How Woody Allen’s advice helps salespeople

Staff Writer

“Showing Up is 80% of Life!” said Woody Allen – movie actor, comedian and director in a 1977 New York Times article.

Through the years it has been mangled and misquoted in many ways, including changing the 80% to 90% and “life” to either “success” or “winning”. Commonly you’ll see it as "90% of success is just showing up".

That background aside, Woody was right on the money when it comes to selling generally and radio sales specifically. You have to show up or do something to make a sales event happen!!

Let’s face it… media sales is a lot tougher than it used to be.

  • There’s more competition
  • The true decision makers are more difficult to get hold of and then get in front of
  • Buying decisions seem to take longer, more often
  • Budgets are being squeezed


These challenges can sometimes make it seem impossible to find ways to increase your sales revenue, but in my opinion it’s about that little number – ONE. A small number that can have a huge impact. Why? Because it all comes back to doing something, an activity.

Here are some ideas:

  • Make one more call every day (face to face or on the phone). How many meetings and subsequent sales could this result in?
  • Start work one hour early at least one day each week. An extra hour first thing in the morning could be a great way to reach decision-makers or knock over some paperwork.
  • Add one more strong connection to your LinkedIn professional network every day.
  • Get one of your best customers to write you a testimonial or ask for one more referral.
  • Invest one day every month improving your sales skills and techniques by attending seminars, reading books, viewing webinars or videos.
  • Ask one more great question during a prospect meeting, a question the prospect says “gee, no one has ever asked me that before”.
  • Handle one more objection before you give up and accept that the appointment can’t be made, the proposal can’t be accepted or why the price is too high.
  • Write and send just one more prospecting email – or one more “thank you” or follow up email. Maybe one more reminder to a prospect about a meeting.
  • Call a regular client and give them one more good idea to help grow their business.
  • Publish one blog on the effective use of radio advertising every week.
  • Attend one extra networking event each week. You never know who you’ll meet and who they’ll help you connect with.


Using the unrealised power of one and showing up in lots of different ways and lots of different places might just prove that old Woody’s saying was right.

Then again maybe the last word belongs to one of my heroes and that great motivational speaker and sales trainer Zig Ziglar, who said: “There are no traffic jams on the extra mile.”

Stephen Pead is a media industry sales and marketing veteran of 30 years with significant experience in sales, sales management and general management. He is based in Sydney and specialises in providing training and coaching for salespeople and sales managers.

He can be contacted at [email protected]

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