Chin-Ning Chu’s The Art of War for Women

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I was having internal struggles/conflicts the past weeks/months that I decided to start my year with this book, ‘The Art of War for Women’ by Chin-Ning Chu.

I bought fifteen new books before the year started and out of those new treasures, this seemed to be the most appropriate at this time – ‘It’s about the Art, not the War’ it says.

So here are 32 valuable lessons I picked up from this book that I hope will help those who, like me, are facing/dealing some challenging things or tough times with their work/career:

1.You have to give up your attachment to clear-cut realities and instead embrace the whole spectrum of colors and paradox and ambiguity

I learned this early on during my salesman career – attach, detach. But it never gets easy.

2.Don’t look for rules or consistency. The only rule is, there are no rules

While I long have accepted that there are always exceptions to the rules, it’s quite hard for me to accept that there is none. Rules always give that sense of direction.

3.When you do the right thing for the right reason, the right result awaits

4.’Having it all’ means something different to different people

5.Always find a new job before you quit your old one

I have this principle when it comes to relationship and work not to look for another one when I’m still involve with one. I usually wait until it’s all over and done with the previous one before hopping on to the next. But it’s never successful – I always end up staying. Playing safe, it seems is the surest way to go.

6.Sell yourself first. Until you have convinced the world that you are worthy of great things, don’t expect to be given much responsibility

7.You need to take a giant step back. Understanding the opposition begins with understanding yourself

8.Live every workday as if it were your last day on the job, and you’ll be amazed at how focused and confident you’ll be

9.If you get hurt enough, eventually you learn

Hardest way but the surest way! 🙂 Nothing beats this one – tried and tested.

10.A unique resume requires some soul-searching

11.Win first, then fight.

12. Victory is not in your control but rather the gift of your enemy

13.No matter how hard you work, no matter how much you prepare, you will encounter things that you didn’t plan for – you will have to adapt

14.The battle plan will change as your opponents grow stronger. What will remain is you

15.Be nice to yourself first. Let the rest of humanity take care of themselves

16.You cannot climb the corporate ladder with glass slippers on; for that you need combat boots. It takes a warrior to climb a ladder – the point is, we need to choose

17.Notice the signals of timing hidden all around

18.The truth is less important than what your opponents believe to be true

19. You need to call on that power of perseverance when things are not going your way

20.We all need to simmer from time to time

21.Women from Mars never get to the top

22.There is something that all Venus women forget: there is always a younger Venus waiting to replace her

23.Earth women succeed

24.If you know how to handle one person, then undoubtedly you can manage a million people as a single unit

25. No good can come of praising or punishing people when they don’t deserve it – you need to impose discipline appropriately

26.The hotter the position, the hotter the seat

27. Why fight if you don’t have to?

28.You do not always know why people do what they do; they just do it

29. The courage to finish the job, that’s the killer instinct

30.Not every battle is worth the fight

31.When you play with fire, you get burned

32.The secret is endurance – change what you can, endure what you cannot

The Profession every ComArts Student Should Explore and Consider

Hello, Second Sem! (Oh, how I missed saying this and the sembreak that comes before this).

Well, while some are busy making plans for their remaining years in college like what subjects to take, what pre-requisites to enroll; some are already probably preparing for their last and are already too excited to wear their sablay after five months and are already busy thinking of the creative shot they would want to have for their grad pic.

But before you become too excited, these probably crossed your mind, too: what to do after college? Where to apply? What career to take and to excel into?

For some courses, Bachelor of Science (BS) courses particularly, it’s easy. Okay, easier. You take Engineering and more or less, you know you’ll end up being an engineer (unless you don’t pass the board exam). Or let’s say Nursing, or Accounting, or Veterinary Medicine.

For Bachelor of Arts (BA) courses, however, one usually doesn’t really know. Not that we do not know what we want, but because we are not limited to just one possibility. BA courses, for me, are passion-driven courses, and the four years (or more) you spent learning is more or less a revelation of a number of things you are capable of doing and a continuous search for what you want to do. We have a vast number of options.

In fact, most of the seminars being given to us back then are about PR and Advertising, Multimedia, Writing, Journalism, Acting, etc. and these are all great professions. I, however, was curious, though.

Why are students, even Communication Arts students, not being exposed to one of the greatest and most challenging professions there is?

As Og Mandino writes in his book:

‘no other trade or profession has more opportunity for one to rise from proverty to great wealth than that of a salesman’

So, why were we not introduced to Sales and Salesmanship when all our lives, all our daily activities and interactions, are part of this vast Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) industry?

I have one funny theory, though:

Because Sales involves numbers and because they say ComArts students are not good at Math.

And I would protest my own theory with: ‘But what are Excel and Calculator for, people?’

Nah, seriously. I found my passion in Sales after experiencing what it’s like to be an Advertising Assistant in a high end real estate company and as a College Instructor in a semi-private college. I found it and I realized I excel in Sales because of my advantage as a ComArts graduate. In return, I want my fellow ComArts dearies to be enlightened and to be introduced to this world.

Let me walk you through the seven reasons why every ComArts student should explore and consider a profession in Sales based on my more than four years sales experience:

1. Sales is NOT just about numbers.

There are lots of communications going on here: phone calls, e-mails, business presentations, negotiations, proposals, business reviews, business planning, etc. And it’s harder to learn these than to learn how to use Excel.

2. Sales is about PEOPLE.

You have internal customers (the people from the different departments in your organization you need to coordinate with on a regular basis: Logistics, Marketing, Purchasing, Production, Finance, your Third Party Agencies (TPAs))

You also have external customers (the people from the account/s you are handling, their owners, their buyers, their purchasers).

And then you have the consumers (the people buying your products, your end-consumers).

 3. Sales is FULL of Challenges.

It doesn’t limit you to your targets or quota. You can exceed it and it changes on a monthly basis. And then you can come up with your own promotional (promo) activities. So you need to be creative, you need to be FAST.

4. Sales is more on FIELD WORK.

You doesn’t always have to report to your office. In fact, you have to be always on field because the competition is right there in the trade. So yeah, you get to travel to a lot of places.

5.Sales has a LOT of Perks.

All the things you need, they got it covered. In Sales, you have these tools: car, fleet card (for your gas consumption), laptop, cellphone, revolving fund (for your meals, parking fee, toll fee, etc.) and incentive

6.Sales in NOT JUST LIMITED to Sales Work.

If you’re not that good at selling, you can try the following:

Trade Marketing – for the trade activations or executions of Marketing programs, promo implementations, corporate events and sponsorships, offtake analysis, etc. or

Sales Systems and Training (Capability in other companies) – for the trainings or competency enhancement of the people, system improvement and process development.

7. Sales is NO LONGER a MAN’s world.

Yes, every ONE can excel in this profession because this can be LEARNED. Picture this, you, like a boss, in high heels, wearing your favorite hot pink lipstick with your big girly bag.

You see, this is so us! You only have to have a heart for this. After all, Sales is about understanding what one wants and delivering it. So give this a thought, will you? Love, Rikki.

 

 

Crash Course: Sales Word/s to Live By – Features and Benefits

This, Features and Benefits, was the topic assigned to me this afternoon during the Frabelle Foods new salesmen‘s workshop (BSSW). Although we can always consult our dictionary when it comes to the definition of these two words,how do we apply it in sales? Here are the key thoughts:

” FEATURES TELL, BENEFITS SELL”

How?

Turn the feature into a benefit simply by asking/answering the question ‘so what?

How?

Capture your customer/buyer’s interest by showcasing all that your products has to offer (features) and make them want it by identifying their specific need and by explaining what’s in it for them (benefits).

Example:

This Crash Course in Sales contains bits and pieces of information of those nitty gritty things about sales and salesmanship. It’s short and sweet and meaty (informative), like this one, so this saves you time ,makes your learning fun and provokes your mind to think more in a very short span of time. So watch out for my other Sales ‘Crash Courses’!

My Word, My World for 2012: Tenacious

Working for a company for three months and hearing one of the super big bosses describe you to an SVP you’re about to have a very short-notice presentation with as someone who is like her, ‘small but very tenacious’, and repeating that adjective twice, I realized that was the most flattering ‘introduction’ or let’s just say ‘description’ I have ever received so far.

And I’ll be very honest … I googled the word as soon as I got home and got all the more humbled. I know it has something to do with being clingy or with being stubbornly unyielding but that’s only because my understanding of that word was too shallow.

Tenacity, according to Art Petty’s Leadership Caffeine: 5 Ideas for Creating a Tenacious Culture, is all heart … or at least one of those attributes we ascribe to the heart – and is one of those common attributes of successful people.

“Truly tenacious people grab hold of an idea or a cause and refuse to let go until they’ve succeeded, or, until someone finds them passed out in a pool of their own sweat. Of course, what the external observer probably doesn’t know is the tenacious individual hasn’t given up.  He or she is just bowing to nature’s demands and refueling and rethinking while floating in said pool of sweat.”

I know I have a big heart, yeah, and I have a lot of love to give 🙂 but the last part … nah, not yet. I haven’t done anything yet for me to be described as one but i’m working on it every single minute.

I’m just so happy that I have started right this time and really, everything’s at the right places – all the people, all the things I love and I dream of – oh, and remember the Starbucks planner I promised myself to get year after year after year … tadaaa!

Super big thanks to my dearies who donated their Starbucks stickers. Haha. Love and Believe. Let’s all have a tenacious 2012 – all heart and successful!

Salesmanship Begins when the Customer Says NO

Last week, I was already ‘rejected’ by one of my buyers (let’s just call her Ms. L) but keeping in mind the saying salesmanship begins when the customer says no’, I showed up again after a week more confident because I was able to address all her concerns on our previous meetings.

I have brought with me Frabelle Foods product samples (which are so heavy) and I have prepared a proposal and a lay-out plan of possible locations of our products in EACH of their stores which I based on my trade checks in ALL of their stores. And I still got the same reply.

They no longer entertain new products because they are already busy preparing for Q4 and the Christmas season. And even if she wants to carry our products, the purchaser of that category just died and she was just appointed to handle the existing ones in the meantime. She can’t afford to have new products yet so she told me to come back next year. NEXT YEAR.

I know I should have insisted to have a third call and a fourth call and a fifth call and so on and so forth but this time, I just chose to LISTEN and really UNDERSTAND what my customer is telling me. And when I did that, a tiny tiny ‘sweet spot’ has been formed between us.

Ms. L is so special for me. My first call last week as a real salesman in my salesman career is with her and almost all the other salespeople I talked to about her said the same thing – she’s nice and easy to talk to. And she really is. But I had a hard time with her.

I started my call with her, I was there an hour earlier, and with the outcome of that call, I tried to improve on the next call and the next call after that and right now I am trying my very best to continuously improve on my every call.

I don’t mind being called a beginner. I am. But every time the veterans say my accounts are easy, I beg to disagree. If they are that easy, why are we not yet being carried in that account up to now? Why weren’t they manage to penetrate them?

I cried. And it’s not because of the rejection but because I really have high hopes for the account and I am confident that our products will make a BIG difference to them, to the competition in the trade industry and to the lives of the people.

And then Ms. L asked me why I want to handle their account and I told her exactly that. I also added that when I visited their stores, I know they still have a very high potential. I saw lots of lost sales when I saw a lot of empty shelves that we could have maximized the sales potential if only there were items on display.

She gave me tissue and she said she would have offered me water if only she has one. She asked for my number. I got hers. She gave me the best day to call her. She said she will consider and will really think through it. She signed my contact reports. She kept with her the layout plan I made. We shook hands.

She didn’t get the samples I brought all the way from our Plant which I handcarried commuting, risking literally my life because of that drunk passenger incident and of being followed by a scary man, but I didn’t lose hope. I know that wouldn’t be my last call with her.

After all, my salesmanship has just officially begun.

And my bosses, when I consulted them about this, got my back and told me I did the right thing no longer insisting but we have high hopes that come next year, Ms. L will surely accommodate us, if not prioritize us.

And my tears, they don’t see it as a weakness, they saw it as a tear of unmet challenges, a fuel for more challenging sales experience and as a tear of passionate salesmanship. And so I love my job and my bosses all the more.

Rare Application Tip

I just got back in the Metro and no matter what angle I look at, the future looks bleak for me.

Six months ago, I traded my career and my life here for something that was my ultimate dream as a person.

Six months after, that dream didn’t materialize and I thought I can still go back where I left off. The thing is, there is no U-turn in life. One has to start from scratch – no job, no place of my own.  No everything. Just the courage to face this life anew and the hope that things will be better and everything will be okay.

I thought I already had a chance with the first company I tried my luck with. I walked in, passed the first interview, took the exam and then interview with the Sales Director all in half a day – a sign I thought to be the break I’m praying for. But things didn’t turn out the way I was expecting it. I was devastated after talking with the Sales Director.

He said my qualifications didn’t match their requirements and they already hired a lot of people the past weeks. He said I’m already late. And then he asked me If I have questions. I said yes. What are those jobs you think I’m not qualified for? And then he explained. And I told him my experience in those things. And then he asked if I’ve other questions. Yes, I said. Is there any chance you would re-consider? and he said No. That was so heart-breaking.

Instead of riding a cab, I walked that J. Vargas St. to San Miguel Ave. with a blank look and with a pace I didn’t notice. I can’t even remember how I got home. I need to have work. I need something to occupy my mind.

At home, I realized I still have the Visitor’s Pass ID of that company and shoot, I’ve to go back so I can have my ID in return. I seriously don’t want to because I’m afraid I might see the Director again and I’m so embarrassed with my questions. I feel like I made myself look so desperate but I really am desperate.

I prayed and then I lifted everything to God and just entrusted Him with everything. Your will be done, Lord, I said.

When I was preparing the following morning, I was planning where to go next after returning it. Should I apply to the other companies in that building? Or should I just proceed to have my NBI clearance processed? I might as well just do both.

When the guard of the building saw me, I’m shocked he recognized me. Hired na po kayo, Ma’am? Magsosoli lang po ng ID, I said.

I looked for the floor number of the other FMCG company in that building before going to their floor. After returning the visitor’s pass, I went to the other floor and submitted my resume. When I think I already served my purpose, I went downstairs and start hailing for a cab.

Minutes passed and there’s no cab coming. And then somebody waved for me to come over. I’m not sure if it was really me he’s waving at so I didn’t bother. Seconds later, shoot, it was the Sales Director beside me.

He asked, Tinawagan ka na ba nila? I endorsed you to HR for the In-Store Trade Activations Specialist position. It’s field sales also and you will handle GMA area. I’m not sure if he’s really talking to me and I only uttered Po? Thank you. He’s surprised I wasn’t aware yet I was there in their building and then I told him I went there just to return the pass I carried with me home. And then he offered to accompany me to the HR and told me about the offer.

Wow, I immediately thanked and praised God. He is so good only He can do something like that.

Tip: Take home your Visitor’s Pass ID. You’ll never know what returning that the following day could bring you 🙂