Billy Mays was here at Fortune in early April, after a story about the pitchman appeared in the magazine. (The writer, Brian O’Keefe, penned this tribute to Mays today.) I sat in on the session and took away a few nuggets of wisdom from the guy who earned his fame pitching OxiClean stain remover (“Powered by the air you breathe!”) and ImpactGel in-soles (“It’s like walking on a cloud of air!”).
1. “Know the questions in your customer’s mind.” Answer them as she is thinking of them.
2. “You’ve gotta work with the heckler in your crowd.” Use him to draw others in.
3. “People will step toward you if you step back.” Again, pull the crowd closer to keep them engaged.
4. “Pull out your own wallet.” This will inspire them to do the same. If you nod your head, they will too.
5. “Most of the good advertising is annoying.” When it comes to you, Billy, we prefer “captivating.”