Jerry Weintraub’s 5 Tips On The Art of Persuasion
1. Be persistent.
Do not hear the word no. Almost every time I have a new idea, someone
says, “No, that will never work.” But to me, “no” is just an
opportunity to convince someone to say “yes.” When you hear “no,” you
say “What? Say that again, I didn’t catch that.” If someone says “Get
lost,” you say, “Go where?” Keep knocking, keep pitching, and the door
will open for you.
2. Have conviction.
as if the result you want has already been achieved. When I first
signed John Denver he had only one genuine hit, but I still called his
next record John Denver’s Greatest Hits, making it seem to the public as
if he was already a star, like they’d known his music forever. They
already loved him — they always had. I knew Denver was a star; I could
feel it, and I believed it. And the rest is history.
3. Respect yourself.
This is key. If you respect yourself, you will be treated with
respect. Consider my relationship with the great Chicago power broker
Arthur Wirtz. Wirtz was a huge man, 6-foot-6, all power, a very
intimidating guy. When I first went to meet him, he made me wait outside
his office for hours. He did not even look up when I finally walked in,
just sat at his desk signing checks. Then, from the side of his mouth,
he said, “Yeah, what d’ya want?” So you know what I said? I said
“[bleep] you!” Why? Because he was not treating me with respect. He
looked up at me and smiled. I was no longer one of the thousands of
faceless nobodies asking him for a favor, but an individual. After that,
we forged a relationship that lasted for years.
4. Be creative.
your way around problems, come up with novel solutions, improvise. If
you think you have failed, you simply haven’t thought hard enough. As an
example, watch the animated video here about the first show I did with
Elvis. I had 5,000 unsold seats in a 10,000 seat arena with only hours
until showtime. Big problem. I was never going to find enough people to
fill the seats. But I quickly realized a solution: not more people, but
fewer seats. 5,000 to be exact, unscrewed from the floor and carried out
the door. Voila. No more empty seats.
5. Go nuts.
I don’t mean go crazy, I mean reach for the moon. Most people think
that if it hasn’t been done, it can’t be done. But if it hasn’t been
done, that probably just means it hasn’t been tried. This is the story
of my life, the kid who tries what no one thought to try before: putting
on concert tours in sports stadiums, selling the greatest hits of an
artist that has only one hit, having the greatest singer in the world
(Sinatra) perform in a boxing ring in the heart of New York City. Listen
to me: It is OK to fail. Fail and fail, again and again. You learn by
failing. And if you fail 10 times for every one success, then why not
fail a thousand times? It will make your success into a legend.