You’re in the glass-walled, high-ceilinged conference room of Results Radio in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
You might think Sioux Falls an odd place to find the best General Manager in radio.
At least, that is, before you met Jake.
This is on the wall of Don Jacobs’ aforementioned conference room – where I’ve been sequestered for the last three days advising his team and some of their clients.
In and of itself, it’s not so unusual, right?
We all see Successory-like motivational sentiments and tag lines in not only broadcast marketing companies but banks, tire stores, even schools.
And they’re crap. All of ’em, aren’t they?
Worse, we’re so anesthetized by it, we rarely even notice the sayings any more. It’s all flaccid, empty sloganeering, right?
Except here. In Sioux Falls.
Results Radio is famous around the country for being the Apple, the Ikea, the Nordstrom’s of radio sales and marketing.
The offices are a palace. In addition to the conference room in which I’m currently typing, there’s studios (of course), offices, a delightful break room and outdoor area, and a library.
Yes, a library. I’ll wait for all my friends in media to stop laughing in disbelief.
Because – for the first month of work here – that’s all you do: Train and study.
And you’re not studying how to overcome objections or memorizing the book of sales closes.
Nope, you’re studying small business and strategy and copywriting and the principles of good advertising.
You see, Don Jacobs hasn’t built a team of salespeople. He’s built a team of advertising and small business experts.
And they’re making a fortune.
I will not share their cash flow numbers with you, but they’d make your eyebrows leap 18″ off your forehead.
But they’ve done it the right way. The honorable way.
“I’ve never seen a place that – as a core principle – we’d rather turn away business and say ‘no’ than to not do right by that client,” says Earl Bartholow, the newest member of the team, who’s just recently wrapped up his month of monastic study.
“Do the right thing is the first – and only – rule,” Bartholow continued, “and it’s immensely calming to know that. This place is special.”
It is, and his team knows it. Nobody ever seems to leave. The average person has been here about fifteen years.
“I’ve been in radio sales for 27 years. I’ve been with Jake for 19,” says Arlys Sanderson (a brilliant copywriter), “Before I started with Jake, I’d never had any training on what it takes to help a client get results.”
But these beautiful offices – and the spoils of success – don’t come without expectations, says Sanderson.
“He sets a higher standard,” she said, “and he expects a lot out of us.”
And the clients know it. And the clients feel it. And the clients trust it.
And it’s working. And it’s magnificent.
And it makes me a little sad.
How many times have you heard someone say “you can’t save your way to profit” before (and after) slashing expenses and finding new ways to cut, cut, cut.
The successorized mission statements ring so hollow these days the echo smacks you in the face like a wet leather glove before it fades.
Phony, empty-suited sadness, unhappy employees, fake clapping, antidepressants for everyone.
It’s, sadly, an all-too-common tale – not just in media advertising but in companies across America.
I’ve always thought it didn’t have to be that way.
Jake proves me right.
If you’re ever in Sioux Falls, stop by and ask for a tour of a true American Dream.
Be sure, while you’re there, to check out the one Successories poster Jake has on the wall next to the picture above. It reads:
Excellence always endures … it remains long after cost is forgotten.