RFP: Diary of an institutional salesman, part 2

The life of an institutional salesman in Asia. Today, William makes an impression.

The day starts with a breakfast presentation I have arranged for our visiting Brazil equity manager. The top guys at HQ knew they could entrust me with his itinerary, and I didn't let them down. Only half an hour was not accounted for in the whole day. Picked him up at the Four Seasons at 7.30am and used the taxi ride to our venue to remind him who I am and of some of my key accomplishments. He couldn't get out of the cab quick enough when we reached the Conrad - I guess he was really keen to have a run-through of his presentation. This left me to press the flesh with the clients. Eight people turned up, out of 23 who said they'd make it. I think we'll get more than expected at lunchtime.

My charge for the day, G Ronald Matheson Jr, has really been shooting the lights out these past few months. I've told all our local prospects that he's hotter than hot, so fixing up meetings was no problem. To tell the truth, he's been pretty average of late, but they never check. We got stuck in traffic en route to our 10:30 meeting so I called the client to explain. Well, at least Ron was happy when the client cancelled our meeting, although that meant turning the taxi back towards the island straight away. We were already running late for that 11.30 meeting in Causeway Bay...

What on earth is wrong with these people? I had asked Colinna to call around the attendees during the morning to put a guilt trip on them, but still we had 18 no-shows out of 37. Reshuffling the top table was tricky, but we managed without any of the prospects noticing. Let's just hope Ron doesn't spot that 'quiet' table at the back.

Oh my God, will he ever shut up?? He's on slide 41 of 57 and our prospects are dropping like flies - as usual, the consultants were first to go, then the private bankers, and only a handful of the corporate guys are sticking around. Soon we'll outnumber them. I motioned to Colinna to lock the door, but instead she propped it open. Note to self: Never pick a PA on looks alone.

"To be honest, Brazil equity is a bit too granular for us," says the multi-manager towards the end of our meeting. Wonderful - that's another hour wasted. I smile politely.

Back to the Conrad, this time for a cocktail reception. We've even got a few journalists coming along to this one, including some trade rag planning to put together a profile. I've sketched the outline of it for them already -- they love it when you do their job for them -- and of course I included a few embellishments of my own. Can't wait to see Jeff's face when he reads where Ron mentions Will Fitzgerald as the go-getting local MD here!

It's been a long day, and our star man is fading faster than Tiger Woods' libido. A few too many cocktails earlier this evening didn't help and he has been stuck in verbal handcuffs with old Jasper Cheuk for 20 minutes now. I'll give him another 10 then go and save him from the 'first mover in China' stories.

I reckon I can close on about $40 mil from today's activities and there's more where that came from if I play my cards right. The roundtable dinner discussion forum went well -- only four clients and prospects, but with me, Ron and Jeff to keep the conversation going (and the wine flowing), we really got stuck into some of the big issues about the strategy.

Ron made some comments about how he was glad to be leaving Hongkers on the early flight to Taipei tomorrow with Jeff. I'm not sure why - Jeff has only managed to arrange one meeting and two coffees for the whole day. I know who'll be getting the gold stars from Ron when he gets back to the States...

William T Fitzgerald is a fictional character, as are all the other individuals and companies in "RFP Diary". Any resemblance to the living or to real firms is purely coincidental. Will's adventures continue fortnightly.

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