The One We Have With Us (Issue 576)

In which we are reminded (in Roman philosopher Seneca’s point) that "Luck is where the crossroads of opportunity and preparation meet."

About fifteen  minutes after I said, “Oh, crumbs, I wish I’d brought my camera,” my friend and I stepped through the back door near the pro shop, standing a few yards into sunlight behind The Lodge at Pebble Beach, scanning the lush turf and Monterrey Bay, beyond.  I took a few steps forward, to widen my view, then turned around to look at him and exclaim how beautiful the scenery.

“You know what’s the best kind of camera, Nicky?”  he asked.


He took a picture of me, squinting into the late sun.

“It’s the one you have with you,” he said, grinning, holding out his camera/phone for me to see.  In the resultant photo, a large tree appears to be growing out of the top of my head which, in turn (with no hair to absorb the sunlight) looks brightly overexposed. My big camera would have handled all of that easily and,    never mind! I have a treasured  image,  that would otherwise have been lost,  of an afternoon with one of my best friends in one of the most beautiful spots on the planet.

Since then, I’ve used “the one I have with me” to  capture dark pictures of a friend spontaneously dancing flamenco with a professional dancer in a Forth Worth restaurant, an “on the way to the airport” early morning shot of a local church steeple just as the sun caught the trim, and a candid  profile of a to-die-for dinner entrée and two friends at a South Beach restaurant.

Too often, we think of sales collateral as “what we use during planned calls.” We make an appointment, we sit in someone’s office, or we call them at an agreed time. We’ve prepared (I hope!), we have call objectives (I hope!), we have an agenda (still hoping!), and we have our best collateral materials – carefully prepared handouts or slides or leave-behinds.

But sometimes the best opportunities come in the moment….  for example, realizing that “the sun will catch that steeple.”  Or, noticing that a fellow passenger has just opened a book on improving business performance.  Or recognizing that the Group Executive Vice President we’ve been chasing for a year for an appointment is standing three people behind us in the latte’ line.

You know what are the best kinds of sales collateral materials?

They’re the ones we have with us.

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