What can we learn about sales from this grandma?

She is 68 year old grandma, a former teacher and she is one of the most prolific sales people in the world. From her humble beginnings  30 years ago she now leads a sales army of 300,000 sales people and hauls in $8M in sales commission.

Her sales secret?

Lead With Emotions:

The most powerful weapon is to move somebody emotionally. So if you send out a signal as love, you will receive the same signal back.

Tell Stories: When she talks she uses stories filled with emotion, like about her mother.   She favors simple stories, from Christopher Columbus to pyramids to Ronald Reagan,

It’s up to us to elevate ourselves to be givers

Believe: When everyone else worries about the playing field and system that does not favor them she strongly believes

“the system is designed only for me to succeed”

Always Be Connecting: When most struggle with reaching their customers she turns even her everyday action turn into a sales lead. She made her first customer by asking for restaurant recommendation on the street

“that is how we made friends. And then we told him about the business.”

Don’t Keep Score: When most try to focus on how much they make she does not keep score.

“I don’t even know how much I make”

Make Deeper Connections: When sales people are known for superficial connections she believes in making stronger connections,

“You have to know the inside of people, rather than the outside of people. You’ve got to know their hearts.”

In fact her success largely depends on delighting her customers so much and turning them into her sales people.

And the result speak for itself doesn’t it?

But wait there is more. If you have not figured out yet, this is meant to be dripping with irony. Did I mention she is an Amway, a multilevel network, distributor? Can you see how she is simply one of those lucky few among the millions who happened to consistently get heads in each toss of coin and ended up at the top of the pyramid?

What can you learn from this sales machine grandma? Survivorship bias of course.

Next time you read stories asking you to learn about sales, business, marketing etc. based on anecdotes beware of this.

Story link here.

Paper Napkin Math for Adding a Sales Channel

Some call it the Distribution Channel, I call it the Sales Channel.

A sales channel is for reaching customers and selling them your product.

If you made and sold cupcakes, your cupcake store is a sales channel.Customers walk in to buy your cream filled cupcakes and other goodies.

Suppose you want to reach customers who do not come to your store but are already visiting another store. You can sell to those customers if you make your cupcakes available in that store by cutting a deal with that store. For example, if you sell your cupcakes through local Whole Foods, that is yet another sales channel.

Your goal here is not about bringing those who buy the cupcakes at Whole Foods back to your store but to reach them where they are. For providing you this access, Whole Foods (or any other sales channel) will take a cut of the sales. That is the cost of hiring the sales channel.

Sales Channel unlocks value for you. It helps you reach new customers and likely different willingness to pay for your product.

These new customers are a different breed. They may not value your product the same way those who walk into your store do. The price they are willing to pay may be higher or lower.

For some sales channels, like GrouponLive, it is lower because of the way they have been trained to expect discounts. The You need to discount your cupcakes 25% (or more) and also give another 25% or more to Groupon as sales commission for making this sales possible.

You may be able to sell 1000 additional cupcakes per day with this new sales channel. But should you do it?

When is a sales channel profitable? Only when every sale is profitable. You need profit on every cupcake sold. If not, you are better off not adding the sales channel.  As the saying goes, you cannot make it up in volume if you are losing money on each unit.