Two-time Heavyweight Champion, Record-Busting Salesman, Author, and Serial Entrepreneur George Foreman became famous in two very different careers.
The second richest boxer (Floyd Mayweather is the first) of all time, Foreman is the only boxer in history to have amassed more wealth from his business activities outside of the ring than he made from his boxing matches inside the ring.
Growing up in Texas, he had a troubled childhood until he found boxing. Joining the U.S. Olympic boxing team, he captured the Gold Medal at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City at 19 years old in only his 25th amateur fight. Turning pro shortly after, he became the Heavyweight Champion of the World in 1973 when he knocked out the undefeated Smokin’ Joe Frazier. After a 19-month reign in which he was undefeated (40 and 0), he lost to Muhammad Ali in the eighth round of a brutal fight known as “The Rumble in the Jungle”. It’s still considered by many to be one of the greatest sporting events of the 20th century. He retired from boxing the first time in 1977. Ten years later, at 38, he made an impressive comeback in boxing. At 45, he shocked the world when he became the Heavyweight Champion of the World a second time defeating Michael Moorer in one of the most memorable boxing moments in history. He is the oldest boxer to win the World Heavyweight Championship. Out of his 81 career fights, Foreman posted 76 wins (20 more than Muhammad Ali) and 68 knockouts (nearly double Ali’s 37.) He’s been inducted into the World Boxing Hall of Fame and International Boxing Hall of Fame and is rated the 8th greatest boxer of all time.
Outside of boxing, Foreman is a successful entrepreneur. His second claim to fame was in selling the George Foreman Lean Mean Fat-Reducing Grilling Machine. Considered one of the most successful pitchmen of all time, George Foreman made a deal with Salton Inc. to put his name on their grill and become their spokesperson. A lucrative endorsement deal, Foreman received 40% of sales and later was paid a staggering $138 million to buy the rights to use his name on the grill in perpetuity. Selling over 120million units, Foreman revealed during an interview with AARP that between the royalties and a lump sum buy-out, he pocketed a minimum of $250 million from the grill.
Besides selling the grill, he’s been a brand ambassador for several multinational companies including McDonald’s, Doritos, Nike, and KFC. He spent over a decade promoting Meineke Car Care Centers and grew the business to over 1000 franchises. He’s also successfully launched a line of environmentally safe cleaning products, an exclusive line of personal care products, a prescription shoe for diabetics to prevent amputations, a restaurant franchise called UFood Grille, and is still continuing to add to that list today.
He’s appeared in TV and films, was a commentator on HBO for 13 years and a partner on the Panther Racing IndyCar Team.
Here are four of Foreman’s knockout business secrets that led to his extraordinary success both in and out of the ring.
Always be selling. “I like to think of myself as a salesperson.” This is what Foreman said during an interview with Forbes Magazine. He applies selling to everything he does. When Foreman gave up his gloves the first time in 1977, he decided he wanted to be a preacher at his local church. To do this, he was told he needed to go to the streets and start talking. Foreman said to him that meant he had to sell himself. Gradually he won people over and got them to trust him.
He used his selling skills to win his way back into the ring. He was 38 years old and out-of-shape when he returned to boxing the second time. Foreman had to convince the public and promoters that he could do it. He persuaded HBO to approve him as an opponent to Heavyweight Champion Michael Moorer. Foreman wasn’t expected to win, but HBO was convinced the fight would draw ratings.
When he became the spokesperson for the grill, he had to sell the idea that he wasn’t this menacing, intimidating boxer anymore. He smiled a lot and portrayed himself as a friendly father of ten who wanted to help people eat healthier. He sold the idea that he loved people and that he could be trusted.
There’s no shortcut to success. Foreman is no stranger to adversity. In fact, he received a Horatio Alger Award honoring him for overcoming adversity to become a success.
For example, he dropped out of school at 15 to get a job to help his family. When he wasn’t working, he was training as a boxer. And before returning to boxing the second time, he lost his $5 million nest egg on bad investments and was nearly homeless. He fought his way back and then some building up a $300 million dollar net worth.
Foreman has said the pathway to success is starting early in the morning and going until late at night every day. Do that and nothing will stop you.
An enthusiastic personality makes you attractive to clients. You only have to watch George in a commercial to see the energy and excitement that exudes from him. Michael Boehm, the inventor of the George Foreman lean mean fat-reducing machine reportedly decided he wanted to have George Foreman be his spokesman after seeing him passionately endorse mufflers in a TV ad.
Stay in front of your audience consistently. At 70 years old, Foreman is still in the spotlight. Local, national and international media exposure is a constant even though he hasn’t fought in a quarter of a century. Plus, he’s written more than a dozen books including Knockout Entrepreneur.
Foreman has an active online presence too. He expanded his global reach through social media, reserving time in his schedule each day to get on Twitter and Facebook. A routine he started in 2010, he answers questions and posts daily quotes.
When you follow Foreman’s lead and fearlessly tackle your business with the same consistent hard-work ethic and enthusiasm —and remember to always be selling, you can’t help but be successful too.
In April 2020, George Foreman will equip attendees of the 13th Annual IT Sales and Marketing Bootcamp with the principles and strategies you need to embody every day to have a knock-out year and create enormous success in your business. For information and details, visit www.RobinsBigSeminar.com