Bob and his sales partner Kyle Tippet were trapped in their car for two days during the 1989 meteor shower. According to Kyle, they were not very good salesmen before that day. Afterward they could persuade anyone to do anything. They made salesmen of the year in 1989, 1990, and 1991, but the two men eventually parted ways when Kyle became scared by his power and sought solitude. Kyle simply asked Rickman to leave Smallville alone. Bob founded his own company: Rickman Industries. He used his power of persuasion to get the government to set ludicrously low environmental regulations for his pesticide plants. When Paul Hendrix launched an investigation and threatened to get a restraining order, Bob persuaded him to commit suicide. Bob then made his way to Smallville. Bob threw a promotional party in order to introduce himself to the local businessmen. He had a notable encounter with his long-time rival, Lex Luthor. While Bob pretended to make peace, Lex harbored pure animosity toward his opponent and refused to shake his hand. In the course of the evening, Bob persuaded Whitney Fordman to kill his former friend Kyle Tippet, who had earlier threatened to expose his evil plans as a result of him violating their old agreement; although Rickman mocked Kyle's threat, saying that he had been practicing with his powers for years while Kyle had denied his, he notably refused to take Kyle's hand. Whitney's murder attempt failed due to the heroic intervention of Clark Kent. Nevertheless, Kyle was arrested for attacking Whitney. A few hours later, Bob persuaded a deputy to eliminate his foe once and for all and Clark saved Kyle's life for the second time. Later, Bob used his powers to persuade Jonathan Kent to sell his farm. He later encountered Clark at the Talon with a bright smile on his face. He shook hands with Clark, but his handshake had no effect and Clark almost broke his hand. After that, Bob paid a visit to Lex who was willing to help the Kents break the contract to sell the farm. Lex finally shook his hand and Bob used his powers to persuade Lex to kill Clark and Kyle. Clark managed to disarm Lex and break Bob's orders. Bob himself had a final encounter with Kyle, as the two clasped hands while wrestling for control of a gun. Despite Bob's greater practice, Kyle's powers won out, and he was able to order Bob to kill himself.