THE MOST IMPORTANT SKILL IN BUSINESS

I was with my mentor (David Daniel Abiye) on Thursday 19th may 2016 in his house at Port Harcourt, and then two visitors who had called earlier that they wanted to see him walked into the house. One is Mr. Paul Arkwright, the British high commissioner to Nigeria and the other is Mr. Strive Masiyiwa, a London-based Zimbabwean business man, entrepreneur and philanthropist.




He is the founder and executive chairman of diversified International Telecommunications group, Econet Wireless. What they came to discuss is History and not much of concern to you but this is what I noted and learnt. "To my surprise, the British High commissioner Mr. Paul brought with him catalogs and brochures of businesses in his country. He urged my mentor to consider Investing and buying services and products from his country. I must confess I was totally amazed. Also while they were at the discussion because I was at the dinning close to the palor listening, Mr Strive Masiyiwa shared 3 IMPORTANT SKILLS IN BUSINESS. According to Mr. Strive are first; THE ABILITY TO READ, THE ABILITY TO COUNT (WORK IN NUMBERS) and thirdly, is THE ABILITY TO SELL.
After this secret encounter, while I was back home pondering on the 3 skills, my instincts made me choose the one I think is the most Important. That's the reason I wrote this article and titled it THE MOST IMPORTANT SKILL IN BUSINESS. Which is THE SELLING SKILL( The Ability to sell). 


* NEVER STOP SELLING.

Every businessman must be a good salesperson. You must never stop selling, even if you're the richest man in the world. "I remember listening to Bill Gates sometime talking passionately about one of the products from Microsoft. I thought to myself, wow, he is the richest man in the world but still interested in selling his products." This business strategy is not just employed by just Bill Gates; every great entrepreneur has this skill.
Bill Gates said this in his award winning and most inspiring New York best #10 and international bestseller book titled the Road Ahead, "When I was about eight years old, my mother gave me a packet of sweets to take to school. I sold the sweets one by one over launch break. After that, I bought another sweet and sold them to my friends using my profits. Before long I had a little business but it almost became a disaster when I took to the streets and got lost whilst trying to sell my sweets. The cops got up with me and returned me home to my mother who reported me missing. She stopped me from selling sweets and channelled my Energy into more creative things, but she did not kill my entrepreneurial zeal".
There are a lot of people who dream of getting into business but think it's beneath them to be seen trying to sell something. Never look down on a street vendor because from their ranks will come great entrepreneurs than from most business schools.
Whatever it is you're trying to do, whether it's a product or a service, you must know how to sell. There are millions of people who work for organizations even in very senior management positions who could not even sell an alcoholic beverage to an alcoholic.
(Am not a fan to Alcohol, Alcoholics are liable to die young) but if a salesperson or whoever cannot convince an addicted alcoholics, then you need to learn the art of selling.



Lack of selling skills is bad. There is an old adage amongst military planners which says "a battle plan is only as good as the first contact with the enemy". In business, it is interpreted to "a business plan is only as good as your ability to sell to a customer." The ability to sell is the skill we all need and it goes beyond selling something to a customer. It includes " making a proper pitch" to an investor and bankers. It also includes “Selling your Vision" to potential and current employers, employees and partners. It's all about the ability to sell.
You should become conscious about what it really takes to sell something. Once you become conscious of selling at its most basic level, you can move onto things like marketing.
One of the greatest sales person, I have ever known is an American. I have such admiration for his practice of sales and marketing in the United States. Imagine for a moment the guy who invented Coca-Cola, Dr John Pemberton was looking for a quick cure for his headache when he concocted the Coca-Cola formula in May 1886. Now Imagine, how on earth did he persuade people to overcome their thirst by drinking a black liquid? How could he? I imagine people would have had a second thought at the idea of drinking something that looked dirty. You need to think consciously about how a product or service can be sold or is being sold. However, you must remember that it does not matter how good you are in sales, if the product or service is bad, you will not last.

*AFTER THOUGHT


I learnt that every year members of the BRITISH ROYAL FAMILY travel around the world promoting british companies and products. They are not ashamed to go out and sell products and services developed by companies from their country. They do not consider it as something beneath them but something of high honour. They know that when British Companies are successful, it creates wealth and jobs in their countries. We should all be passionate about promoting and defending products and services produced by companies from our various countries and so should our leaders. Everyone in a leadership position, who does not take time to sell products and services from his country does not appreciate the Modern Wealth Creation Model as stated by the Commerce Secretary of The United States during a meeting of the World Economic Summit in Nigeria some time ago, which states that  " I am the chief marketing officer of all industries in the United States". Wow, we must be on the lookout for opportunities to promote products and services from our countries and continent at large. This is where wealth, taxes and jobs come from, it is not Rocket Science.






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