Guld’s indirect entry into his current line of work came via his interest in radio, dating back to the very early years of his childhood, when he developed an intense affinity for the medium.
“At the age of six I was listening to early AM Top 40 stations featuring the music of the British Invasion, beach music, and Motown — I even had a Beatles wig!”
He went on to study at the University of Georgia, where he completed both his BBA and MBA degrees.
“I have always been a student of business, interested in what makes great companies succeed and marginal companies fail, so I enjoyed all the case studies. The Georgia football games and parties weren’t bad either!” he recounts.
Guld also took advantage of the campus’s Greek culture by becoming a part of the Tau Epsilon Phi Fraternity, an experience which not only laid the foundation of his college experience but also helped him develop the necessary social skills to succeed in relationship-centric industries like sales and business.
After graduation Guld entered into a promising job which seemed perfect on paper. Reality, however, did not correlate with his expectations and forced him to reorient the focus of his career.
“My first job was as a real estate investment analyst at Metropolitan Life Insurance, a prestigious and well-paying job, but I was miserable. Realizing early on how important passion is for a career, I decided to find a position that best matched my talents and interests.
“At the top of my list was the music industry, having played drums in rock and roll bands through college. Marketing, advertising, and promotion always came easy to me, yet I wanted to be in sales. A friend of mine looked at my list and said, ‘You need to sell advertising for music stations.’ It was a perfect fit from day one!”
After finding the right career, Guld set out on a path of hard-won successes, much of which compelled him to pen his own business-building strategy for the broadcasting industry.
“I was on the ‘radio train’ holding sales and management positions at radio stations in Atlanta, Raleigh, Jacksonville, and finally in Richmond, where I had a chance to live that ‘radio dream’ building a radio group from the ground up.
“After five years I had accomplished all that I had set out to accomplish and was ready for new challenges, so I wrote a book on the broadcasting industry: The Million Dollar Media Rep: How to Become a Television and Radio Sales Superstar. I then hit the road, training radio, television, and cable reps on how to maximize their performance and managers on how to get the most out of their people.
“In addition, I speak, train, and consult outside the broadcasting industry on what I call the ‘soft skills’ of business development — increasing sales performance, marketing exposure, employee productivity, and how to enhance the world-class experience.”
Despite the lucrative quality of his professional success, Guld’s guiding principle throughout has been his desire to do more than simply make money: he has wanted to invest in and better the communities of the businesses he coaches, emphasizing ethics and the spirit of community as much as the bottom line.
“As a broadcaster I took community service very seriously, wanting to ‘make a difference.’ We raised $54,000 in cash in 48 hours for the Red Cross after 9/11 and did so much for every community organization that we won the highest community service award from the Virginia Association of Broadcasters.”
Guld was also recently featured in a Radio & Records Publisher’s Profile and hopes to syndicate a new radio segment on a local station, called Talking Business with Michael Guld.
He maintains that the most important experiences have been the most personal ones, often demonstrating in unexpected ways important lessons about the best ways to conduct both a successful business and personal life.
“Losing my younger brother, Steven, to cancer at the age of 21 taught me that life is not a dress rehearsal and we need to treat each day like it could be our last. Do more of what you enjoy doing (work and play) and less of what you do not (bringing you stress). You should also spend more time with people (and clients) that you enjoy being with (and working with) and less time with those you do not. And finally, never stop chasing your dream, regardless of the perceived obstacles in your way!”
Guld has also benefited from the expert guidance of several mentors over the course of his career, helping mold his leadership skills and paving the way for his future success.
“Martin Sherry was my first sales manager. As a former army ranger in Vietnam, when he said, “Let’s go out there and kick some #%*,” we took him very seriously. Another huge professional role model was Mike Cutchall, the former president of Prism Radio Partners, who had laser focus in communication so that when talking with you he made you feel that you were the most important thing at that time — a great leadership quality.”
His advice to aspiring sales or business professionals is to work with what they have — their unique and innate strengths which not only make them stand out from the field but make them want to get up and go to work in the morning.
“I believe that ultimate success results from having a position that capitalizes on your talents and strengths and one that ignites your passion, where you wake up excited about the challenges of the day. Spend the upfront time to find the ‘right’ job that you perceive to have that ‘fit.’ Use visualization to imagine yourself in that position every day.”
|Q. What do you do for fun?
A. Since much of my time is on the road, when home I want to spend that quality time with my wife and three kids. I also enjoy working out and playing drums.
Q. What CD is in your CD player right now?
A. Just bought The Beatles’ Abbey Road — a classic that still sounds great!
Q. What is the last magazine you read?
A. Fortune. I am a business news junkie.
Q. What is your favorite TV show?
A. CBS Sunday Morning.
Q. Who is your role model?
A. My parents. With over 50 years of marriage, successful careers, philanthropy (both in dollars and time), and deep-rooted values, they are a model example of how to get the most out of life.
Q. What makes you laugh?
A. Life…a good sense of humor helps you to get the most out of life in the good times and helps you make it through the tough times. A friend of mine once said you need to laugh one belly laugh every day to feel good…a philosophy that I try to live by.