1. Focus on markets your competitors neglect.
Saul Goodman (then Jimmy McGill) starts his practice as a lawyer serving the elderly, a market other lawyers were avoiding. Later, he creates a “business within a business” selling burner phones to people who want to avoid surveillance. Finally, he focuses on serving low level criminals who otherwise would use public defenders. In each business opportunity, Saul finds potential customers that his competitors view as unimportant or unprofitable. This is the purest form of entrepreneurism, bar none.
2. Treat every customer with respect.
Saul’s clients includes individuals whom some might consider “lowlife.” But Saul never judges his clients (that’s not his job) but instead takes both them and their problems seriously. This gives his practice massive customer loyalty and a lot of referral business. Again, this is a textbook example of great customer relationship.
3. Advertise creatively and a low cost.
Saul is always finding a creative way to advertise. In addition to billboards and bus benches, he uses inexpensive local TV spots to get the word out. To do this, he draws upon the expertise of young, tech-savvy camera crew. While the technology has changed since the period in which the series takes place, great entrepreneurs are always ready to try new advertising channels.
4. Create a memorable brand name.
Forgettable brand names are arbitrary and mean nothing. Memorable brand names are relevant and create positive emotions. Saul’s original personal brand, “Jimmy McGill, ” is just an arbitrary name and, if anything, sounds like something out of Spongebob Squarepants. By contrast, “Saul Goodman”–a pun on “It’s all good, man”–not only makes his clients smile but also expresses the emotional state his clients will feel after hiring him. If you hire “Saul Goodman,” well, “It’s all good, man.”
5. Create a differentiated public persona.
Once Jimmy McGill becomes Saul Goodman, he starts wearing bright colored suits. While this causes raised eyebrows among the legal profession, it immediately tells his clients that he’s “different” and some stuck-up lawyer who’d rather be doing corporate work.Just as important, the bright colors make him identifiable in a crowd and easily remembered as a “character,” not in the sense of a character in the show but as the kind of person about whom you’d say “he’s a real character.” I’ve known several successful entrepreneurs who’ve used this technique to make themselves more memorable.
6. Don’t take “No” for an answer.
This time-honored sales advice is usually misinterpreted as “just keep talking even if the prospect says ‘no.'” That never works because it’s annoying. (Duh.)
The great sales guru Tom Hopkins teaches that 1) a prospect won’t say ‘no’ unless they’ve actually considered buying, and therefore 2) if you change your approach, you can probably get to ‘yes.’
Saul Goodman uses this technique repeatedly. He hears a ‘no’ or a ‘maybe’ and gets up to leave. The camera then goes to closeup (with the prospect in the background slightly out of focus) and we see Saul’s eyes light up with a new way to pitch whatever he’s pitching. He takes action and almost always makes the sale.
7. Resist the inevitable job offers.
In the most recent episode as of this writing, Saul’s former boss (Howard) offers him a job, having finally seen the value of Saul’s entrepreneurial spirit.
This plot development is incredibly true to life. Once you begin to be successful as an entrepreneur, job offers–really attractive ones–come out of the woodwork. These offers are, oh, so tempting, especially if you’re not yet making big money.
But you’ve got to resist them because once you’ve started your own business, going back to a regular job means that you’ve lost. And nobody, least of all an entrepreneur, wants to be a loser.
See you at the Cinnabon!
Published on: Mar 19, 2020
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