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Tough Jobs: a K-Tel Review

By Edited May 17, 2015 0 0

Back in the day, K-Tel was undoubtedly the strongest driving force in the sales industry. Any product you could ever think of, they had. But no matter how many things one company tries to sell, it's not necessarily the product that does it, but rather the way it is sold. Phil Kives, creator of the K-Tel monopoly, knew this perfectly. And it was because of his knowledge and the diversity of products made, that K-Tel thrived for many years even during the company's roughest times.

k-tel logo

Phil Kives appears to be a sort of "people person." He knew how to reach people, relate to them, and in a sort of way, would befriend them even if it was just through his products. He often communicated with the "average Joe", especially farmers, and made some serious money this way. Phil also seems to be extremely humble and displayed humility (he knew what it was like to be poor), both characteristics which almost instantly make him a likeable person. However, at the same time, his greed and his constant wanting to monopolize everything is a bit of a turn-off. While Phil was humble about what he did, he simply could not let go of anything and ultimately had to have it all while he completely dominated the market to begin with. This sole fact alone is one that can make people view him in a negative way.


Throughout K-Tel's history, Phil was not directly selling products. Ultimately, you cannot sell any sort of product without selling yourself first, and that's exactly what he did in order to make a sale. As mentioned before, Phil knew how to talk to farmers very well, and because they could relate to him and almost take a look inside his life, he made a lot of money. However, he was not limited to such a small crowd. Phil took the K-Tel company out on the road wherever he could, including county fairs and the like. It was at these events where, for a while, he could reach a very large amount of people, and would sell himself by "playing the crowd." Of course, not everyone would be interested in what Phil had to offer, but even if one or two people displayed and interest, they would often talk to others and give referrals if they were satisfied. Phil also knew that in these situations, potential buyers would often forget that they said no to you if they were approached for a second time. This, and the other reasons he made so many sales, was because he used the method of a hard sell – almost like a "carnie" style.


Right from the beginning, Phil practically made buyers believe that they needed his product. Through hard work and even the occasional scam, he was able to get through to people whether they wanted anything to do with K-Tel or not. Even though Phil was "selling himself," it ultimately came down to getting the K-Tel products off of the shelf. The best way to do this, of course, is through advertising. K-Tel's ads still displayed the hard sell technique, and would air multiple times per day to reach as many potential customers as possible, and practically force them to decide if they wanted the product or not. These advertisements were often obnoxious and over the top, but regardless of this, Phil new that a good product made a good commercial, and a good commercial sells.


Having a positive attitude and an overall knowledge of a product is how Phil Kives used the selling triangle. He was also very persistent, and had a no-quitting attitude towards everything. Whenever Phil was asked a question, he answered immediately and never left a potential buyer in the dark about anything. Of course, there were a few scams involved within his selling tactics, but in the end the customer was presumably happy, and Phil and the rest of K-Tel were ecstatic and continued thriving.


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