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Learn How 1 CEO Built a Multi-Million Dollar Company After a 3 Minute Audition on American Idol

Learn how Ryan Zamo went from an audition to millions in sales.

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BY Carol Sankar - 09 Jun 2018

Learn How 1 CEO Built a Multi-Million Dollar Company After a 3 Minute Audition on American Idol

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

There are many great success stories that have started from failed attempts. With the influx of reality shows which feature iconic figures, influencers and judges, the ability to attract your "15 minutes of fame" can prove to be more difficult than ever in such a crowded market.

I waited with baited breath for American Idol to return to prime time television this year. As always, you have those who can "wow" the judges and others who can't meet the mark to get the invitation to Hollywood and compete during the audition process. Either way, it makes for valuable, and often laughable, entertainment.

But how about if you do not meet the mark with your high notes but you make a major mark in your business from your audition--let's say the million dollar mark in sales? That is exactly what one contestant did and with just one mention from Katy Perry, sales have gone through the roof for Z Skin Cosmetics.

Founder Ryan Zamo, appeared on a recent episode and although he did not make it to Hollywood, he turned his three-minute opportunity into a genius sales pitch to have his cosmetic line, Z Skin, access a bit of free advertising, which increased sales and demand for this million dollar brand.

So what did Ryan do right?

He used the "Shock Effect."

It is one thing to make an appearance on a talent competition show to sing. It is another issue when you leave with more attention about your skin care line, than your high notes. Ryan mastered the shock factor on the show, which lead viewers to become curious about his business model than his singing, hence rapidly growing sales and making a name for himself.

The shock effect can play in your favor if it is done correctly. Choose an event where your target audience will be, then make the most of your pitch. It raises curiosity about your business model and what you offer from perspective buyers who may not have know about you before.

He immersed himself in the brand.

From the moment Ryan walked on to the set of the audition, he started the conversation discussing his brand. Clear visual on his merchandise and highlighting his own usage was extremely evident during the first minute. Your buyers remember what they can see, not what you say.

If you have a product, you need to consider yourself as a walking billboard for your own brand. A wise person once told me that "if you see the chef eating his/her own food, then you can trust the experience." It is a principle I live by as potential buyers want to see that a founder believes in what they offer.

He wasn't ashamed to plug his product.

No matter where you are, you should be a sales machine 24 hours a day. As a viewer, I expected Ryan to sing, but as a business owner, his shameless plug was a smart move. A platform such as American Idol presents the kind of publicity that offers a very high ROI and is almost impossible to buy as a small business owner. With millions of eyes watching, Ryan's confidence to approach the judges and make the sale was genius.

He didn't take his rejection personally.

The most admirable moment was turning embarrassment into a moment of success, without taking the criticism personally. Building a powerful brand will require multiple attempts and false starts at pitching to various stakeholders. Rejection is not personal and should never distract you from your intended goal of building a sales funnel.

Besides, who would not love a mega-star such as Katy Perry holding your product on live television? Although she said Ryan's song was "the worst rendition I've ever heard," it was actually the best sales pitch Ryan ever made.

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