LAST CALL: Starkman displays a real nose for finding new clients

Eric Starkman had a cold. Actually, it was a sinus infection, a chronic affliction he's been coping with for years. But after a recent visit to the doctor, the PR pro, who founded New York-based Starkman & Associates, left the doctor's office with clear sinuses and a new client.

Eric Starkman had a cold. Actually, it was a sinus infection, a chronic affliction he's been coping with for years. But after a recent visit to the doctor, the PR pro, who founded New York-based Starkman & Associates, left the doctor's office with clear sinuses and a new client.

Over the years, Starkman had seen several specialists about his sinusitis only to be disappointed by the remedies each of them prescribed. So at the urging of one his clients, Starkman went to see renowned ear, nose, and throat specialist Scott Gold, who New York Magazine named as one of the "best doctors" in New York as part an annual survey.

The good doctor mentioned to Starkman that he had developed a new treatment for sinusitis so popular with his patients that he was beginning to market it over-the-counter. After years of suffering with chronic nasal problems, Starkman reports that he was hardly able to contain his glee.

"He could see I was very excited about the product," said Starkman. "The conversation then turned to me, and he asked what I did for a living."

Starkman mentioned that he ran a PR firm, and after a subsequent meeting with Gold and his business partner Robert Pincus, Starkman secured the PR account for "SaltAire," a remedy for patients with chronic sinusitis and allergic rhinitis.

Starkman has a knack for netting clients in the unusual places. In a similar instance, Starkman once wandered into a New York coffee shop, and after striking up a conversation with the manager, landed a meeting with the marketing head. He later landed the account as the coffee chain was looking to expand.

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