H.R. 'Bum' Bright

Be here

What I learned from H.R. 'Bum' Bright:

Be here early he said - and you could tell he meant it.

I was a young salesman out in the field. Cold calling on the phone to make my own appointments. Selling custom suits to people who could afford to throw away four grand a piece on a suit in 1981.

In Dallas back then there were a lot of remarkable personalities wheeling & dealing in business, real estate and professional sports.

Dallas was the highest rated show on TV with JR Ewing setting the tone out at Southfork with his big business confrontations and drama. Playboy had a club on North Central, Drexel Burnham was selling junk that changed the rules and compensation for salespeople that showed they could be rainmakers and close deals. Danny Faulkner flipped acres of empty condos for millions in a daisy chain that became notorious. Mary Kay Ash was putting professional sales ladies that could close into shiny pink cadillacs on Stemmons Freeway, Robert Newhouse, Hollywood Henderson and Too Tall Jones were on Americas team and all were buying my wares - making me feel like I knew what I was doing in this game we call sales. I got the opportunity to learn from every one of them - what made them tick, what they valued and what our similarities and differences were. I learned a lot.

How did I get to meet them and sell them? - The old fashioned way.

  • Read a paper, who's who article or magazine.
  • Yellow highlight names.
  • Research and get contact information
  • Call them on the phone

These were my prospects - an interesting group of characters all.

You just had to be good enough to get through to them on the phone.

Not Easy.

I would call real early and very late to try to reach them when the secretarial barriers were not around. Not being a natural salesman I figured it would increase my odds.

One evening - late - Bum answered the phone himself - it worked.

Or at least I thought so until his infamous intimidation came across the phone. The man summoned up a sour and savage tour de force. But I really wanted to sell this guy - mainly because no-one else had managed to even get in front of him.

Bum Bright hadn't earned a reputation as one of the meanest oil men in the business, become listed by Forbes amongst the richest men in the country and, later in '84, buy out the Dallas Cowboys, mostly with his own money, and close the deal himself - because he was soft.

"Alright I will give you five minutes at 5:30 am - Be here early"

"And make it a good pitch or I will kick your ass for wasting my time "

  • I was there early.
  • I closed him.
  • He gave me some referrals -only after selling him for years.
  • He intimidated me from day one until the day he died
  • An ornery and uncompromising son of a #*&**
  • To this day I still call early and late because of the time a mister H.R. 'Bum' Bright picked up the phone.

So when people ask me what hours they can reach me at work - it's still the same now as it was then "6am to 6pm - when the secretarial barriers aren't around - and I try like hell to make it a good pitch"

Be there early - and make it a good pitch.

That's what I learned from Bum Bright.

Learn more about H.R. 'Bum' Bright

Bum Bright article

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