From a Chicken Cutter to CEO and Industry Ambassador
Recently I had the privilege and honor of interviewing Mr. Richard Brooke for the It’s Time to Sell podcast, a series covering stories of entrepreneurs and sales professionals who have gotten over their fear of selling.
Richard is the owner of Life Shotz and an ambassador for the direct sales industry. In the interview we walked through how he transformed his life from being content working as a chicken cutter at the age of twenty-two to leading a company and industry within ten short years.
Early in his career Richard had a disdain for selling—in the traditional sense of the word—that ran deep. He hated the whole idea of calling and asking people if they wanted to buy his product. It took him a number of years to get over that. But he also recognized that in order to take his life beyond the poultry plant he had to find a vein of the sales process that resonated with him. This vein had to be completely different than the cliché paradigm in which he and most people viewed sales as “trying to get people to do something they do not necessarily want to do.” He wanted nothing to do with that type of sales.
So, after some mentoring, he found a different way. A way that suited him and his values.
The key word Richard emphasizes is curiosity.
He gave a great example in the interview. A few months ago while riding a shuttle bus between airport terminals, Richard asked a couple sitting next to him, “Where are you from?” This turned into a natural conversation that concluded with the realization that they know common people and live in neighboring neighborhoods. Since that initial interaction, Richard and his wife have gone out to dinner with the couple. The relationship has the makings of a lasting friendship. Maybe they will someday be a customer for Richard. Who knows? Richard doesn’t have that agenda, but if it happens that’s great.
Being effective at networking and, ultimately, sales starts with curiosity. In our chat, Richard used the example of seeing a person’s name and title on LinkedIn and realizing that the person has such a rich story. When you add in a common friend, the curiosity about that person’s story goes through the roof. Richard loves to uncover these connections, their stories, and the rich possibilities.
Richard teaches people to approach the sales process from the perspective of curiosity and asking questions. Curiosity will define your listening, and the chips will fall where they may. Let things happen naturally. Relationships and sales should be viewed as a marathon rather than a sprint.
With this mindset, selling becomes a joy. You end up becoming a matchmaker between people’s problems and potential solutions.
Richard Brooke is a great example of someone who has found a way to sell that suits his values and personality. When he came to the realization that it was time to sell, he broke through his misgivings. I bet he’s glad he did.
Are you naturally curious? It’s a wonderful trait, and it might even help you sell some things from time to time.
What are your thoughts about getting over the old paradigms about sales that we have floating around in our minds? What values do you have that you can leverage? I'd love to hear from you.