Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Tool for Titan #35 : What makes a successful salesperson ?

Daymond John is the CEO and founder of FUBU. He has won many business awards.

As this section is rather incoherent, rather than focus on what was said in the writeup, I would just take the opportunity to deconstruct a common trope in Singapore which is the successful salesperson.

I grew up in a retail environment so I had a lot of exposure to the folks my dad hung out with.

One person you would encounter is the "successful salesperson".

This salesperson may adopt a particular approach to life :

a) Life is about chionging (Aggressively taking risks ).

You don't need Minister Ng Chee Meng to tell you to chiong in life if you are a salesman. A successful salesman is all about chionging. It's not an easy thing to do, but the door gets slammed in their faces on a regular basis so they need to cultivate a thick skin and just get the job done.

b) The best motivation is being broke at one point in your life.

This is explained by Daymond's book The Power of Broke. If you read about those MDRT insurance folks, you will inevitably read up on stories of them going broke at one point in their lives and not having enough to pay for electricity.

As a family man, I don't like being broke even once in my life. However, I actually enjoy simulating poverty.

c) Education is unimportant to the salesperson.

Because I grew up in a pet-shop which is hardly the kind of place to be an intellectual, I used to get ragged by two kinds of folks who do not take kindly to my academic inclinations. The first are oil riggers who make more money than most medical or legal professionals. I'm actually fine with them because what they lack in education, they make up with solid hands-on skills.

The second group are salespeople.

Sales-people make a living by persuasion. I've seen some really horrible tricks pulled by shop-keepers to impress ex-pats to unload thousands to buy rose-wood furniture while I was growing up. If bullshit can be so profitable, going into further studies will probably be an impediment to financial success. You will notice that this anti-intellectual message is very common and much welcome in the insurance and MLM businesses.

The combination of my dad's buddies disapproval and scorn throughout my rebellious teenage years probably shaped me into what I am today.  It actually pushed me deeper into my books. I wanted to beat these sales fuckers in my own game. This also explains why I have never engaged an financial planner in my entire life. Everything for me is self-taught and self-bought.

Salespeople are in a losing proposition for many years now. Consumers are getting smarter and everything can be verified by going into the web. While personal relationship building still matters, a salesman needs real credibility and books on consultative selling has been dominating the bookshelves for years.

What's more important for everyone is to know what happens to these oil-riggers and salespersons at older age. What I learnt is that living on bullshit and manual dexterity makes it harder to developer the intellectual skills required to manage their money. Many failed to preserve their wealth and hardly transitioned into good investors.

Instead they continued to drown themselves in beer.

As I converted my father's physical property into investment assets, at a late stage of his life, he too was able to enjoy a monthly stipend higher than most working professionals. My mum even joked as to why i did not teach my dad how to invest when I was 9 years old, we would avoided a major business loss in the 1990s.

These few years my dad finally admitted that his friends are all not doing all that well, with many selling off their real estate assets to support the the last years of their life.

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