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Every Minute of Every Day Is Selling Time

Author: Jeffrey Mayer   |   January 31st, 2010

Mark Cuban is a very smart businessman. He was featured in a front-page article in The Wall Street Journal.

A Bit of Background
In the 1980s he formed a company that helped small businesses link their personal computers. In 1995 he and Todd Wagner, a college classmate, had an idea: Use the Internet to allow sports fans to hear local broadcasts of their favorite teams even if they are far away.

They named the company strategies

During the next few years Mr. Cuban signed up hundreds of media outlets who allowed him to send their broadcasts over the Internet.

Many of them didn’t even know what Internet rights were worth, but signed up anyhow.

One of his most successful ventures was producing a Victoria’s Secret webcast that attracted two million users.

In four years of business,’s revenue never exceeded $25 million a year. Yet in the go-go climate of the late 1990s, the company went public, commanding a multibillion-dollar market value.

Mr. Cuban’s shrewdest moves came as Internet mania was at its zenith. He and Mr. Wagner began talks with Yahoo, urging them to acquire

Yahoo took the bait. In March 1999, Yahoo announced a $5.7 billion stock-swap acquisition – just before the market peak – for a company that had 330 employees, a handful of contracts, and no hard assets.

This gave Mr. Cuban a paper profit of $1.7 billion.

Mr. Cuban hedged his bets so he could keep his profits from the sale of his company. He bought put options, locking in a high selling price for his Yahoo stock – $183 per share. In effect he was betting against Yahoo stock. A bet he won big-time.

In the fall of 1999 he began selling his Yahoo stock.

Three months later – in January 2000 – he purchased the Dallas Mavericks for $280 million. A team that was a perennial loser both on the basketball court, and financially – having thousands of empty seats for each game.

Today, Mr. Cuban is riding high. His Mavericks tied for the best record in the NBA this past season with a 60-22 record.

And, most importantly, the Mavericks drew sellout crowds – 18,147 spectators – for all 41 of their regular-season home games. A franchise first.

He Hired A Sales Team
How did Mark Cuban fill up his basketball arena with 18,147 people for 41 games? He hired a team of sales people who were instructed to get on the telephone and sell tickets to basketball games.

The Mavericks’ sales team works out of a former warehouse on the edge of downtown Dallas. About two-and-a-half miles from the Mavericks’ sleek new American Airlines Center.

Sitting in gray cubicles are dozens of Mavericks ticket salespeople who are incessantly dialing the phone. On the wall in huge letters is a favorite Cuban slogan: “Every minute of every day is selling time.”

When Mr. Cuban became the Mavericks owner, the team had five people selling season tickets. Not enough the boss said.

He hired George Prokas, a former buddy to run ticket sales. Mr. Cuban told him: “I don’t care if you have to hire 18,147 sales people and give them each one seat to sell. I want the house sold out every night.”

Mr. Prokos bulked up the sales force to 20 people. He handed them Yellow Page listings of attorneys, car dealers and other likely buyers. He told his new hires to make 100 outbound calls a day.

Mr. Cuban – always the salesman – would occasionally work the phones himself. On more than one occasion he told his sales people to stop gossiping.

“Who’s writing the check when you do that?” Mr. Cuban repeatedly snapped. “If you aren’t talking to someone who can write a check, you’re wasting time.”

The strategy worked. The team has been winning and revenues have grown 2 1/2 times, to $100 million from the $40 million when Mr. Cuban purchased the team.

Mark Cuban has a simple business philosophy. “I try to put everyone in a position to succeed,” he says. “But I don’t believe in rewarding people for just doing their jobs.”

When ticket sales representatives recently matched their quotas, he didn’t throw a party. Instead he says, his message was: “Good. That’s what your supposed to do. If they hadn’t met quotas,
they would be told to look for work elsewhere.”

Five Daily Success Activities
Here are five Success Activities you should do every day to make yourself more successful:

1. Search for new customers.
If you want to be successful you’ve got to look for new customers. The lifeblood of any business is finding – and keeping – new customers.

2. Get on the phone.
The most effective way to find new customers is by getting on the phone. Though there are many ways to collect prospect names, you ultimately need to pick up the phone and call them.

3. Have a daily target.
You must have a target for the number of people you’re calling. There’s a huge difference between calling new people you’ve never attempted to reach before and calling a person who you’ve left
a dozen voice mail messages that were never returned.

Calling the same five people every day isn’t going to make you successful.

4. Schedule time.
Block out time on your calendar to make calls. Schedule an appointment with yourself to make calls every day.

5. Stop fooling around.
Don’t waste valuable phone time doing miscellaneous paperwork. Use the time to get on the phone and find more customers.


Reprinted with permission from “Jeffrey Mayer’s Newsletter. (Copyright, 2003 – 2005, Jeffrey J. Mayer, To subscribe to Jeff’s free newsletter, visit

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