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Paul Heyman: Medicine Man


I wanted to share a conversation I had over the weekend, one that helped remind me just how far WWE reaches into the mainstream.

And sometimes far beyond its own demographic.

While it's not unusual to see the WWE brand show up in unusual places, like Aaron Rodgers waist (hold for #GenoTime), one place I never expected it to surface was Big Pharma.

In college I did a security internship for one of the world's largest pharmaceutical companies and as I'm sure you would imagine, I could write an entire book about some of the stuff I saw behind the scenes. But considering my confidentiality agreement (and fear of car bombs), I'll keep it topical.

During my time in Pillville I met a guy who I'll refer to "Dave," which would make sense, since that's his name.

Anyway, Dave had just graduated from the same school I was attending and we hit it off in the cafeteria. Thanks to the wonders of the digital age we managed to stay in touch and I met him for breakfast last Saturday to catch up.

During the course of our conversation, he used the word "temerity."


Since words are my business (and how I pay my mortgage), I can usually tell where an unusual one originated. In this case, knowing he was a closet pro wrestling fan, I asked him if he was stealing Paul Heyman's shtick, or just trying to see if I was paying attention.

"Neither," he replied. "Probably just stuck with me after our last sales meeting."

Say what?

Over the years, Dave worked his way up from sales rep to regional sales manager. His job is to make sure the worker bees are buzzing to the right tune and as with any sales job, presentation is everything. If you can't talk, hold attention, or sway opinion, you're going to have a very short career.

What's that got to do with Paul Heyman?

Dave uses wrestling promos during some of his leadership rallies. Think about that for a second. A regional sales manager for a billion-dollar pharmaceutical company plays WWE videos to help make his salesmen more confident speakers.

"Which promo?" I asked.

"Does it matter?" he asked back. "They're all amazing."

In addition, I found it interesting that Dave prefers charismatic heels, because he likes to study how they handle rejection from the live audience, which is also a big part of sales and sales presentations. Turns out Chris Jericho is one of his go-to favorites, as well.

Obviously, he's not trying to damage the credibility of his employer.

No one is walking into a physician's office to chair-shot the nurse, or dropping a pipe bomb on that quack who always wants the free samples but never buys anything.

He also stressed that his WWE promos are a very small part of his overall strategy to keep his sales force lucid. But the fact that Paul Heyman and other pro wrestlers are showing up in corporate boardrooms to help make good talkers great, is a testament to their skill as performers.

Dave claims sales are up "12-15 percent" since adding a little WWE flavor.

Thinking back to my life as a corporate suit, I remember bringing donuts to my office meetings. Maybe I should have brought some old ECW tapes, instead.

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