We couldn’t help noticing that this is true of all of the successful people we could think of – from the Forbes 400,  to doctors, lawyers, teachers, religious leaders, and others!



Transcript  – What Skill do All Successful People Have in Common?


successful-peopleAnnouncer: You’re listening to aviation marketing Hanger Flying. The community for the best sales and marketing professionals in the aviation industry. You can’t learn to fly just from a book. You learn from other pilots who know the tools, the skills and the territory. Your hosts John and Paula Williams are your sales and marketing test pilots.

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Paula Williams: Welcome to aviation marketing Hangar Flying, this is episode number 60, what is the one skill that is shared by all successful people?

So I’m Paula Williams.

John Williams: And I’m John Williams.

Paula Williams: And we are ABCI, and ABCI’s mission is.

John Williams: To help all you ladies and gentlemen out there sell more products and services in the aviation world.

Paula Williams: Absolutely, right. So we use the hashtag, if you have any comments, questions, anything else on this episode or any other, Avgeekmarketing.

And we will reply to every tweet or post or whatever that has that hashtag that we can find. So okay. So first of all, we’re gonna talk about successful people. And of course there’s lots of definitions of success but for [LAUGH] the purpose of today. We’re gonna talk about the Forbes 400, we’re gonna talk about other noble professions, and we’re gonna talk about the most successful people that we personally work with.

Sound good?

John Williams: Okay.

Paula Williams: It sounds like a pretty good definition of success, we’ve got finance, we’ve got other professions, we got our own experience, right?

John Williams: Absolutely.

Paula Williams: Okay, so we’re trying to be rounded here and I know this is going to be a little bit biased but that’s just the nature of life, right?

John Williams: Well wait a minute, it’s our podcast of course it’s biased.

Paula Williams: Of course we’re gonna be biased, right?

John Williams: [LAUGH]

Paula Williams: We can be biased. Okay so if we look at the Forbes list over the years and these were the 2015 list, of course they’re gonna be different in 2016.

But, those numbers aren’t officially yet, so we’ll go over 2015 list right?

John Williams: Sure.

Paula Williams: Okay. Number five is Larry Ellison of the Oracle Corporation. He sold an idea which is basically relational data base designed to companies by showing them how to use it better than anybody else.

Ever had, right?

John Williams: Yes he did.

Paula Williams: Okay. [LAUGH] Now relational database design was nothing new. IBM had used it for a number of years, right?

John Williams: Yeah, they were out there in front of Oracle long time.

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Paula Williams: Absolutely. So he wasn’t the first or, some will argue he wasn’t even the most Innovative, but you know he certainly was, I would say, the best sales guy.

John Williams: That’s right.

Paula Williams: I think, okay. So relational database design was actually based on Edgar F Cobb’s research. But Oracle became a successful database vendor. That was competing with Cybase and Microsoft SQL Server. And of course, IBM and all the old guys, so pretty good stuff. And once again, it wasn’t, I would say, technical brilliance that necessarily brought Larry Ellison to number five on the Forbes list, it was sales skill.

John Williams: Yep, and he sold on the fact that this is easy, look.

Paula Williams: Yeah, well not only this is easy, but you need this, because it does this for your business. Which saved you money, or makes you more money, or something along those lines, something that was relevant to them.

And I think a lot of people up to that point thought that databases were for nerds. They weren’t for business really.

John Williams: No, they were for main frames, but [LAUGH] and still are.

Paula Williams: Yeah, exactly. But you know, they’re not for solving business problems they are for solving scientific problems and monster company problems, not necessarily medium sized.

Business problems?

John Williams: Well, no.

Paula Williams: Okay.

John Williams: That was never a hindrance, IBM’s never sold it that way.

Paula Williams: Right, okay.

John Williams: It was always used for that, even by them. It was very rarely used to get engineering design, not with IBM.

Paula Williams: Right. Okay, but the advertising.

John Williams: They just never did sell it the way he did.

Paula Williams: Yeah, the Oracle did was showing people how this can actually benefit your company, not just how powerful it is.

John Williams: Well, be careful because I used to work for IBM.

Paula Williams: I know you did, and that’s-

John Williams: [CROSSTALK] I worked in the relational database [LAUGH] design area, so

Paula Williams: Yes I know that’s why I’m thinking you’ve got some insight here that you can share about why?

John Williams: That’s why I’m telling you that it’s just the way they didn’t sell it.

Paula Williams: Right. That’s exactly right.

John Williams: They didn’t sell it as it could have been sold.

Paula Williams: Right, exactly, okay. So number four, Mark Zuckerberg. Okay, there’s been movies about these people. Some of them [LAUGH] [INAUDIBLE] being one of them. And of course Facebook is fairly well known and he sold social networking as a technology.

It’s not like social is new. Not like networking is new in fact, while Zuckerberg was at school they were using a, it was actually a publication called the Facebook. It was a paper thing with faces and names and everything else. So this was not something that didn’t exist before, it just wasn’t in technology before.

John Williams: It wasn’t digital, it was on paper.

Paula Williams: Exactly, so the site went up over a weekend, but by Monday morning the college had shut it down because it’s popularity had overwhelmed one of Harvard’s network switches and prevented students from accessing the internet. In addition many students complained that their photo’s were being used without permission.

Zuckerberg apologized publicly and a student paper ran article stating that the site was completely improper. But the following semester, Zuckerberg began writing code for a new web site and you know relaunched it. And it was originally located at thefacebook.com. Six days after the site launched, three Harvard seniors, Cameron Winklevoss, Tyler Winklevoss, and Divya Narendra accused Zuckerberg of intentionally misleading them into believing the world.

But that he would help them build a social network called harvardconnection.com, while he was instead using their ideas to build a competing product. The three complained to the Harvard Crimson and the newspaper began an investigation in response. So following the official launch of the Facebook social media platform, the three filed a lawsuit against Zuckerberg that resulted in a settlement.

So there is some complexity here.

John Williams: [LAUGH]

Paula Williams: But, you could say that this is one of those cases where you had like Nicolas Tesla and Thomas Edison, where you have a bunch of people that are really really smart but the one that sells best is the one that wins out.

So whether it was ethical or not, I think what Zuckerberg did, that the other folks didn’t was he was able to sell the idea and he kind of like publicly was the face of it. He was the one that apologized. He’s the one that started it over. He was the one that persisted in the face of all kinds of opposition.

Right or wrong and plowed through and made it happen, and sold it, to a somewhat resistant Harvard population.

John Williams: And from there it just spread virally I suspect would be the proper term.

Paula Williams: Mm-hm.

John Williams: [LAUGH]

Paula Williams: Exactly and now he’s number four on the Forbes list. So pretty interesting stuff and once again I think it boils down to one thing.

John Williams: Salesmanship.

Paula Williams: Sales skill, exactly. Okay now this next one is a little bit more interesting because you don’t think of Warren Buffet as a sales guy right?

John Williams: I don’t know.

Paula Williams: So number three on the Forbes list is Warren Buffet of Berkshire Hathaway of course. But he started his career as an investment salesman in 1951.

Here’s another little story about Warren Buffet. He took a train to Washington DC on a Saturday, knocked at the door of GEICO’s headquarters, and a janitor admitted him. There he met Laura Davidson, GEICO’s Vice President, and the two discussed the insurance business for hours. Davidson would eventually become Buffet’s lifelong friend and lasting influence.

And would later recall that he found Buffet to be an extraordinary man after only about 15 minutes of talking with him. Buffet wanted to work on Wall Street. However, both his father and urged him not to. Buffet offered to work for Geico for free, but he refused.

Buffet returned to Omaha and worked as a stock broker while taking a Dale Carnegie speaking course. Using what he learned he felt confident enough to teach an investment principles night class at the university of Nebraska Omaha. The average age of his students was more than twice his own age.

During this time he purchased a Sinclair Texaco gas station as a side investment. So all of that stuff. Once again, he was teaching, he was selling, he was knocking on doors, getting let in by janitors, all of that I think is a pretty good indication of sales skill once again, wouldn’t you think?

John Williams: And then as his investment firm which he started later grew. It was nothing but sales.

Paula Williams: Right, exactly. So Warren Buffet, number three. Okay, Jeff Bezos, number two, Amazon.com, obviously a sales guy right?

John Williams: [LAUGH]

Paula Williams: He started the concept of the everything store even bigger than a big box store because they had no physical limitation on sales.

It’s just pure. That’s all Amazon is, a network for people to sell stuff and for Amazon to sell stuff of course. Started as a book store and ended up buying Zappos and a bunch of other companies. And I probably wouldn’t survive without [LAUGH] Amazon. [LAUGH] We have deliveries to our house like every other day.

It certainly is a very timely idea, that meets people’s needs where they are in their homes and so on, lets them buy things and does really fast shipping. So, it meets the needs of people, finds out what they want and sells it to them better than anybody else.

John Williams: That works. Obviously.

Paula Williams: Obviously, okay. And then speaking of obvious,. Number one, Bill Gates, of course Steve Jobs is not in the top five, he passed away before he could make the list. But, Bill Gates, you know of course the founder of Microsoft. And you could arm wrestle between whether he or Steve Jobs actually sold the idea of the personal computer to people when that happened.

What do you think? I know you were a Microsoft guy for a long time before you became an Apple guy.

John Williams: That’s hard to tell.

Paula Williams: Yeah.

John Williams: I mean, really.

Paula Williams: What was your first memory of the personal computer?

John Williams: Well, the company I worked for at the time, they decided to buy one and they gave it to me.

They said, figure out how it works.

Paula Williams: [LAUGH] Okay.

John Williams: [LAUGH]

Paula Williams: Figure out what we can do with this thing.

John Williams: So and it was one of the old ones where you had the disk and one’s diskette and one side for the operating system and diskette, and the other side for something to run.

And that’s where we started.

Paula Williams: Right, so computers weren’t new. Even small computers weren’t new. But I think Bill Gates and Steve Jobs probably benefited a lot from each other’s experiences and from the competition between the two of them to really introduce the idea of the personal computer and really bring that to become part of our culture in less than a generation.

John Williams: Yeah, this thing has snowballed since then.

Paula Williams: So talk about a great sales job. [LAUGH] You know completely changing the world with a single concept. So you know definitely definitely definitely sales skills right.

John Williams: Yup.

Paula Williams: Okay cool so. Next, a few people who will be on the top five of the 2016 list.

Amancio Ortega of Inditex of Spain and Carlos Slim of course of Telmex, Grupo Carso in Mexico. So this group is diversifying a lot. It’s not just, Americans anymore, and it certainly is becoming a lot more interesting as we go forward. You know you could complain about the 1% all you want if you’re talking just about money.

These are certainly successful people, by an objective standard, right? Okay, on the 2015 list, there was a record of 1,826 people on the list, which is more than ever. That included 290 newcomers, with 71 from China, 57 from the United States, 28 from India, and 23 from Germany.

People under 40 were, there were 46 of them. And there was a record number of 197 women on the list. And, the vast majority of people in the Forbes 400 made their own money. As opposed to, or actually the Forbes now, it’s more than 400, it’s.

John Williams: You’re talking about the Forbes Billionaire List now.

Paula Williams: The Forbes Billionaire list of 1826 people. So most of them made their own money as opposed to inheriting or marrying into it.

John Williams: Yep.

Paula Williams: So you can say what you want about all of that, but certainly, It’s becoming a more diverse group and a more bigger group, more bigger [LAUGH]

John Williams: Well, the thing all these people have in common is sales.

Paula Williams: Exactly, other than the people that inherited or married into it which is a very small minority of the people on the list.

John Williams: Yeah, but if you draw a bell curve and you throw those out.

Paula Williams: Exactly.

John Williams: And you throw out the people on the other end of it, you still by in large is people who sell.

Paula Williams: People who sell. That’s exactly right and even the people who married into or inherited into it they married or inherited it from somebody who.

John Williams: Did that.

Paula Williams: Sold. Exactly. Who had sales skills. Okay, so that is the one thing that really is a common denominator there. So then you’d think okay, well let’s cast engineers and inventors which will most of the Forbes top ten anyway aside, and the, think about other noble professions, like teachers, doctors, lawyers and religious leaders and other kinds of people.

So, what do they need to be successful? If you look at engineers and inventors of course, they’re over the top five which had a lot of engineers and inventors. But, another great example is Elon Musk, who’s worth 11.5 billion. That should be enough to keep food on the table.

John Williams: If he’s careful.

Paula Williams: If he’s careful. And he’s big in innovations and contributions to the world, of course there’s Space X, Tesla Motors, Solar City, Open AI and PayPal.

John Williams: And he did a heck of a sales job on everyone of those things.

Paula Williams: Absolutely, PayPal was a business that he sold In order to finance the founding of SpaceX and Tesla Motors.

So, he’s a very good salesperson. Not only of ideas, but also of companies. So, engineers and inventors, really, really helps to have good sales skills, Teachers, Hunan Al Rub, the world’s best teacher according to the group that decides such things. Some world group on education, they have a $1 million teacher of the year, world’s best teacher award that they hand out.

She is the most recent recipient. She teaches in Ramallah on the West Bank. So this is very different that the Forbes billionaire list. But, a couple of things about her, she wrote a book called We Play and Learn, and when you write a book, what are you doing?

John Williams: You’re selling.

Paula Williams: You’re selling an idea, exactly. Rub’s approach is that, which is basically, we play to learn led to a decline in violent behavior in the schools where this is usually a frequent occurrence. So we are talking about Ramallah, right, on the west bank in Palestine.

So she grew up in a Palestinian refugee camp in Bethlehem and now teaches a school near Ramallah in the west bank. She received a congratulations from Pope Francis, who announced the winner in a video message. And upon her arrival back in the West Bank, Rub carrying her golden trophy looked amazed at the reception she was given in the city of Jericho.

John Williams: [LAUGH]

Paula Williams: So that’s pretty cool. Very cool stuff. And once again, sales skills, right?

John Williams: Every time.

Paula Williams: Every time. Okay. Let’s talk about doctors. And here we’ve got four of them, and these were the ones that have been designated as the world’s best doctors by a company called I didn’t write down the company.

Anyway, [LAUGH] it’s a group that decides who are the most successful and influential doctors. But, of course, you look at Dr. Oz and some other more famous doctors, they’re obviously salespeople. But these guys are lesser known, they’re only known really in the medical profession but still. Carter G Abel, dermatologist, expert in cancer skin rejuvenation.

He edits the trade journal Cutis and was respected by dermatologists around the world. Once again, by editing a journal, he is doing what?

John Williams: He’s selling.

Paula Williams: Well, yeah, certainly. But publicizing different methods and other kinds of things, peer reviews and things. It doesn’t have to be.

John Williams: Well he’s selling his thoughts on it, that’s why he’s editing it.

Paula Williams: Exactly, exactly. Mona Abaza she’s an ENT, I’m not going to try to pronounce the actual profession that an ENT does, that’s ear, nose and throat doctor. Receive the highest doctor ranking on healthgrades.com for positive outcomes of adenoids, esophagus, nasal airway, thyroid and other surgeries. So healthgrades.com, once again, what they’re doing is they’re creating positive experiences for their patients and for other practitioners who give them a rating and to do that they have to be what?

John Williams: Sell their product.

Paula Williams: A salesperson absolutely. Same thing. Mark Arron he’s a cardiologist and Corey Anderson he’s a pediatrician anesthetist. All of whom got really good grades on some of these services. So, no matter what your profession is, there are some things that you really need to do to become successful and the only real thing that it boils down to, I think, is sales skill.

All right. Lawyers. Anybody know who this is?

John Williams: [LAUGH]

Paula Williams: Erin Brockovich. There was a movie about Erin Brockovich, and she was very influential. She was an American legal clerk and environmental activist who, despite her lack of formal education in the law, was instrumental in building a case against Pacific Gas and Electric, that’s PG&E, in 1993.

You may have seen the movie with Julia Roberts, right?

John Williams: Yes.

Paula Williams: Okay, Thurgood Marshall, have you heard of him?

John Williams: I have.

Paula Williams: Yeah, one of his quotes, history teaches that grave threats to liberty often come at times of urgency, when constitutional rights seem too extravagant to endure.

That sounds very familiar.

John Williams: [LAUGH]

Paula Williams: But if you were a lawyer, or a justice of any kind then you have to write opinions, and what are opinions?

John Williams: That’s your ability to change people’s minds, and what that is sailed.

Paula Williams: Exactly. Your ability to sell an idea, or a concept or explain why your idea or concept is more important than the opposition.

Anthony Kennedy, he is known as most influential person in American life today. In the words of his Time 100 profile writer, legendary Litigator Ted Olsen, so we’ve read probably Justice Kennedy’s opinions and so forth. So once again, these things are just sales.

John Williams: Yep.

Paula Williams: Okay religious leaders, the Dalai Lama.

You would think religious leaders would be exempt from having to sell right?

John Williams: Actually nobody is.

Paula Williams: Nobody is exempt.

John Williams: Seriously I mean people don’t realize when you’re trying to convince somebody of something you’re selling.

Paula Williams: Exactly and the Dalai Lama actually has a best selling book called The Art of Happiness.

It’s been on the New York Times bestseller list so, Best Seller List not the best book list but the best seller list so what that means is that this man is influential because he gets right or wrong, you know can sell really great ideas that people go for.

Rick Perry, agree with him or not, very, very influential pastor. Wrote A Purpose Driven Life. Once again a best selling book. Joel Osteen Your Best Life Now. Another one we could add to this list is Rabbi Daniel Lapin, if we wanted to round out the religions here, and there are many others of course but anyway have I convinced you?


John Williams: [LAUGH] I didn’t need convincing.

Paula Williams: Well you did when we first met, field of marketing was not your thing.

John Williams: No, well that doesn’t mean though that I didn’t know that it had to be.

Paula Williams: Right, exactly. So, it’s not a moral argument, it’s not any other type of thing.

It’s just letting you know that in the world today, if you want to be successful, you need one thing.

John Williams: Well, or even just to convince people, you’re selling them on your approach, your idea.

Paula Williams: Right, even as a parent you’re selling your kid on, why he should get good grade and another kind of things when he may not actually want to.

So just about every profession becomes easier and better if you have good sales skills, that’s why we’re always promoting that in our groups, so, go sell more stuff.

John Williams: America needs the business

Paula Williams: Right, by one of the very best sales people, Zig Ziglar. Have a great week, and we’ll see you next time.


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