A year ago this month, we held our Roy Williams conference in Atlantic City. During the conference, a guy came up to me and said, “Mr. Rhoads, I’ve been wanting to meet you. I got your e-mails about this conference, and I paid my own way to be here. I just got into radio.” I learned that he had been a paramedic but felt he could not realize his life’s dreams, so he got a job selling radio.

“It was a disaster,” he told me. “I worked my butt off in that job for six months and got nowhere, so I quit radio and decided to do something else.” Somehow, he eventually hooked up with Bill Hazen, who suggested that, with some training, he could succeed at the Cumulus stations in Macon. “My first day on the job, he handed me the Roy Williams tapes and said, ‘This is all you need to know.’ I watched them all in three days.”

That same week, he said, he saw one of my e-mails for our Roy Williams conferences. “I ran into Bill’s office and asked if I could have the time off if I paid my own way to attend.” Two weeks later, Jeff Norman was in Atlantic City, listening to Roy. “I’ve got to tell you,” he said, “the tapes and the books are good, but seeing this in person, it all comes together.”
Six months later, Jeff contacted me and said that, by following Roy’s system, he had 26 annual contracts on the air and $1 million in billing. “This is my dream come true,” he said. “I’m going to make $150,000 this year, and I’m not done yet.”

I asked him to come to our Roy Williams conference in Austin, so I could tell his story to the crowd. He came, but when I brought him on stage and told his story about six months, 26 annuals and $1 million on the books, he corrected me and said billing at that point was close to $2 million after nine months.

During the Austin conference, I asked Jeff what he wanted to do with his career. “Macon is nice,” he said, “but I want to do bigger things. What would you recommend?” After probing for his goals, I told him that, with his talent and attitude, he could make the same hard work pay off in much bigger ways if he went to sell in a major market. “Let’s do it,” he said.

We thought that, based on his goals, Los Angeles was the best place, though he was a little reluctant, thinking that a country boy in the big city might not be well received. I reminded him that one of the most successful GMs in America, Roy Laughlin from KIIS, was originally a country boy from Alabama.

At Jeff’s request, I made introductions, and he met with most of the radio companies in Los Angeles. Several offered him jobs. As of this writing, Jeff starts in sales at KIIS in Los Angeles, and his goal is to be the top-billing ad rep in LA within three years. My guess is that he will do it in two. Did I mention that Jeff is 25?

I’m sharing this story, not so thousands of you will call me and ask for introductions to great jobs, but to illustrate that belief in oneself, great attitude and willingness to make instant change in your life can make a huge difference in your career. Jeff is a smart guy, but his success is found in his belief systems. He dares to challenge himself and take action, and he is not afraid of change. Jeff is an inspiration to others as well as me.

What are your dreams? What are you telling yourself you want to do? What self-talk is running through your head? What are you waiting for?

06/21/04 Radio Ink Magazine. By B. Eric Rhoads