Why Ari Gold is the Best Sales Coach You’ve Never Had
Entourage came out as a feature film less than a week ago, if you haven’t seen it already go check it out!
But this isn’t a post about the movie. To be honest, I wouldn’t watch it again, it’s like two episodes back to back with a slightly bigger spectacle. With that being said, it did prompt me to download Ari Gold’s Rules to Rule By audiobook, which almost surprisingly is one of the best books I’ve ever listened to.
The book is a satire about Ari’s character in the show, narrated by Jeremy Piven in character. The content may be fictional but the lessons are real and who knows, they might even spark an idea for your sales team (see rule #4)
If you haven’t already bought the book on audible I’ll go through my favourite 10 rules.
p.s. Get the audio version. Jeremy puts so much energy into the narration that even if you don’t agree with his ostentatious nature you’ll find some motivation in the delivery.
Rule #1 You Don’t Have Any Power Until You Have All the Power.
Ari reminds you that power isn’t defined by position but one’s ability to enact change on a whim. Or in other words, true power is the ability to move people, not products.
The example he uses is the POTUS. Without the luxury of discretion the President is limited to what he can actually do outside of the White House. A former president on the other hand has all the power he needs, he still holds the ultimate social status and the ability to get people to do whatever he wants.
For those of us who aren’t former President’s we can join the ranks of Ari’s powerful elite through a strong vision, unbreakable commitment and God like confidence.
Rule #2 Happiness Can’t Buy Money
Ari backs up this seemingly arrogant statement by saying there is no more important ambition than finding a job you love. Money is just the resource that makes it easier to find your purpose and reach your goals.
He argues that retirement, or sedation, shouldn’t be the goal. You need to “scratch and claw like a chilean miner to find a job you’re hooked on.” Because if you find something you love doing you’ll never retire and ultimately be a lot more happy than you would be with money alone.
Rule #3 Your Most Important Product is Heat
In sales it’s the difference between a nice to have and a need to have. In venture capital it’s the difference between bad terms and way over subscribed.
If you find yourself in a position with heat in your corner you better leverage it to the hilt. If you don’t have heat you need to find a way to create some; make it seem like your product is in high demand, that your potential customer has competitors already working with you, that the supply is limited, that the opportunity is limited, that the impact will be second to none…etc etc.
#4 Brand your G-Spot
Lady in the street but a freak in the bed. – Ludacris
This was my favourite rule in the book because of it’s originality. At Miller Gold (Ari’s agency) he wanted to collect data on his clients that would quantify the value they brought to any film beyond just tickets sold.
G-Spot is an acronym for; Gold stats, street volume, promise land, the big 0 and titilation factor.
Gold stats were based on the WARP score in baseball (wins above replacement player). Ari had his assistant Loyd track things like how the actor contributed to set stability, how often they would get re hired, their reliability etc.
Street volume is how loudly and often the actor’s name came up on the street. The key here for him was to find people who were in the “-est” club. The richest, sexiest, busiest and craziest to name a few. He could always sell a package with someone form the “-est” club at at least 10x any other actor.
Promise Land was a rare case but the point is some people are better tailored to certain audiences. If a basketball player wasn’t doing well in the NBA send them to China. A hockey player is losing their heat in the NHL, send them to Europe.
The big 0. Ari makes an amazing point here that in many cases, unlike sports, business is subjective. So like the infamous Floyd Mayweather don’t ever lose your perfect record, no matter what. There would be no instance when he would support a narrative that talked about his clients in a losing manor, deny deny deny was the motto.
Lastly, titilation factor. This had to do with an actors ability to infuse the imagination. It’s a metric quantifying whether or not they carried a spontaneous, mysterious, sometimes sexual aura about them.
In terms of sales Ari’s gold stats got me thinking. Especially for inbound software sales, tracking Sales Above Replacement Person would make a lot of sense. You would have to benchmark the activities that a prospect would need to take within your program before buying but if they are getting there on their own then that shouldn’t add to the rep’s score. This would be a perfect way to track the actual value they are bringing to the business. Essentially, the deals that are being closed that otherwise wouldn’t have.
Rule #5 Develop an ADA “attention deficit advantage
He tells a story of how he was diagnosed with this “disease” in College but refused to be medicated for it. Fearing the meds would be “rounding out his corners” and he would lose his edge, he peddled his Ritalin for favours on campus.
The point of the story being that any obstacle standing in your way can be flipped around and seen as a benefit, it’s just a matter of perception.
Rule #6 Abandon the Generation of Weakness
At Miller Gold there weren’t many rules when it came to communication between employees, however, there were a couple phrases that deemed immediate expulsion.
“But that’s not my job” and “That’s not fair” would get you sent packing faster than lighting your bosses desk on fire at any other job.
Ari looked for people who were tough, ambitious and loyal. If you were part of his team he would give you the keys to the city and every opportunity to be extraordinarily successful but if you displayed weakness or an attitude of self-righteousness you were gone in a moments notice.
I think the best part about how he described his team was as “earners” not employees. Each earner didn’t get employee reviews, they were building a business. It wasn’t a regular job that you do, they each were responsible for growing their business and that was the only measure of success.
Rule #9 Pay it Forward So You Get Paid Back
This chapter has probably the best story in the book. Ari had been trying to sign a big name actor for a while and was doing everything by the book as far as trying to win her business goes. The pitch was knowingly quite similar to every other firm in town but he was looking for any opportunity he could to gain an edge.
When the actress happened to notice a painting on the way out of his office and mentioned that she was just furnishing a new home Ari took that as his opportunity to wow the client. In a race against the clock he had her delayed in the lobby, the location of her new home found, the painting drove over and a note left saying “if you sign with me what’s mine is yours, whether it’s the shirt off my back or in this case the art off my wall”, all before she made it home that afternoon.
As the story goes, she immediately cancelled all her appointments and signed with Miller Gold. Not only did she sign with them but he got a number of other high profile clients from that story alone.
Rule #11 When I look in the mirror I see a better looking George Clooney
Being confident is an obvious pre requisite for any business person but Ari’s advice goes deeper.
He admits that everyone isn’t blessed in the same areas and some people may have gotten the short end of the stick when it comes to looks. Luckily, in the words of Mr. Gold, “Your goal should just be to uncover the best version of yourself as possible and once you do, put it on display for the world to see like a mannequin in a store front window.”
Insightful stuff from someone who could be argued an egomaniac.
Rule #17 If You Don’t Have Enemies, Get Some!