at the Doubletree Hotel, Holiday Inn, Four Points Sheraton and the Hilton and ask about us. I explained if the casino was going to leave this decision to her she had an obligation to perform “due diligence” for her client.
Today, I received a letter from the agency announcing that we had been selected to provide exclusive transportation. I also received a phone call from the casino accounting office asking me to complete a W-9 form so they could begin making payments to us. Surprisingly, the advertising agency asked for a credit application so that they too could start using our service as a result of the recommendations and testimony of the local hotel managers.
Ding, ding, ding – I won! Not once, but twice!
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