A conversation with a man who doesn’t know how to sell

March 22, 2017

During my last visit to the city. I lunched with a brilliant agronomist who confided to me – no one seems to be very interested in engaging his services. I listened impassively to his lengthy recount of missed opportunities along with shattered dreams…..then when he asked. Why is it so effortless for you?

I simply quipped. No one does it better than the Koreans. Thereafter I shared with the man who can’t seem to sell anything this YouTube video.

After that. I turned to this man and asked, do you understand what I am trying to convey to you?

He did not get it…..


‘We don’t live in a fair world. Frequently the best products and services don’t even regularly get votes from wallets. Yes, I know – they should. But the fact is they don’t!

That’s because the vast majority of humans are very far from just cold and calculating metallic machines. Infact they’re all without exception romantics and even slightly emotional to pass of as down right quirky.

Always remember a man who walks into a DIY store on a Sunday to buy a drill, isn’t just there with the solitary intent of making a hole in the wall. He is very much a part of a narrative. A story where he may even see himself living in a dream place somewhere in his mind, where he can display on a wall of shelves all the things that brings him happiness and an intense feeling of being close to the things and objects that he identifies with. It’s an intensely edifying experience for one to be part of such an exciting story.

So if you happen to a marketing promoter of drills don’t ever sell him how good the drill is rather weave yourself as one of those characters in his story.

In the same way when a planter walks into a conference room filled with anxious men – he is not simply there to supply the prescriptive cure than may nail their problem in one hit!

I know life should work that way…but it doesn’t.

Rather the story has begun the very moment he walks in. The effortless way in which he strolls in with a quiet air of confidence. The faint aroma of ancient wood that speaks of speckled timber deep in the emerald green of the jungle in moss covered rounded river stones complete with even the sweet sound of running water. The congenial way he tarries and pushes to get his point across or to get buy in from those on the table speaks of range and breadth of experience in navigating skillfully thru complexity. A deep scar that speaks the length of once having lived a hard life on the razor’s edge. His impeccable old world charm in the way he regards ladies again speaks of faraway worldly ways and so on and so forth.

There is nothing fake or contrived or even manufactured about all this….it is awfully real and that is really how it is when it comes to managing yourself and others in the real world.

Anyway who tells you different just doesn’t know how every person lives his or her life thru a narrative called a story.

Like I said, it is very much an unfolding story is it not – a story that may perhaps even include all the lietmotifs of passion, energy, dreams, pleasures, excitement, seeing the world slightly differently from the way one has always seen it and much more.

When we understand what really accounts for human wants and desires only then is it possible to insert oneself in between that happy sliver between yearning and the fulfillment of that desire – then it is very easy to be part of that larger narrative. Rather than to stand awkwardly beside it. Not really knowing the part one is expected to play to render the story more interesting and exciting so as to mesmerise and enthral the audience.

With this realisation. Suddenly the world is not just reduced to a series of functioning nuts and bolts. Rather there are darkened interiors and even shadows to this story where there might even exist the Hollywood promise of redemption along with trite ending one lives happily forever thereafter….it may not be real. But maybe it is not meant to be. As for one to be part of a story in earnest. One would do well to play the part impeccably.

I have learnt so many wonderful things from the magical Koreans. For one. Never just sell functional things like nuts and bolts. No matter how good it is. Never just do that – as there is really so much mileage one can get from that approach. Instead observe and listen carefully to what sort of narrative you have walked into – do not interrupt the flow. Don’t even judge it. Simply observe and appreciate the nuances of the story that you find yourself in.

By just doing that alone you will know intuitively what is expect from you. It will come very naturally.’

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