How I partnered with Southwest Airlines in 2002!
with no money, no team, and no backing…
Where do I start?
How about 1998?
I had just graduated college from the University of Texas at Austin.
I didn’t want to get into the “real world” so I decided instead to take on some “fun” jobs.
I was hired as a waiter at a golf resort in the middle of the Arizona desert for 2 months.
Following that short stint I learned about horses and was afterwards hired to give guests horse back rides through the Rocky mountains of Colorado. That lasted 3 months. What an experience that was!
On my last weekend there I met a CEO and his wife and 4 daughters. After getting to know each other they asked me about my plans. I told them I was going to law school in California.
They asked me if I wouldn’t mind working for them first in their new startup in San Diego for awhile before I head off to law school. They would teach me sales. I said, as I always seem to say, “Ok why not?”
I moved to San Diego and they taught me everything I needed to know about sales. They taught me how to prospect. They taught me how to cold call. They taught me how to engage and how to close. I didn’t realize it then, but it was the perfect start for me.
I quickly grew into one of the top reps in a matter of 6 months. I couldn’t believe it. I skipped law school and ended up spending 2 years there before the startup shut down, unfortunately, for a lack of capital.
At that point, being stuck in California with no job I didn’t know where to turn.
Naturally I returned home to Texas. I didn’t know what I was going to do with myself at that time.
I had remembered through my travels that I couldn’t find internet stations anywhere (this was before the iPhone came out). So I drove to my home town airport and asked them why they didn’t have any internet stations there for travelers to use. This was 2002.
They told me there was no need for them.
I was shocked.
So, I proceeded to tell them why I disagreed with that statement. They decided that I was taking up too much of their time so they told me, just to get me out of there, if I can find a partner in the airport to partner with me, they would look at my proposal.
Long story short, I tried 2 other airport vendors who turned me down before I approached the third one, which was Southwest Airlines.
I knew Southwest Airlines’ main goal was amazing customer service. So I asked them for a meeting and showed them how the internet stations would help them meet their goals of consistent, over the top customer service for their travelers, while they waited in the boarding area. They liked the idea however they stalled and kept me waiting for awhile. They wouldn’t make a decision for a long time. So I decided to be persistent and offer them more value every time I talked to them. After about 3 months, I sent them a breakdown of expenses and what I would pay them to allow me to rent space in the boarding area of the first gate. They finally agreed and we were on our way.
I had no money, no contacts, and no backing. It was just me and a huge airline now in partnership.
Once I had the partnership secured I found others to help me put everything together to make sure I could launch my business properly.
It was the most fun I had ever had. Why was I able to do this?
Because of the sales training I received in San Diego. Once I learned how to sell, I realized I could accomplish any dream imaginable if I just approached it with the right system in place. I realized if you help others with a great solution, you will also grow as well!
That’s why I am here. To help you understand a sales system to help you grow yourself, your value, your company and your life.
Please let me know how I can help.
PS: Because of my launch of my internet station business, I caught the attention of the CEO of Southwest Airlines at the time of his visit to the airport AND ALSO the attention of Steve Jobs of Apple when we engaged via email regarding the internet stations and working with Apple on a mobile version at the time. Of course I am not saying this is why the iPhone was invented. But maybe? :)
To this day, when you visit a Southwest Airlines boarding area, you can see the evolution of my internet station design with the flat tables and plugs travelers can now plug in their laptops and mobile devices into — Happy Travels! :)