Brian’s Diary – Story 1 – Lunch ‘N Learn

I have heard a thousand times the phrase “you have to spend money to make money.” When you’re four weeks out of college and verizon won’t sell you a cell phone because you have no credit, the idea of spending money on anything, let alone to make more money, seems extremely unrelatable.

One of the many gimmicks I was working on while trying to launch what is today GPS Financial was the fish bowl lunch-n-learn approach.  You’ve probably seen them in a few restaurants near you.  “Throw in your business card for a chance to win a free lunch for you and three friends.” That was me.  You would wait a couple weeks, go and grab all the cards from the bowl and then hit the phones.  The dance was something like this….

Me: Hi Mr. Soandso you put your business card in our drawing to win a free lunch at BLANK Restaurant and I am super excited to call you and let you know the great news that you’ve won!

Caller: Silence……silence…oh, I don’t even remember putting it in, but ok cool.

Me: Yes, very cool.  Let’s pick a date for the lunch and how many friends do you think would like to join you. You can have up to 3 others.

Caller:  I don’t know, maybe one more.

Me:  Great, so I’ll meet you at the restaurant, I’ll give you a short 15 minute presentation on how we help people with their finances and we’ll enjoy a meal.

Caller: So we have to sit through a presentation, never mind, click. (and yes, it was still a “click, this wasn’t a cell phone I was calling on or calling from 🙂

Stop, rinse and repeat.  Many weeks you would have to call 25 “winners” before you booked someone.

Here is my first favorite experience in this awful marketing technique I was tossed into from then management.

“You win”….”great see you then….” fast forward to me sitting there.  Thrift shop suite and tie, with a shiny silver watch and oh God I may have even had cuff links on.

Long story short, these two nurses show up and come to the table. Sit down and apologize but their lunch was short this day and they couldn’t stay. They each ordered a full blown meal and drink….TO GO. Not a sandwich or a wrap.  I think one ordered a Chicken Marsala with extra mushrooms then disappeared to the bathroom for ten minutes.  The other sat at the table, awkwardly telling me how they don’t get enough time for lunch…

Food came, they left, I sat there wondering why I bothered with a 4 year college education.  I took out my debit card and spent money to make money.

Buying 5 packs of gum cause they were on sale isn’t getting a deal if no one eats gum in your house. Nor was it spending money, to save money.  Spending money on a subscription to a magazine on flipping houses when you don’t own a hammer, isn’t spending money to make money.  And you can bet your a** that buying disinterested people lunch wasn’t spending money to make money.


Here ends Story 1, I hope you enjoyed it!