Bill Becker

Be a Weirdo Make a Lot of Money

Tim Denning recently wrote an article titled, “If You Fit In, You Are Replaceable.” It wasn’t geared towards salespeople but it absolutely applies. Take my career for example. I started out selling radio advertising. I had spent the few years selling radio ads to traditional customers like car dealers and furniture stores. I wanted to separate myself from all the other radio salespeople, including the ones at my own station. So I figured out what kinds of businesses weren’t being targeted. I also wanted to do “direct response” advertising. 

What is direct response advertising? It’s where commercials instruct the listener or viewer to take a specific action, usually by calling a number or using a code during checkout on a website. Sales are made and tracked by the number of calls or website visits. There’s no wondering, “How did my advertising work?” Direct response customers do! For most salespeople that’s scary because of the accountability, but…with accountability comes opportunity ($$$)!

No one was calling on HR departments, so I did! Commercials would start out with something like this, “Are you or someone you know a nurse?” Guess what, I just lost…97% of my audience, but it didn’t matter, If the listener was a nurse or had a friend or family member who was a nurse, they listened! The commercial then talked about the great opportunity that the advertiser had for nurses.

HR directors and recruiters could easily do the math based on what they invested in advertising vs the return on qualified candidates. It was easy to get them to renew and use those success stories to land more clients! I turned that work into a brand new recruitment advertising division for another (larger) radio group. 

Tim also talked about, “Patient People Don’t Fit In.” I am a lot of things, but patient ain’t one of them. In the job I retired from, which like Tim was selling IT, I was working on landing a customer and had hit a roadblock because they needed a AWS account to do some final testing and it takes weeks if not months for corporate IT to approve a cloud account. My company obviously didn’t want to give a prospect an cloud account without assurances that we’d get paid if they ran up an enormous bill. What did I do, I got them an account myself. I put it on my oldest credit card that didn’t have that high of a limit. My bosses weren’t mad but they also weren’t crazy about the idea either. It was all part of my motto of, I don’t selling anything…I figure shit out.

I didn’t have time for corporate nonsense, which ironically is why I ended up retiring a year early but I digress. The point is be weird, think outside the box. It will be harder to replace you and you can make a lot of money.

Happy Selling!