HISTORY OF BILL GOOD MARKETING®
By Bill Good
Bill Good Marketing was originally conceived in a 4 ½ hour gas line that sprang up in one of the Arab Oil boycotts. The line was just off Franklin Avenue in Los Angeles, and I could probably find the exact spot the idea came to me.
It was 1974 or 1975, and I was the editor of a small entertainment magazine. This magazine was so under-funded that in order to get it printed, we had to collect for the advertisements in advance. Most of our advertisers were restaurants and the only way to sell anything to these guys, much less collect in advance, was to go see them. When the oil boycott hit, we couldn't get gas. No gas meant no appointments. No appointments meant no sales which meant no advance collections which meant no magazine.
Sitting in that gas line, I had a tremendous realization. I realized that in regards to gasoline, things were going to get worse, not better. I realized also that the magazine was as good as dead and that there would be a lot of changes in the coming years about the way products were sold and marketed.
When I realized that I would soon be out of a job, my big question was, what can someone do who is trained as a writer and a speaker? The main criterion was it had to pay off quickly. The obvious answer was a sales job. But a job that required gasoline didn't make sense. So the next morning, I opened the classified ads in the Los Angeles Times and started calling people hiring for telephone sales.
I got a job selling industrial and office supplies and quickly became one of the top sales people. I soon left this company to become a sales manager at another firm. From November of 1975 until November of 1977, I built my department from 12 people to over 80. I literally forced the owner of the company to build a $2 million dollar building to house the monster I'd created. I also researched every piece of data I could find on the subject of telephone marketing and telephone sales.
It was during this time that I began to build on the idea for what was to later become Bill Good Marketing. I made a number of critical decisions in this time. Probably the first was that I should concentrate on prospecting rather than sales. My studies had led me to the conclusion that telephone prospecting was a much bigger market than telephone sales. And to my surprise, I found no one doing very much with it at all. I began to go whole hog after setting up a business. I set November 10th as my goal for leaving my regular job and fully operating on my own.
Until then I worked my regular job from 6:00 in the morning until 2:00 in the afternoon. I would leave right at 2:00, drive home, fall in bed at 2:30 and get up at 3:00. Then I would work until around 10:00 at night on developing my products and looking for some customers.
My first customer was a water-softening company. I wrote a classified ad for them to hire cold callers, which drew over 400 responses. I trained the callers and suddenly had a client.
Then I landed a few more clients. Mostly what I was doing at this time was acting as a consultant to people that had some kind of telephone marketing operation. I was designing training programs, making audiotapes, videotapes, and writing training manuals.
Two weeks and a day before November 10th, I went out to a company to make a presentation. At this time my youngest daughter was about 15 months old. I felt I had to have some kind of client that was paying me some money on a regular basis. I was sure that this company would give me a retainer. I really wanted this retainer for the stability it would offer my fledgling business and my family. I stayed out there for five hours and used every closing technique I could think of but I could not seal the deal.
When I got home, I told my wife, Joava, what had happened. She took me by the hand and walked me down the stairs of our apartment building; we took a walk around the block. As we walked, she asked the key question; "What's the worst that could happen?"
I told her that the worst that could happen is we could lose our savings, go broke, have our car and furniture repossessed, be evicted from the apartment, and go on welfare. Her next question was, "Do you think you could ever work again?"
"Of course," I said. "A good salesman can always find work."
"So, what are you going to do?" She asked.
I said, "Honey, I'm going to go for it."
I hit the ground running. The first year or two was lean. As we rolled into 1978, it became clear that being a consultant had a ceiling as far as income was concerned. So I gave a series of two seminars, one at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles and the other at the Disneyland Hotel in Santa Ana. Over 80 people showed up. Based on this response, we kept up with the seminars, and as we rolled into the latter part of 1978, I hired my first couple of seminar presenters. All I did was teach them to do exactly what I did, which is to find something that works, then do more of it.
In June of 1980, we moved to Salt Lake City, Utah. At the time of the move we were starting to work very closely with E.F. Hutton. By 1982, we were doing 30 to 50 seminars a month. In the fall of 1982, we landed a contract with Dean Witter to deliver 28 seminars a month. About this time, I called up Registered Representative magazine, spoke to the editor, and sold them on the idea of a series of articles on prospecting. Someone came up with the title "The I Love to Prospect Series" and it was a smash. We got hundreds of requests for reprints. I wrote another series of articles in the summer of '83. And beginning in January of 1984, I started my column in Registered Representative. In 1990 I moved my column to Research Magazine where it has remained ever since.
In 1984 we incorporated as Telephone Marketing, Inc. In 1990 we changed the company name to Bill Good Marketing, Inc. In July of '86, I published Prospecting Your Way to Sales Success. It was published by Charles Scribner's Sons, New York. The book, by the way, resulted from an editor at Scribner's reading an article in the Wall Street Journal and giving me a call. A new edition was published in 1998, and, as of 2007, a major overhaul of the book is in process. We expect publication in 2008.
Today, BGM has about 80 employees. In the 1980s we were written up in the Wall Street Journal, Institutional Investor, Barron's, and Forbes. Since 1984, I have published over 300 articles in Registered Rep and now Research. We sell a turn-key, computer-based, office management, prospecting, client-marketing system to full-service financial advisors, called the Bill Good Marketing System®. This System is designed to double our clients' businesses or allow them to work half as much at the same level of production. It includes a library of over 2,000 marketing letters, many of which are pre-approved by various compliance departments. Across North America there are over 5,000 users of this System.
In 2007 we celebrated our 30th anniversary.