Be So Good They Can’t Ignore You

I saw this posted on a black board sitting outside a woman’s athletic store in Southern California last week. It caught my attention enough to take a picture of it on my phone. At the time, I thought it was a good quote and just wanted to remember it for later, but when I was thinking about what to write for my blog post today, it popped back into my mind. I learned that Steve Martin, comedian and actor shared this quote as the key to his success during an interview with Charlie Rose when he was promoting his memoir Born Standing Up. “Nobody ever takes note of [my advice] because it’s not the answer they wanted to hear,” Martin said when answering a question about what advice he would give to aspiring performers. “What they want to hear is: ‘Here’s how you get an agent” and “Here’s how you write a script.’  But I always say, ‘Be so good they can’t ignore you.’” Be so good  they can’t ignore you – how awesome is this thought. I thought I’d share a few ideas how using this statement in the recruiting industry can work to your advantage: For recruiters contacting potential candidates: When you reach out to a candidate that looks like a good fit for a job, personalize your initial message to them and provide them with a good reason to want to talk with you. For candidates that are contacted by a recruiter: When a recruiter contacts you, view it as a compliment (they think you’re good) and be open to talking with them. You never know, the job they are calling about might be just the right thing to take your career to the next step. For job seekers: When you apply for a job, customize your resume and highlight your relevant experience for each job. You’ll be so good, they won’t ignore you. For job interviewers: Prepare for your interview by researching the company you are interviewing with, including the person you are interviewing with. Be sure to listen in the interview and engage with the hiring manager, don’t just talk at them. Give them a good reason to move you on to the next step. For hiring managers: Be prepared for the candidate interview by reviewing their resume before the interview, not during the interview. Provide them with good information about your company, so they want to move to the next step. As a Manager: Delegate and let your staff do the job they were hired to do. If they are the right people for the job, they will do a good job and deliver. Just thinking about this quote motivates me and makes me think about being better in many different ways. Better as an employee, better as a manager, better as a parent, better as a spouse, and just better in general. Bottom line, every day is an opportunity to make the effort towards being so good they can’t ignore you. Please share what you want to be so good at they can’t ignore you? Thanks Steve Martin!  


Keenan is A Sales Guy Inc’s CEO/President and Chief Antagonist. He’s been selling something to someone for his entire life. He’s been teaching and coaching almost as long. With over 20 years of sales experience, which he’ll tell you he doesn’t give a shit about, Keenan has been influencing, learning from and shaping the world of sales for a long time. Finder of the elephant in the room, Keenan calls it as he sees it and lets nothing or no one go unnoticed.