“Thanks so much for coming up today,” Tim said.
“My pleasure,” I replied, having flown up just to meet with him.
“It’s always so much better to meet in person. ‘Get to know you and you, me,” he said.
Never having met him before and chatting over the phone a few weeks earlier, I was curious as to why he had asked me to fly all the way here to meet this morning. He dove right in.
“So, I have gifted $150 million to our IDGT, and my wife has done the same. We have also purchased in our trust another $135 million in real estate over the last couple years. I made $40 million dollars last year, and that income will be consistent,” he said.
“I agreed to meet with you today because I like what you have built. I like you. And I don’t think I have done enough of what I need to do,” he continued.
“You see, Jeremy, the business is kicking off all of this cash. Our one product has a 65% gross profit margin. There are so many more things we can do.”
“What have you done with your firm to ensure it continues to grow?” he asked me.
I explained our business model. Our hiring strategy. Our new hires. The positions that I have chosen to fill and why. He took it all in intently, truly interested in my responses.
I then asked him, “So, what happens to the business that you have built all these years, from nothing to where it is now, if you die? All of the sweat, working so hard for you and your family to enjoy what you have created – the private jet travel, the money, the flexibility, everything – but you as the sole owner?”
He stared at me, smiling ever so slightly.
“That’s why you are here,” he revealed. “To help me figure that out.”
“You see, I have all these people around me,” Tim said. “All so impressed with me. With what we have accomplished. But you…not so much.”
I had to laugh at that.
“In fact, Jeremy, when you called me to make this meeting a few weeks ago, you said that you didn’t know how you could help, but that you were sure something would come out of it – or, at the very least, we would be better friends. That just clicked for me. I knew just then that you would be one of my guys,” he said.
“You see, I had prostate cancer a few years ago. Got it done with early. And while my wife says, ‘Tim, you are not the same as you were when you were 18,’ but I think 51-year-old Tim is not too bad! I want and need someone that asks me these questions. I also know I need insurance. I should have taken care of it years ago, but none of the people around me brought it up again. And that just doesn’t sit right with me. I know I am missing something. And I know the people you work with. They are not all that dissimilar to me.”
I acknowledged that I understood his needs and where he was coming from.
He then said the one thing you never think of in a conversation like this. “When you called me, Jeremy, you ASKED. That was enough for me!”
We went on to have a very productive meeting and day together.
Sometimes, you just have to take a risk. Ask someone something that could risk your relationship but, more importantly, will likely enhance it; something they need.
Don’t be afraid.
The risk of not asking is that you’ll never really know. And then, they’re gone. And there goes your chance to really do something different, to be different.
It’s ok to take a risk. See what happens.