The Sales Savvy of Billy Mays
Okay, I have to admit that sometimes Billy Mays yelling got to me a little. But somehow I trusted his recommendations. I thought it was fascinating that my twenty-one year old son and his friends LOVED Billy Mays. They thought he was “way better” than the Sham-Wow guy. Let’s face it, some fans even had “Billy Mays for President” shirts during the presidential election. Billy Mays created what should be an oxymoron – a loveable pitch-man. The more he yelled, the more we liked him.
According to USA Today, Billy Mays started out selling portable washing machines on the Atlantic boardwalk (talk about a tough job!), and struck gold when he met a rival salesman named Max Appel, who was the found of Orange Glo International. He was hired by the company to promote their line of products on HSN which included OxiClean™, Orange Clean™, Orange Glo™ and Kaboom™. Can’t you just hear Billy yelling “KABOOM!” right now?
So, what did we learn about selling from Billy Mays?
1. Be happy. Billy Mays smiled all the time – and it seemed sincere. Who doesn’t want to be around somebody who’s happy? His smile reflected a belief in the products he represented, and a love for what he did. No hesitation, just happy.
2. Brand yourself. He started every commercial with “Hi, Billy Mays here!” He started this introduction just so people would know who he was and that he was personally recommending the product. A by-product was that everyone learned his name. Notice that everyone talks about the “Sham-Wow” guy but nobody knows his name. Do you? If you’re going to gain trust with any client, throw your name behind the product — and make sure your name is repeatedly associated with it. People do business with people, not products.
3. Work harder than everyone else. It always appeared that Billy was putting every ounce of energy he had into every commercial he did. He never seemed to be “phoning it in.” If he was representing a product, he was using it vigorously -whether talking on a phone or wiping a shower door. So, work hard. And look like you’re working hard.
4. Be proud of what you do. Billy Mays never seemed ashamed of being a salesperson. More than that, he was proud of his occupation. The world often resents salespeople because they make money. It’s not a con – it’s the unique ability to move people. Billy Mays was proud of what he did. Are you?
That’s it. And, by the way, if you refuse to admit you are a salesperson I hope that you have great salespeople around you to help you succeed. You’ll need them.