Strolling through a market one lazy Sunday afternoon, I was approached by a short, shiny-headed man. He stopped me with a gentle tug on my shirt sleeve and a big warm smile. He had large glowing white teeth — which had to be false — and he beamed with energy and enthusiasm. He asked me how my day was, to which I responded, ‘Fine, thanks. Yours?’ With a thick Italian accent he responded, ‘Always a good, my young friend, always a good!’ He then proceeded to tell me the story behind his homemade baked beans, how much he loved baking them, why he prepared and cooked them a certain way, and how he hadn’t missed a Sunday market in years.
His passion was intoxicating and you could almost see it steaming up into the air after every word. Now, I’m no connoisseur of baked beans, nor do I eat them often, but guess what I did? That’s right, I happily handed over my hard-earned cash for his beans. Such is the power of passion and conviction! This salesperson validates who I am: he loves what he does and I dig that. He’s just like me. What’s more, I’ve told a lot of people about the ‘Mad Bean Man’, including all my friends. And every person who attends my sales programs will get an earful of the Mad Bean Man. I’ve gone bean mad and viral and I enjoy every minute of it, because I love telling the story to anyone that will listen.
This is how great companies are born, the Nikes, Virgins and Amazons of this world all have to start somewhere. They begin in Sunday markets, lounge rooms or garages. It doesn’t really matter where; what does matter is that from the beginning the business is uncompromisingly about doing what you love and captivating and serving customers — not huge profits, accolades, or what you think success may bring you. Then when you become successful, don’t forget what got you there. Does buying a can of baked beans validate who someone is and provide them with a sense of profound meaning? Not in itself, no. But if you’re selling baked beans or plan to setup a company that’s going up against the Mad Bean Man, you sure better have meaning, passion and purpose! Otherwise, you’re dead in the water — the Mad Bean Man will outsell you ten to one. Whether home-grown, Grandma’s secret sauce, or ‘hand-baked fresh every weekend’, make sure your beans are unique and better than the beans your competitors sell, always.
Even the smallest and simplest (often the best) business idea can grow into an unfathomable success story, but it takes thinking and seeing things differently, lots of paaaaassssion and knowing what you stand for. When you get this right, your customers will not only go to great lengths to seek you out but may even go viral and tell all their friends about just how exceptional you are (much like I do for the Mad Bean Man).
This article is an excerpt from Trent Leyshan’s first book The Naked Salesman.