Radoslav Blagoev is a top business consultant and a regular speaker at events on sales and business development topics. His expertise in strategic marketing and effective sales has influenced the biggest companies in Europe. Visit his website where you can find more about Radoslav and Blagoev Agency.
For somebody to be a salesperson, it doesn’t mean to develop successfully only their soft skills. Strategic thinking and complex skills are necessary – to be upgraded in order to transform this person into a strong tool for achieving high results in the business.
The ability to convince people is crucial in sales, but not enough for the business to be profitable and this is indeed what gave me the motivation to tell you my story, which you will be reading in the next lines.
The year was 1998 and then I was only 19 years old. I possessed a small chain of shops for vegetables and fruits. One of my shops was a stall located in a very strategic place at the best marketplace in the Capital of Bulgaria – Sofia City. There I was realizing the highest turnover within my chain on a daily basis. Naturally, the highest expenses of my small business were generated by the same location.
I was working hard, but I didn’t make enough money. I explained this to myself with the big wastage and with lack of business knowledge.
When I started this business in the very beginning I understood that I will not be able to make money if I operate only one site, because I will not manage to get good enough wholesale prices. I wanted to buy bigger quantities and therefore to receive better wholesale price. If I wanted to make money, I had to open more shops and this is exactly what I did – only for a few months, I had opened 4 shops. Even though 2 of them were not enough profitable, I was keeping them operating because they were helping me to achieve the necessary volumes – the bigger the volume, the better the price.
Christmas was approaching and all my colleagues were excited. They were calling this day “the day of the year”. It was a short period of 4 or 5 days, within which the people were shopping a lot and all sellers were generating great revenue mostly from selling bananas and oranges. I was also hoping that it would be my big day and I would make money. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen. I had a lot of stock but the price of the other sellers was very close to my wholesale price. I managed to sell everything but didn’t manage to make enough money. All of us worked hard, but the revenue was low.
After Christmas, some sellers were sharing among them their stories and how much money each one has made. Some of them said that they will not work within the next weeks because the winter is an awful season for this business. But I was not successful and I had to work again without power and enthusiasm.
An old man was selling near to me. He had no employees – he was working alone and rarely was talking with anyone. I remember how I was complaining to him about my bad luck and then for the first time he turned on to me and said:
“You didn’t have good results well because you don’t understand this business. I see that you have good selling skills but this business has its specifics that you have to know if you want to make money. You have to learn the subtleties of the business and because you are so young I will tell you one of them. It is very important lesson that will show you how to make money next Christmas; remember, this is one of the many lessons that you need to learn. Are you ready to listen to me?”
I was not feeling good in this conversation, my ego was so big! I was only 19 years old and I was operating 4 shops and this old man was working alone. But had no choice and I had to ask him how to make money through the Christmas.
“OK, please tell me, how to make money next Christmas?”
I could not believe that I said it – in general, I was so self-confident. But finally, depressed from the bad results, I asked the old man for advice and that came immediately.
If you want to make money from bananas you should buy green bananas two weeks before Christmas. Then you should grow them yourself. Every morning and every night you should open the box, the bananas have to get a little bit of oxygen and then you have to close the box again. I guarantee you that if you do this you will have great bananas for Christmas. Your bananas will be so yellow; I doubt that anybody would have the same quality.
Did you like my advice?
But how will I grow green bananas if they are in the box? How could the bananas become yellow in the box, I can’t believe!
The men smiled and told me:
“Don’t worry my friend, take my advice and you will succeed.”
It was hard for me to believe the story of the old man but I decided to follow his advice. Before next Christmas, I invested all my money in green bananas. I bought 7 tons of green bananas. It was quite an adventure to take care of them for two weeks. It was hard work, but the bananas really became so yellow and fresh – I was feeling that I am so close to the success.
Christmas was here and I managed to sell all my bananas for less of a day and really earned 10 000 levs for one day.
The lesson learned was much bigger than how to grow green bananas and to make money at Christmas – it was the beginning of my personal growth.
I understood how important it is for a person to have mentors. I understood that listening is more important than speaking.
Now I am helping people to master their potential and the potential of their business. I wrote the book “Catch the Joker” which I dedicated to the convincing communication and the effective sales. I recommend you to invest a few hours in this book and read it. You will find more interesting stories that will show you valuable sales techniques and strategies as well as useful marketing insights and element of the psychology of influence.
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