I must admit that I came to this realization very early in life. My first job was as a gas station attendant at a Mobile Oil station earning the princely sum of 75 cents an hour. Just for context, gas then was selling for about 33 cents a gallon.
Junior Achievement (Remember Them?) Showed Me The Way
But, during my night off from the gas station (Mondays), I was part of the formation of a Junior Achievement company. (I don't even remember the last time I even heard of that organization.) Our company was sponsored by the gas company and our products were baked goods. We managed to lose money for most of the year - no matter what we baked. Then it was time for our last product drive: coconut Easter eggs covered with chocolate.
Hard to believe but my cohorts had selected me at the beginning of the year to be the VP of manufacturing - an officer of the company. I got together with the VP of Sales (Danny - another officer of the company) and we decided we were going to do whatever it took to put our little enterprise in the black for the year.
Whatever It Took Was The Order Of The Day
So we hand carried small batches of inventory and struck out for gold and glory. Danny and I took a few days and stood outside a group of office building in downtown Pittsburgh, PA and started pitching to business people the minute they walked outside the door on their way to lunch...walking with them until they reached a sidewalk and crossed the street. After lunch, we repeated the process from the sidewalks to the building doors. We talked to literally hundreds and hundreds of prospects. And tried to make multiple sales to the prospect every single time.
On the weekend (mainly a couple of Saturdays), we spent all day going door to door hawking our goods. We pitched over and over and over again. We gave it all we had. Guess what? The sales of Easter eggs put our company in the black for the year. Our company was judged to be a success in the JA world. Effort played a significant role in our success. It didn't hurt that our Easter eggs were mouth-watering good. So, if you have something good, you got to spread the word.
My later journey of 20 years was in the commercial radio business selling advertising to small businesses. Another secret revealed itself and I've come to believe it's a key to most success. I made it rain! When a small business ran advertising with me and my station, they generated new customers and much more sales - almost every single time.
Mastery Is A Golden Skill
Thanks to a few early mentors (most notable the great Larry Kindel), I was taught the art of mastery of the radio advertising medium. Basically, the six months I worked with and learned from Larry taught me enough lessons to last for a lifetime of earning success. I still believe the most valuable skill any salesperson can have is the ability to make the product or service work for a client. Making rain. Mastery. Keys to the kingdom.By the time I was hired as the key sales person for a new NBA team, I was ready. I had the luxury of a 90 day period invested solely in learning the benefits that come to NBA sponsors. When it was time to contact sponsors, we had a game plan set.
Growing From Zero Dollars To Over 20 Million Rocked
Our little group (three of us) started from scratch. The first year we topped 5 million in sales. By the time I left that team after 10 years, my department - of which I was the head - generated over 13 million direct dollars and had a hand in securing and maintaining another 6-7 million in indirect funds to our team.
Our team was based in a smaller market...about number 20 or 22 ranked in population. Yet, our revenue outpaced much larger markets like every other city but New York (#1), Los Angeles (#2 with Magic Johnson), Chicago (#3 with the great Michael Jordan), and Detroit. 29 teams. #22nd market...number 5 in revenue among all 29 NBA teams.
And I was blessed because the vast majority of my income was based on revenue generation. If my group didn't sell, neither my group nor I ate very well. Fortunately, my percentage of sales deal provided me with an income that in that last year that was mighty, mighty fine.When you can add $20 million to a company's bottom line from scratch, you normally will - and ought to - get paid pretty well.
In A Job, Returning A Lot Of Value To Your Employer Is Key
It didn't really matter that I was a nice person or that I was a hard worker. My age really didn't matter, either. What mattered is I brought a great deal of value to my employer. It mattered that sponsors continued to pay us vast sums of money to be associated with our team. Let's be honest. It also didn't hurt that the team added vast value to the deal when they drafted future Hall-Of-Fame inductee Shaquille Oneal.
Tell the children. Tell the teenagers. If you want to acquire and keep a job, you have to bring a lot more value (and I do mean a lot of value) to your employer. That's the "pitch point" to get the job - the amount of value you will bring way above your cost. You must be a value-add employee. You must bring a far more monetary value to a employer than you cost. That's the real secret.
Simple. Pass it on. Tell everybody.
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