“Not many people are willing to give failure a second opportunity. They fail once and it is all over. The bitter pill of failure is often more than most people can handle. If you are willing to accept failure and learn from it, if you are willing to consider failure as a blessing in disguise and bounce back, you have got the essential of harnessing one of the most powerful success forces.” – Joseph Sugarman
Joe Sugarman, once called the “Mail Order Maverick” by The New York Times, is an expert marketeer. He used direct marketing to get the world’s first pocket calculator into as many hands as possible. Sugarman also introduced the cordless phone and the digital watch to the public with his marketing techniques.
Sugarman is also known for introducing the concept of using toll-free numbers to take credit card orders over the phone, which was unheard of at the time. After only one year of using toll-free numbers to process orders, thousands of other companies followed suit. This led to a revolution in the merchandising industry.
Switching gears from electronic products to sunglasses may seem like suicide, but Sugarman was up to the challenge. His direct marketing skills led to the sale of twenty million pairs of BluBlockers.
The factors that motivate buying had long intrigued Sugarman. The scripted dialogue of old-fashioned telemarketing always seemed to leave an awkward feeling by going against the natural flow of conversation. These rigged question and answer sessions failed to motivate him, and Sugarman wanted to find a better method. From this desire, Sugarman discovered ‘triggers’. Triggers are a phenomenon that activate impulses deep in the brain and turn potential customers into actual ones. This is one of the main reasons he has been so successful with the BluBlocker brand. He has also done well on QVC, selling millions of dollars worth of his product in a single day.
Sugarman was named ‘Direct Marketing Man of the Year’ in 1979 and received the Maxwell Sackheim award in 1991. He’s had his failures, to be sure, but he knows that “the greatest success stories were created by people who recognised a problem and turned it into an opportunity.”