It was $100 a plate type meal. I show up in shorts and t-shirt to this almost black tie affair - talk about feeling awkward. But they want my money so they let me in anyway.
As the first round of drinks come out I notice a mysterious stranger to my right.
I ordered a Crown neat - he orders a Bombay Sapphire - he's got my attention now.
I sneak a quick glance and notice this guy is dressed well - handmade leather shoots, custom fitted suit, cuff links with real stones in them, etc - and he's not drinking cheap either.
21 year old scotch, a snifter of a $235 bottle of rum (which by the way was heaven and worth every cent), and so on.
The meal was fantastic - a nice 8 ounce petite filet cooked medium rare, a few more drinks and an outstanding bottle of red wine.
After dinner I strike up a conversation with this mysterious stranger.
It isn't long before we start talking about what we both do for a living. I start off by letting him know I teach people how to approach small businesses to help them with the marketing.
It seems I've got his attention.
He slowly reaches into his custom suit, pulls out a business card and slides it across the table.
He's the CFO of a major television network.
Good thing I saved my I hate CFO of major television network jokes for later in the evening.
We start talking about marketing and we're clicking on all cylinders now.
He agrees with me on almost everything - it can't be a one time event, he can't believe how stupid some business owners are and swears if he ever finds the bank that financed them he has a draw full of crap he'd like to sell them.
I'm starting to like this guy.
That was before I found out this.
I ask him - so for my small business - what would it cost me to advertise during the local news on one of your stations.
Without missing a beat he tells me.
I almost spit my $235 rum all over his custom made suit.
$150 per 30 second spot.
Let me say that again - 150 friggin dollars for 30 seconds of time.
Do the math.
1 30 second commercial ran ONCE a day for an entire year would cost me ... $54,750 a year.
For one commercial - on one channel - once a day.
That's a great deal if you can make sure all your customers are watching TV at 9:32pm every night.
Then he keeps going.
"Tim - I really like a drug dealer - I give you a taste, once you get started you can't ever stop. If you stop - you die."
I'm starting not to like this guy now.
He tells me to call him and we can talk strategy.
I throw away his card on the way out.
Now listen folks - I live in small town USA here in West Texas. We have less than 250,000 people in our little town and if I had to guess the average income is around $35,000 a year (just a guess).
And here is a guy wants small business owners to invest over $50,000 a year in one SINGLE form of advertising.
So don't sit there and tell me you can't help these people because they won't pay.
Hell I could charge customers $5,000 and I'd still be 90% cheaper than this guy.
It gets even better.
Seriously - not only can I beat this guy on price, I can also track how many people come to your site, how much time they spend, where they spend it, etc.
You have the upper hand in this fight - you're leaner and meaner. Seriously. You can do things he can't and at a price that would put him out of business.
Stop making excuses - get in the fight.