Confidence is Key

Although I didn’t know Paul McCabe when he was at Standard Radio, I had certainly met him at industry functions from time to time.

Since I retired from Rogers, our paths crossed several times as we networked to develop our respective independent businesses.

A few years back, Paul decided to leave the relative security of his well-paid marketing position to strike out on his own. Standard was sorry to lose him but he saw an opportunity to start a sales training business and grabbed it.

In my case, young men and women of energetic capacity were regularly measuring my office for drapes so it was time for me to move along. As it turned out, I was invited by several firms to undertake a variety of projects which would keep me out of the malls. And I was interested in staying active, out of my wife’s hair and, of course, making money has always appealed to me.

Paul McCabe’s gutsy decision fascinated me. He is a fairly new, mid-40s dad and the primary source of revenue to support a somewhat upscale lifestyle.

I have always admired risk takers. Although many of my family and friends questioned several of my career moves, they should have known that I was really a pretty conservative guy – occasionally irresponsible rather than innovative.

Some years ago, I joined with Peter Simpson who was just getting Media Buying Services started. I left All Canada (remember them) to be Peter’s VP – New Business Development. Peter remains a fascinating figure – primarily in the feature film production business – but he was positively unique in those days, starting a business that neither stations, reps nor agencies wanted to see survive.

Over dinner one night, Peter explained why I would never make a good entrepreneur. He said, ‘You like money too much. You think of money as something to store up and keep for a rainy day.’

I agreed but wondered what he thought money was for.

‘It’s not something you ever own,’ he explained. ‘You use it to play the game – whatever the game is. Most people say they’re too young, or too old, or they don’t have enough money, or they have some and don’t want to lose it, and like that. But the truth is an entrepreneur is a gambler and you’re not a gambler.’

He was right. He and Rick Guest and I later started a rep shop but it didn’t last – mainly because I didn’t want to risk too much of my capital.

So I asked Paul McCabe what had given him the courage to go out on his own. He didn’t really think it was courage; more like confidence. Like many of us he had seen many trainers and training programs and simply came to believe he could deliver an excellent product in an entertaining and educational fashion.

Apparently he was right. Of course, it hasn’t been easy breaking into a competitive market that regards an expert as someone from New York or California. But now, well into his fourth year as Paul McCabe & Associates, Paul has a solid list of satisfied and repeat customers across the country. Several are former competitors of McCabe’s.

At the heart of any success a Peter Simpson or a Paul McCabe has is the ability to market and sell themselves. It’s at the heart of any successful business, particularly broadcasting.

Is there any particular sales attribute that’s more important than all the others?

‘Enthusiasm,’ says McCabe. ‘When you look at all of the characteristics that most successful sales people share, the most significant feature is usually their pure unadulterated enthusiasm. Enthusiasm for their company, their product; their job. Enthusiasm for life itself. It’s infectious and is felt in a tangible way by prospects.’

Norman Vincent Peale was right. ‘Positive people get positive results.’

I thought back to meeting Simpson in 1970 when MBS was not only a new business but also a new concept in Canada. Perhaps the only person who was enthusiastic about the tiny company’s future was Peter.

As it turns out – that was all that was needed

John Gorman is President of John Franklin & Associates Inc.
He can be reached by phone at (905) 642-0861 or by e-mail