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Ad Exec Tells Forbes Why She Absolutely Needed A Rolex For Business January 13, 2021 (0 comments)


Minneapolis, MN—When Tracy Call, founder and CEO of Minneapolis-based Media Bridge Advertising Agency started her business, getting in to pitch potential clients wasn’t a problem. She got lots of first meetings—but not so many second ones, she said in an article for Forbes magazine. That is, until she put on a Rolex watch for the initial meeting.

It’s not that the potential clients didn’t like her ideas or think she was qualified. She had earned her chops in the media field and had a roster of big national clients to prove it. But the men she was pitching often didn’t take her seriously before she started wearing the Rolex. She writes:

I was still at a loss to solve this mystery when I lost my watch. Actually, it was stolen from a bag in my car one night while I was playing rugby (I chased the thieves in my cleats — and in vain — for over a mile, as my Achilles still reminds me).

And then a strange thing happened that changed my business and my life: When I mentioned to one of my clients that I was in the market for a new watch, he said, “If you want to get a male client’s attention, get a Rolex.”

Incredulous, she couldn’t believe it would be that simple—or superficial. Money was extremely tight—she could barely afford to buy her son a new mattress, let alone a watch that cost as much as a car, she writes.  But she made herself a deal to buy a Rolex when she hit her first million in revenue.

Turns out her client was right. From her first meeting wearing a Rolex (with a three-quarter sleeve to show it off), Call noticed the men she was pitching to sat up and paid much closer attention. Their body language changed the moment they saw her watch. 

Since then, her business has grown 50-fold, but she says the pattern is still the same: worn at the first meeting with a potential client, the Rolex virtually guarantees a second meeting. 

In the article, she pondered whether male advertising executives would experience the same reaction plus or minus a Rolex. While she hasn’t been able to test that theory, she writes that a male colleague recently noticed a difference in potential clients’ attitudes when he started wearing expensive suits to meetings.

While she does feel there’s an element of sexism still alive and well in the business world—she often lends the watch to her female staff for a first pitch—her ultimate takeaway is that adapting to your audience is essential in any case. Whether it’s by buying a Rolex or other expensive watch to make executives you deal with feel confident in your ability to make money, or dressing down to show a nonprofit you’re more committed to the cause than to money, it’s important to market yourself in a way that resonates with the client.

Jewelers, take note. A client that’s wavering on a purchase because it feels too self-indulgent just might need a little business justification. Read the full text here.

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