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Mommy Millionaire

Kim Lavine has transformed the lives of millions through appearances on the Today Show, Rachel Ray, GMA, NBC, ABC, CNN, CNBC, FOX, NPR, Oprah & Friends & features in USA Today, Guideposts, Inc, Business Week, Entrepreneur, and Forbes, to name a few. Her startup bible MOMMY MILLIONAIRE was called by Publishers Weekly “A top-notch how-to guide on launching a business…a rare gem.”

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Kim Lavine
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Kim is on a mission to inspire people to follow their dreams, empowering them with hope, honesty and faith.

Identified as America’s Expert on Inspirational Business Advice, Kim touches and inspires millions around the world through her appearances on The Today Show, Rachel Ray, Good Morning America, NBC & ABC news, CNN, CNBC, FOX, NPR, Oprah & Friends Radio Network, and features in USA Today, Country Living, Guideposts, Inc, Business Week, Entrepreneur, Women's World, and American Baby to name a few. Read More...

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« Guts And Glamour | Main | Entrepreneur--Just Add Passion »
Thursday
Nov112010

HOW ONE PHONE CALL SAVED MY BUSINESS

Kick fear to the curb

There is no comfort zone on the ladder of success, so get outside your comfort zone DAILY. Knock down doors, take some lumps, and pursue your dreams courageously and fearlessly every day!

Because sometimes the difference between failure and success is just one phone call, as I prove in this excerpt from my bestselling book MOMMY MILLIONAIRE.

 

CLICK TO READ MORE

 

 

How One Phone Call Saved My Business: Staving Off Financial Collapse With The Power of Personality and Passion.

One of my vendors, from whom I bought large amounts of fabric, called. It wasn’t my normal salesman calling. It was their Vice President of Finance, calling to inform me that they were officially cutting off all my credit, effectively immediately.  I couldn’t believe it. We had managed to bounce back from serious arrears in payments to being almost current, using the money we were making with Saks to pay off our creditors. Why would they cut me off now?

“Because we don’t want to get in the same position,” he answered.

I had nothing else to lose.

If they cut me off, it would mean the end of my business, because nobody else would give me fabric on credit until I repaired my credit rating again, and I didn’t have cash to pay for it. I didn’t work this hard to get a national account like Saks to let that happen.

“You can’t do this,” I said, in my friendliest, most polite voice, interrupted by the sounds of my kids in the background, who were screaming for me to push them on the swings. “Do you know that I just rolled out to forty Saks stores—no test—and that my product is one of the favorites of Saks’ President George Jones?”

He admitted he didn’t even know what a Wuvit was. “Do you know that we were just in a Saks ad circular going to seven million homes, featuring our product on the inside front cover next to Tommy Bahama, Kenneth Cole and Ralph Lauren?” No, he didn’t know that either. “Do you know that our new product, Sleepy-head Fred, was recently chosen by the Atlanta Journal Constitution as one of the Hot 5 Gift Picks in the U.S?” No, he can’t say that he did. “Did you know that not only did we ship forty stores, but we have filled and shipped Purchase Orders every month since our roll-out, recording record sell-throughs for Father’s Day? This is just the start for us. I’m talking to every major retailer in the U.S. right now!”

    “Wow,” he responded. “You don’t need a $5,000 credit line, you need a $15,000 credit line!” he exclaimed with as much enthusiasm as me. “How about I set that up? You need more than just a vendor, you need a vendor partner.”

I didn’t know what that meant exactly, but I liked the way it sounded.

He gave me the impression that instead of cutting me off, he was now invested in my success and the success it could bring his company indirectly. Without the quality cachet of his brand attached to my product I would have lost just about everything. I had literally come a hair’s breadth away from the collapse of my company. Instead of accepting the pronouncement of a man who was just going by the numbers, I had summoned the courage through personality and conviction to turn it around.

Cold-Calling Macys

I was embellishing the part about “talking to every major retailer,” but when I hung up, I thought, ‘Why wasn’t I?” It made me feel good to hear my litany of successes out loud and to see the exciting effect it had on the person on the other end of the line. I considered what other retailer I wanted to see my product in. The name came to me immediately—Macy’s.

After a half day searching on the web, I discovered that Macy’s did business as Federated Department stores, with their corporate headquarters located in Cincinnati, OH. I couldn’t find a phone number on the “Contact Us” tab of their website, so I looked up Federated Department Stores in Cincinnati on Switchboard.com and a number came up.

I began with my classic elevator pitch:

“Hello, I’m Kim Lavine, President of Green Daisy, Inc., manufacturer of the newest retailing phenomenon the Wuvit, $1 Million dollars in retail sales in just over two years on a product I made as Christmas presents for my kids’ teachers!”

“Green Daisy? What a great name!” said the woman’s voice on the other end warmly. “What did you say you make honey?”

“The Wuvit.” Sometimes it’s better to say less than more. It gets their attention, and you can actually hear the wheels in their heads turn as they think about the crazy thing they think they just heard you say.

“The What--?”

“The Wuvit! I’m otherwise known as the Wuvit Wady,” I laughed, acknowledging that I had a crazy named product that is intended to elicit the exact response I was getting at the moment. “It’s your own personal designer spa therapy pillow. You heat it in the microwave for two to three minutes and it stays hot for up to hours! Or you can freeze it overnight for long-lasting, no drip icy cold!”

“You don’t say! I’ve never heard of anything like that before.”

“It’s so unique, it’s patent-pending,” I responded, on automatic pitch pilot. “Could you please give me the contact information for the appropriate buyer for it?” I asked, remembering to always ask for the sale.

“Green Daisy! What a cute name! Wuvit! I wuvit!” the kind woman mused on the other end of the phone, no doubt taking a break from her monotonous and ceaseless task of answering a very busy switchboard just to transfer calls all day. “Honey, I’m not sure just who to tell you would handle that, but I’ll give you the number to Lorraine in New York. She’ll know for sure who would handle that. Wuvit! Here’s her phone number. It’s just Lorraine in New York. Just call her, and she’ll help you. Good luck! I hope they wuvit!” She was amused by her own play on words and gave me the direct dial number for Lorraine.

The minute I hung up I called Lorraine in New York.

I got voicemail, of course, and so I left my voicemail pitch, telling her that I was instructed to contact her by Macy’s corporate, thanking her for her time and asking her to please contact me at her earliest convenience. Just an hour or so later I got another call, this one utterly devastating. My mother-in-law, Lorraine, had tragically succumbed to her third and final battle with breast cancer.

What’s Really Important

My husband and I pulled ourselves together, put our two little boys in the truck, and headed to New York state, where his mother would be buried next to his father, who had preceded her twenty years before. Even though she was what most people would call “broke” most of her life, I have never known a happier person than her. She taught me that love of family is what really mattered, and it didn’t cost anything to love. When she looked at my children with her incomparable kindness and patience, playing endless games of Sorry with them, brushing their hair, and holding their precious faces in her hands like it was the greatest treasure on Earth, I was more grateful than anyone ever was. Though she was gone in body, her spirit indisputably remained, playfully reminding us in the most Lorraine-like ways that her love still surrounded us, and that her reward in heaven was to look down at her grandchildren nightly sleeping in their beds. I would continue to sense the imminent nearness of her angel.

We arrived back at home five days later.

Among the dozens of voicemails left on our machine, was a message from Lorraine in New York. She had gotten my voicemails. She reported that the management at Macy’s was very intrigued by my messages, had visited my website, and invited me to send a sample of my product to the following four Vice Presidents, for whom she listed all the contact info, from addresses and phone numbers, right down to their direct email addresses. I spoke to each one of them the next day. They all took my call when I said that Lorraine had asked me to contact them.  Besides being moved by my story and my persistence, they all wanted to know how I had pulled this off.

“Do you know who Lorraine is?” they asked me in amazement.

“No. I don’t,” I admitted. I was just told to call Lorraine in New York.”

“She’s the Executive Assistant to Janet Grove, one of the top Executive Officers at Federated! How did you ever get her direct number? Somebody up there must like you!”

I saw that V.P. in New York just a few months later

He showed up at my booth at a tradeshow there. I was amazed that he remembered me and felt compelled to search me out of the hundreds of exhibitors at the huge Javits Center.

“Keep pushing!” he told me, while I shook his hand. I was awed that he had come to visit me and amazed that he cared this much. “I want you to call every buyer in the Macy’s chain till you find someone committed to this product’s success. Tell them that I personally told you to push it through the stores! Don’t give up until you do!”

I was shaking hands with one of the top V.P.s at Federated Department Stores, who was rallying me on with an inspired pep talk, and all this came out of one cold-call. I couldn’t believe it. I walked out into the aisle and blabbered like a baby to my fellow exhibitors, “There goes a Senior VP with Macy’s!” while they all oohed and ahhed and looked longingly at the back of his perfectly tailored suit disappearing into the hordes.

AN EXCERPT FROM MOMMY MILLIONAIRE by KIM LAVINE - CLICK HERE TO READ MORE OR BUY THE BOOK, AVAILABLE WHEREVER BOOKS ARE SOLD

about kim lavine

Watch Kim's Media Highlights http://tinyurl.com/mommymillionairemediahighlight

Kim is the bestselling author of MOMMY MILLIONAIRE, President of Mommy Millionaire Media—a multi-media company focused on developing traditional and new media opportunities in publishing, TV, radio, social networking, and digital formats—and of Green Daisy—a lifestyle brand focused on balancing life with love™. Identified as America’s expert on inspirational business advice, Kim has appeared on The Today Show, Rachel Ray, NBC & ABC news, CNN, CNBC, FOX, NPR, Oprah & Friends Radio Network, LifetimeTV.com, and featured in USA Today, Country Living, Guideposts, Women's World, and American Baby to name a few. Kim is on a mission to empower people to follow their dreams, inspiring them with hope, honesty and faith.

"Everything begins with a search for something better--a dream, an idea, the
courage to face a challenge, and the passion to get it done.
You can do it.
Believe in yourself.
Change the rules.
Join the revolution."
From MOMMY MILLIONAIRE, by Kim Lavine

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