This is Enoch Sears, and this is the show where you’ll discover tips, strategies and secrets for running a profitable and impactful architecture practice. Today’s guest is a business development expert and we know this is a topic that I like to bring on experts here frequently onto the show, because, let’s face it, winning the right business for your architecture.
Firm is why you got into the business and probably there’s probably always going to be a little bit of room for you to improve either the consistency of the product you’re getting or perhaps the size and quantity of the projects that you’re getting. Maybe you want to move into a new market sector. In any case, the skill of business development is going to be one of the most important skills as you pursue a consistent path to be able to win the kind of work that you want.
Today’s guest is the author of a book on sales and business development called the modern seller. You can find it online at Amazon. Her name is Amy Franco, she’s, a strategic sales expert and a keynote speaker as a successful leader. She’s worked for business-to-business sales departments with global tech giants, including IBM and Lenovo you’ll, hear about that a little bit of her history. Currently she runs a training company impact instruction group so without further ado, we’re going to jump into four specific steps to business development with our guest today, Amy Franco, hello, Amy, welcome to the business of architecture.
Thank you so much for having me here today. My pleasure. Thanks for taking time to meet with us and we’re going to be talking about one of my favorite subjects, which is business development, among other things, we’re not going to limit it. Just to that, but I’d like to get your perspective for you. What is business development? I would say if I could really simplify it. Business development is helping our prospects and clients solve their biggest problems, and ideally it involves the products and services that we provide, but not always, but we’re thought we’re solving problems in advising our top prospects and clients.
Tell me about your journey: how did you get into this field yeah? So my my road is a bit of a winding road, so if anybody listening here today has had a bit of a winding career or you’re looking at looking at what’s next, hopefully my experience can help you out of it. I got my start in technology, so I the first 10 years of my career, I was at IBM and at Lenovo and I had a pretty probably call a pretty standard sales role.
I was in b2b enterprise sales. I had a defined set of technology, products and services that I sold into public sector and corporate accounts, and I did that for about 10 years and then I got the entrepreneurial bug and jumped into becoming an entrepreneur and started a learning and development company total 180 Degree pivot started a learning and development company, and so now what that looks like today is I work primarily in professional services and technology, and I do keynote speaking and sales training so say sales is my specialty and I focus in professional services.
I just have to ask that that transition going from probably a very comfortable, respected position at a major corporation to jumping out on your own. How did that process happen? Was there some trigger that made that transition easier? I, when I think back on that, sometimes it’s better to know to just what you don’t know is better, because when I left the relative safety of Lenovo, this was in 2007.
So nobody really knew what was coming around the corner right in 2008 or 2009, but had I known, I may not have made that leap, and you know, as a combination of I think, that it’s just it’s in my it’s been in my DNA, a little bit To have leadership to have that entrepreneurial bug that drive, but it was just, it was a combination of opportunity and timing, and so I had the opportunity presented to me.
I was able to get into this learning and development space. I had had full of good years and sales and business development and was able to to have have something to fall back on. While I built a business and then I really just had to make the decision, because I will still never forget calling my leader, it was at Lenovo, then at the time for calling my leader and resigning. My job and I remember hanging up the phone after talking with him and thinking for a little while, oh my gosh, what did I just do I just quit my job and now I’m an entrepreneur and it’s one foot in front of the other, even when you Have big visions, it’s one foot in front of the other? What do you think was key for you being able to just pay the bills and survive during those early days of your business? I think it goes back to your first question in what is Business Development? The ability to do business development and to sell those selling skills sure have served me better, at least in the beginning than anything else when it came to starting a business.
So, even if you’re running a book of business in your firm or you are running a practice or you’re looking to lead a practice, those business development and scout selling skills hands down number one. What helps me the most, so you mentioned that business development is helping people solving problems, and I absolutely love that definition, and so let’s talk about some of the nitty-gritty. How does that play out in an architecture firm specifically that wants to grow their book of business right? You know it’s one thing to say: well, I do business development because I solve problems right.
It’s another thing to have the the process and the framework that helps you identify the right prospects and clients the right problems to solve, so that it translates into business for the firm right one of the things that I have found in this it. This is definitely a professional services, something I’ve seen in professional services, not just architecture but across professional services, for all the rigor and process that we put around the services and what we bring to market we’re very disciplined that what I have seen, though, is an opportunity To build that same type of discipline and structure around how we develop business and how we sell so so to that end, back to your original question, I have a four-part framework that I work through whenever I am looking to develop new business, and I will apply That to any prospect or any even existing clients, but it’s about having the right intelligence about what’s happening with your prospect or client.
What’s the problem to solve, it is the right relationships and the right access to key decision-makers, key influencers, people that are involved in the decision, it’s being able to put together ideas, whether it’s formally in a proposal or an RFP or in some other way, but being Able to propose valuable ideas to that prospect or client and then being able to gain commitment to move forward throughout the process.
So that’s the structure. That’s helped me to actually take that desire to be a problem solver and put some structure and some action behind it. I love that four-part framework walk me through each of these. If you would number one, what are the challenges? How do we go about identifying the right problem identifying the right problems, the key there’s lots of problems to solve, but how do we know which one’s the right problem in, which is the one that our firm is best positioned to solve right? So one of the exercises that I will often do with clients is taking a look at the verticals that they’re serving there.
There are many different ways to get to this, but one of the things I found most helpful is to look at the verticals that we’re serving are we serving the verticals that are the best fit for us? So using myself as an example, professional services is a vertical that is a great fit for me for a number of reasons. So I put all of my outbound business development efforts into that professional services niche.
So you can take that same idea and apply it in your firm. What are the top verticals that we are most successful in to most the best engagements, the most profitable, the clients that we enjoy the most? How can we amplify that so verticals and knowing our best client sets can help us uncover? What are the right problems to solve? Okay, so we know we know our verticals. That would be like, let’s say, for instance, I’m in the healthcare niche or potentially we’re doing community centers for governments, or they were doing hospitality projects.
These are our verticals. How would you recommend like what is the problem, that an architecture firm is solving? What are some? Let’s say with professional services: do you ever see people making a mistake in terms of thinking they’re solving one problem for their client, but solving another one, possibly yeah, so I’m or we’re not clear on what it is that they’re really trying to accomplish. So you could take any one of those verticals that you just mentioned, and two places to be able to start are to make sure that we’re staying ahead of what are the trends happening in the industry.
So, just from a big industry level picture level that big picture what’s happening in the industry that could be creating problems for our clients that we are in a position to solve. Is there perhaps a maybe in the world of architecture? There is a sustainability issue, or there there’s some some type of issue that we are really well positioned to to be in front of so take in that big-picture strategic view.
But then, if you have clients in that space today, what conversations are we having with those clients to understand what problems? Do you see us solving for you and what are you coming up against that we could potentially be a partner for you in solving those problems. I think sometimes we underestimate our current clients and what they’re willing to share with us, especially if we have a great relationship.
You know my audience is they’re very, very smart, I’ll give them that they’re, smart they’re, highly educated professionals, very, very astute, and one thing that I find with architects and in general and I’m an architect myself. Is that sometimes let us say that our intelligence gets in the way of perhaps our ability to persuade to lead and to see things from our other people’s perspectives so constantly when I cuz I’ll, do a thought exercise with my audience and say: okay, what is what Is the problem you’re solving architects many times come back with? Well we’re solving facility needs we’re solving the problem of our client doesn’t have a building.
So if we take that second piece, we’re solving facility needs we’re solving the need that our client doesn’t have a building. That’s the surface of what we’re solving for or what the ultimate outcome will be. The ultimate outcome is going to be if we are going to help our clients design and build a facility or whatever that looks like if you peel that back a couple of layers. What we’ll build in that facility do for that client? What’s the underlying challenge, that’s making them go to market to say we want to find the exact right architecture firm to help us solve and build this build the new facility or what’s the underlying root cause.
That is making them go to market and then going another layer. What will that do for the organization or the individual decision makers that are involved in making this big risky decision? What’s it going to do for them to solve this? Will they grow market share? Will they be able to better serve their own clients? Will there be some kind of social impact in the community? What’s the value of going through everything that you go through to make a decision to build a facility? So if you can get a few layers, deep, deeper you’re going to differentiate yourself more so than other firms that are just looking at well, the problem that we’re solving is we’re building a facility or rebuild we’re building this community center, whatever that is so that’s number One, the right problem, number two and our four steps here – are the right relationships.
Amy. How do we approach that? We now we have a problem. We have a deeper understanding of what the business reasons of our clients are. Where do we go from here? There’s some research, that’s done by corporate executive board, which I believe is now part of Gartner, and this is a broad, broad brush statement, not just specific to professional services or architecture, but in their research. They look at various industries and they look at the decision makers within those industries and what they have found is that for any given opportunity, any given problem that you’re looking to solve there can be upwards of 6.
8 decision-makers in any of these problems or opportunities. So what that tells me is that the more complex the problem, the riskier the problem, the more people – are involved in making that decision, and they may not be directly involved in the decision, but they could be influencing it in some way. The lesson for us is that, when we’re building relationships, we’re really we’re really conditioned and comfortable to build the relationships in silos that the departments that were used to building relationships with the people that may just they may be our peers or they may be end-users within Our clients, but what we have to do is we have to start getting broader across the organization and sometimes we even have to get outside of the organization to be building relationships.
So the right relationships is doing the work to identify who might be making a decision for this work that we are looking to earn this business that we’re looking to earn and do we have. We are we building relationships with them or are we may be missing? Some relationships people are so busy nowadays Amy that often at times it’s easy to say well, they’re so busy that you know how can I reach out to them? They don’t want a new relationship.
Where do we go from there? The first place that I always go is I look at the relationships that I currently have. So let’s say that you are someone that I’d like to build a relationship with, because your organization is one that I might be looking to earn business with. But you don’t know me, I don’t know you and you’re exactly right. We are so busy. We have so many emails in our inbox. We have so many emails and our social platforms we’re hard we’re hard to get a hold of.
So, where I go, is there there are or key groups that I look to make sure I have relationships with the first thing I’m going to do is if I want to build a relationship with you, I’m going to look for someone that we have a common Connection with and that I have a relationship with that might be willing to introduce the two of us. That’s someone, it might be a center of influence. They might be an advocate someone that trusts me enough to say you know what I’m willing to risk a little bit of social capital to introduce, Amy and Nina, and then that that’s always where I start, I try not to do cold.
I try to avoid cold introductions wherever possible because that’s typically, where they get lost in the black hole, but but the for groups to just circle. Back to this, the four groups are advocates: centers of influence, your decision makers and your strategic partners. That’s where I’m looking to build relationships every time within my within my prospects or my clients, can you give me an example of a center of influence? Yeah? Absolutely so I define a center of influence, it could either be a person or it can be an organization.
So either way, but a person or an organization that provides the right access the right opportunities, they might provide the environment for me to meet the relationships, the people that I need to be building relationships with so use it using a using an individual example. So if there is a an organization that I would like to potentially do business with, I’m going to look at who the different relationships are in that organization and then I’m going to look at who I know who might be centers of influence that could help introduce Me into that organization, okay, so we have that make sense.
So we have advocates, we have center of influence, we have strategic partners and what was the fourth? The fourth is decision makers. Okay decision makers. We know what decision makers are, I believe, hopefully advocates. What’s an advocate, an advocate is someone who is willing to use their own social capital there reputation if you will to open a door on your behalf. They have trust in you and so because they have trust in you.
You are credible. You’ve done great work. You’ve solved problems for other prospects and clients. They are willing to open a door on your behalf. They might help make an introduction to a high level person. Maybe they make an introduction for you if you’re looking to speak at a conference, whatever goals you have, those are the people that will help open doors on your behalf and you might be an advocate for someone else.
There might be someone else out there saying you know Amy or Enoch. You are someone who can open a door for me, I’d like to ask for some help, so not to ever underestimate the fact that we could be seen as an advocate in someone else’s eyes, and how would you define strategic partners that was the last one on Your four-part list here yeah so a strategic partner, is I like to think of them as complementary businesses, calm people who are selling complementary products or services so but they’re calling into your same market.
So in your firm as you’re. Looking at your firm who are the individuals or other organizations that maybe do some things that are complementary to you, but they work with the same clients or prospects that you work with when we can identify who those individuals or organizations are and we build relationships with Them that can help open doors. It can help us partner on projects yeah be able to help us bid on projects and engagements that perhaps the otherwise might not be able to do.
But it’s a way of amplifying your relationships makes sense. Number three: our list of our four steps to effective business development Amy, is to propose ideas. They have a way to propose those ideas convincingly. So if you take a look at the last five proposals that your firm did – and I see this very often regardless of industry – the chances are really really good. That the vast majority of that proposal is about your firm and what you do and the clients you’ve served and all the projects that you’ve done.
That is the natural place to go, and those things are important. Please don’t get me wrong. We have to have credibility. What you have to be able to back up our work? We need to have those case studies you studies all of that stuff. But when I’m in front of a prospect or a client – and I have gotten to the point where I have earned the right to put together some proposed solutions to the problems that we’re trying to solve what I’m looking to do, every time is I’m trying to Take myself out of the equation, and I want to flip it, so the focus is on them.
What are the outcomes that they’re looking to accomplish? What is the value that they will get from accomplishing those outcomes, and where does where do my ideas or my solutions fit into that equation? So it becomes about them first and then about us second, and in that process they can start to see themselves working with us, because we are more focused on them, less focused on us, but then, when they do want to know more about what we bring to The table, where have you done this for other clients? What kind of case studies do you have? We absolutely have all that when the time’s right do.
You have an example, Amy of to help us really understand this process of a client firm, someone that you may have worked with in the past that had maybe they had these four things kind of in kind of existing. But when you came in, you really helped them hone them, specifically with the idea about proposing the right ideas and what that transformation looks like yeah. So when I am doing this work with clients, but I would I ask them to do.
Is I ask them to bring an opportunity with them, so whenever I’m helping them work through these four pieces of the framework, we ask them to bring an opportunity so that there’s something very specific that they’re applying all of this to, and so when it comes to The this proposal piece and really trying to flip flip this on its head. What I will often ask them to do is when we look at the problem, that’s trying to be solved.
What we work through is alright. So, let’s talk about the outcomes that they’re looking to get it to it’s, not building the facility if it’s not building the center. Yes, that that is, that is ultimately what they will have. But what outcomes will they get by going through that process? So, and sometimes it takes some iterations to get there because we’re very conditioned to say well, the outcome is the: the outcome is the building.
The outcome is what I’m delivering to them, whatever that happens to be, but really digging into what? What are the outcomes? First and then what value will they get from getting to those outcomes? Will they have better engagement? Will they have better client relations? Will they have better shareholder value whatever? That is so. We really take the time to dig into those, and then we say all right now that we know what we’re trying to solve, for what are the potential solutions that we bring to the table that could match up with this, and you rarely get it in one Shot you have to have to really go back and continue to work with.
The client have some iterations back and forth, and this is where one of those pieces of the proposal process comes into play, which is co-creation. It doesn’t work in every scenario, especially if you do a lot of formal RFPs, so you have to adapt this for your situations, but in any time when I’m able to co-create the solution debate it back and forth. Look at the pros and cons make adjustments here and there they have a hand and creating it, and I have better odds of them, seeing themselves working with me and better odds of them closing that business.
So when I’m doing that work with clients, we actually look at that that co-creation piece as well. Do you have an example of a client that you’ve worked with a company that comes to mind of when they crystallise these ideas and what that looked like for them? Yeah, so so I’m thinking back to a thinking back to a client. It was probably one of my largest clients and they are there in the services space and they had actually put out a really large RFP.
If you have ever been through your fair share of RFPs there, there are a lot of hours that go into it and you don’t necessarily know what is going if you’re even going to be selected. So a traditional RFP process you’re getting selected to a final three and then you have the opportunity to present so anybody listening if you’ve been in that spot you’ve been selected as the final three and now you have an opportunity to be in front of that prospector That client to present, that is, where I’d seen the biggest with the client that I’m thinking of that was where we really had the opportunity to shine and the opportunity to win, because I wasn’t the biggest.
I was not the biggest solution provider. I was definitely one of the smaller ones, but what I was able to do was be more creative, be more nimble. I brought my team with me to the presentation process and I made it a very collaborative presentation and environment by inviting them to ask questions by inviting them to take a look at the solutions and let’s talk through those solutions together that collaboration right there live and In-Person is what I believe led to us winning that business, because none of my competitors did it and the other thing that my competitors did not do in that situation.
I interviewed every person that was going to be in that presentation and my competitors didn’t ask for that access and because they didn’t ask they didn’t get the background intelligence that I was able to gather and use that in my presentation to help show how I could Solve their problems, so hopefully that example helps put a little bit more help. Someone visualize how you might be able to use that in your business development situations, especially when you’re in a presentation scenario with a prospector client.
Okay. So just so I’m clear this was a presentation that you were making to secure business for your company. Yes, absolutely got it okay. So let’s move on to our fourth item here, which is a gain commitment Amy. What are some of the challenges that you see that people have around gaining commitment? Gaining commitment is one of those things that we, you can call it closing whatever we call it, but closing and gaining commitment are one of those things that we tend to think of.
In a linear way, we put forth a proposal, we respond to the RFP, whatever that happens to look like, and we put closing at the end of this linear process, and I think we make it into more than what we make it your deal than it needs To be, we avoid it, we think of it as being aggressive and pushy when, in fact, it should be a natural part of the business development process. So if we can take a look at gaining commitment in closing, business is something to be thinking about.
At the beginning of the client development process, and not just at the end of the client development process, taking a look at the different commitments that we will need to provide to a prospect or client to give them confidence in doing business with us. The commitments that we will need from them in order to help put forth the best solution to solve the problems. When we look at that it from the at the beginning and map that out as best we can – and you know knowing that it changes along the way we improve our odds of putting giving that prospect.
Your client, the confidence in us that we will burn that business and be able to execute well on the engagement, and then it becomes a more natural part of the business development process because we’ve been doing it the entire time. When we do this conversation of commitments. Very interesting and in the architecture industry, I’m sure it’s not too dissimilar from other industries that you work in Amy there’s been a huge slide in the control that architects actually have during the closing or commitment process.
What’s happened is buyers because they they’ve tilted the scale. So much in their power that they want to reduce the buying process to send us. Your list send us 25 products that you’ve worked on where you’ve delivered. These kind of results show us. Your team show us your staff member, then we’re going to go into some seclude a little room, we’re going to run the numbers in the metrics and we’re going to see which firms come top and we’re going to choose between those.
So it’s very different from I know in this industry the way it used to be even 20 years ago, where you know, if you had the right relationship, you knew the right people you went in. You had a coffee, you had some lunch and they trusted you and they knew you’d deliver a good work deal done. Let’s move ahead now, especially working with governments, and a lot of these other clients is becoming more and more this this this game, where it seems like the tables, are flipped and the powers so much in the buyers side.
What suggestions do you have Amy to flip? That table yeah, so so what you’re describing I see it across professional services? I see in other industries as well, and I think some of the irony with that is we talk about how buyers today are they have so much more access to information? There’s so much more well researched and well informed, and I think that that’s true to a degree. But sometimes I wonder, are they getting the information, the right information from the right places and are they taking time to allow experts the right experts to educate them throughout their decision-making process? So I what you just described, I have had happen to me.
I have seen across industries and and there’s probably a couple, a couple different things at play here: more from a strategic just thinking through our clients and our verticals they’re, going to be those prospects and clients that that is what they do and we are never going To work around that process, because that is what they value, and so then we have a tough decision to make as to whether that’s a prospect or a client that we want to continue to engage with, and the answer might completely be yes, because this is somebody.
This is a valuable logo. This is a client that we’ve done business with for a number of years, but it’s just making an informed decision about that. But more more tactically thinking about how, if I’m in the position of being a business developer and I’m on the receiving end of some of these tactics from a prospect or client a couple of things that have been helpful to me. The first is: what unique ID can I bring to the table, and can I find the right decision makers to influencers to share them with one of the biggest difference makers between whether or not someone does business with us or they go somewhere else or they choose To do nothing are the ideas that we bring to the table.
So that’s the first thing that I’m going to do do. I know enough about their organizational challenges, what’s happening in their industries, to be able to bring some unique informed ideas to them and then, secondly, do I have access to the right people to bring those ideas forward. So I’m going to look in my network and, if I’m being, if those things are happening to me, the client or the prospect is going off into a secluded, dark room and they’re making choices.
You know outside of what what I think the choices are. They might want to want to be making I’m going to go into my network and see if I can somehow gain access in to at least have a conversation. So those are two things that I will try to do when I’m on the receiving into that excellent Amy. We’ve gone over four four: very clear steps about business development. What else would you like to add to this conversation when we think about typical challenges or messages? You’d like to get across to our audience yeah, you know I often get asked you know what what’s the what’s, the number-one thing that we should be building is business developers and they eyes has hesitate to just give one think.
There’s lots of things that we can be doing, but I feel like if there’s one thing that I see continually successful business developers in any industry and specifically in professional services and in in the architecture space as well is learning agility and learning agility is the ability To be able to see ahead of the curve to be unbecoming, one known comfortable with the uncomfortable to have a really high figured out factor.
We will often get thrown into the deep end of the pool when it comes to business development and we may get thrown a curve ball by a prospect or client how well do adapt to those curveballs and it all comes down to what’s what our mindset is. We control our mindset and our ability to to learn to be agile to adapt. That is going to dictate so much of our success because we will see we will. We will learn from failure.
We will learn from success, we’ll take it forward to the next opportunity and you master that you will have exponential success. What tools or resources have you found Amy speaking about this idea of mindset and these inner kind of underneath the level surface level skills? What have you found to be valuable for developing that? Because, let’s face it, it’s not like can go to university, I’m not going to teach you how to improve your mindset be resilient right.
So so a couple things that I’ve done over the years is, I have coaches and mentors in my life and I hire coaches to help me with specific things that I want to work on. It might be, you know, I’m in the business development space, but I have hired coaches to help me with sales and business development. I have hired coaches to help me work on my mindset and give me strategies to be able to problem-solve, even if your firm doesn’t offer that kind of opportunity, or they don’t provide the ability to expend something like that.
I encourage you to find it yourself and be willing to invest in it yourself, so I hire coaches. When I need them, that’s one. That’s one tool, I’m a big reader. I am always reading all different kinds of books, all different kinds of genres, so just that that that desire to be learning something new and different. I really think, contributes to mindset, and you know the last one and this one is a huge work-in-progress for me.
I haven’t mastered this one even a little bit, but it’s getting the right sleep and the right amount of sleep. Our sleep does a lot to help us control our emotions, our energy levels, our decision-making processes, our mindset. So this is that’s another thing. That’s if, if, if anybody out there, has that one mastered, I definitely want to hear from you Amy. What have you found to be effective for getting the right amount of sleep? I’m a big believer in this as well.
What have you found to be effective? Well, I find that getting for me getting like eight to nine hours of sleep that the right amount of sleep I’ve found for myself. That’s what I am optimal at, even though I don’t don’t get it on many days of the week and then also I take all the electronics out of my bedroom. Like my phone sits in my office, I don’t leave it by my nightstands whenever I can avoid it.
So if I can get the electronics out and take a break from those for an hour or two before heading to sleep, that right, there usually helps me because it’s a keeps keeps the mind from racing and just how it helps me to slow down a little Bit got it well, let’s face it being an entrepreneur business person like yourself Amy, who has so many great things going on keynote speaking: training, launching a development and training and learning company, not an easy task.
Do you have any rituals or things you do to maintain? The level of energy that clearly you have keep that mindset sharp. I have energy routines, so you might hear that hear them called different things that I call them energy routines and an energy routine is anything that helps you recharge and refuel, and it can be anything from fitness, routine, nutrition, routine, meditation, whatever works for you individually.
For me, it’s my fitness routines, so I I have. I do indoor cycling, I lift weights. I do bar classes, I’m someone who likes to do a lot of different things, but even when I travel I try to fit in some type of fitness. Some type of movement exercise, because that helps me to keep my energy up awesome Amy. If people want to find out more about the wonderful thing you’re doing, where can they go yeah so I’ll point the two places if you’d like to get a copy of the modern seller which is dives into a number of the topics that we talked about today? That’s available on Amazon, so you can just go out to Amazon and search for the modern seller and then secondly I’ll point you to my website, which is Amy, Franko, calm, excellent, Amy, Franco.
Thank you. It’s been a pleasure having you here on the business of architecture. Show, oh, you know, thank you so much I appreciate being here, and that is a wrap as a podcast listener. I’d like to invite you to two free online educational seminars for firm owners. The first teaches you how to structure your firm to avoid the overwhelm and fires that played so many firm owners if you’re ready to move from overwhelmed operator to excited owner visit business of architecture, comm forge slash freedom, webinar to access this free online training.
The second seminar you can access shows you how to attract your ideal clients to your firm, consistently day in and day out, go to architect, webinar comm, to access this training. The views expressed on this show by my guests do not represent those of the host, and I make no representation. Promise guarantee pledge, warranty, contract bond or commitment, except to help you conquer the world, carpe diem
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