Better Call Saul: 3 Sales Tips From Slippin' Jimmy

Better Call Saul follows the story of small-time lawyer, James Morgan “Jimmy” McGill, six years before his appearance on Breaking Bad as Saul Goodman.

It has received critical acclaim. It has won several awards, including: A Writers Guild Award, a Satellite Award, a TCA Award, two Critics’ Choice Awards, and one American Film Institute Award. It is nominated for seven 2016 Emmy awards, which airs on Sunday, September 18.

In Season 2, we see the rise of Saul: From his humble beginnings working in the back of a nail salon, to a corporate law firm job, and later to a successful entrepreneurial endeavor.

It’s impossible not to like, or at least be entertained by Saul. Through his charm, wit and perseverance he makes friends and new customers wherever he goes.

So how does he do it and what can we learn?

1. Identify Your Ideal Customer: In Season 1, he spent all of his time with low paying, high touch customers.

His advertisements attracted them:

“Johnny Law on your tail? Need to sue your neighbors? Whatever your legal quandary, Albuquerque’s resident criminal lawyer Saul Goodman has the solution.”

He quickly realized that those customers required a lot of energy, didn’t pay much, and didn’t have the potential to become repeat customers.

Look at your current customer base. Who do you hate doing business with? Which accounts are declining? Which ones don’t pay their bills on time?

One of the things that ITW beat into my head was that all of your customers should not be treated the same. Remember Pareto’s principal? Eighty percent of your business comes from 20% of your customers. Who are your “80” customers? Who do you want them to be?

2. Go After Your 80s? When Saul realized that his time was better spent helping elderly residents of a nursing home, he went after them with all of his energy.

He printed up business cards that said, “Need a Will, Call McGill.” He also visited senior centers and assisted living facilities, delivering yogurt with his ad on the bottom, and ran a bingo game. When he discovered a chain of assisted living facilities were overcharging residents for basic necessities, he filed a class action lawsuit against the chain.

He finally found his “80” customers: People that were going to give him profitable, consistent business. He went the extra mile to get to know them. He went shopping with them, played their favorite games and ate dinner with them. Remember that the stronger relationships you make with your “80s” the more likely they will be to refer you to new customers.

Figure out who your “80s” are and do everything that you can to make sure that you’re an inseparable part of their business.

3. Be Yourself: When Saul accepted a cushy corporate gig, he quickly realized that it wasn’t for him. It was too stuffy an atmosphere and he couldn’t be himself. He tried to act like everyone else at the firm and in the process he lost who he was: A charismatic, loyal, and street-smart attorney.

When finally got fired he brought back his pinky rings, loud suits and his “Slippin’ Jimmy” personality.

Companies do this all the time. They try to be all things to all people. What ends up happening is that they become a blander version of who they actually are.

Who are you as a person or as a company? If you’re not sure, look at the data. What do your customers say? What do they love about you?

Sometimes not being who you are is what’s holding you back.

This article originally appeared in Forbes on September 18, 2016

Tom Ward