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Donald Kelly, our podcast host, recently traveled back to his home country, Jamaica. The trip was beautiful and an eye-opener. In watching the work ethic and ingenuity of the Jamaican people, Donald learned 3 key principles that can be used by sellers in the U.S. and abroad. His experience in Jamaica can strengthen and help sales professionals to persevere in their roles.
Jamaica is a beautiful country. It has beaches and looks to be people with an easy-going lifestyle. People picture Jamaica as a beautiful country but the way it looks doesn’t tell the whole story. It has its fair share of challenges too, just like any other country. The average salary of an individual is $149,000 (Jamaican dollar). That’s $138.72 in the US. People have to learn how to live off a meager income. While it’s not easy, they are still able to make it work. Parents are still able to send their kids to school to get a great education.
Principle 1: Sell lemons
Despite its current economic state, Jamaica has a high-quality education system. The challenge is to translate that education into opportunities for the graduates. Many receive their education and leave Jamaica so they have a greater chance to apply their degrees to a career. To do that, they must go to western countries to look for opportunities. Once established in their work, they are able to send money to their families back home. This is the way they can continue to help with their communities even if they aren’t there.
There are a few who choose to stay but it’s not guaranteed there will be jobs available for kids who graduate from college. There are many things to do after finishing your education, such as paying a mortgage, bills to pay and more. In Jamaica, though, they know that if life gives you lemons, sell it and buy food. Because of tough conditions, Jamaicans are very creative and crafty.
This is the spirit of the Jamaican people. They know how to make the best out of hardship. The Jamaican people are willing to go through the difficulties and have a good time while going through it. They know how to have fun using music. Jamaicans don’t whine about their situation. Whenever a tough situation comes their way, they figure out how to make it better.
As a sales professional, there may be times when it feels like your situation is dire but you have options. You can be your greatest catalyst for change. You may feel you don’t have enough leads but the only way around it is to take what you have and make it work. The ability to create something out of nothing is powerful. In the United States, there are lots of opportunities but you have to have grit and be clever.
Principle 2: Outwork everyone
Donald was partly raised by his aunt when his mother came to the United States looking for opportunities. It wasn’t always easy. They had their fair share of struggles.
His aunt went back and forth to the US and Jamaica. She’d buy items and products from the West and brought them back to Jamaica to sell. Donald’s aunt and his cousins would spend the night setting up the shop and watching over the products. They slept outside the marketplace and would take turns selling. They all hustled together. Everyone in the family was part of the business.
What Donald saw in his family taught him to outwork everyone else. People who didn’t stay in the market at night didn’t get the prime positions in the morning. They didn’t have the same opportunities to sell because they had taken it easy.
As a sales professional, you have to out-hustle everyone else. Most importantly, you need to outrun and out-hustle the person you were yesterday. If you closed $5,000 yesterday, then close at $6,000 today. Sometimes we look at others’ pacing and want to run with them without looking at their experience. We don’t look at their length of service. You become better when you beat your old self, not someone else. That’s how you’re going to be better in the long run.
Principle 3: Be happy
Learning to be happy and content with who you are is important. A $500 income a month doesn’t go far in Jamaica, and it would certainly be a struggle in the US. No matter how poor people are in Jamaica, however, they know how to be happy and take care of themselves.
Whatever happens, at the end of the day, you’re still breathing so take the time to count your blessings: the people in your life, the provision, the shelter, the transportation, the food, running water, and so much more. There are many different things you can look to in life to be grateful for.
Successful people didn’t become successful overnight. Their success took years in the making. Moving toward your own success, you can either do it whining and complaining or you can enjoy your life along the way. The latter seems like a better choice.
Live life, love life. Be grateful for your family, for your health, for your loved ones. While money is important, it’s not everything. There are far more important things than material possessions.
“Three Sales Principles I Learned While Visiting Jamaica” episode resources
Remember to hustle and the three principles: sell lemons, outwork everyone, and be happy. If you want more stories, you can just reach out to Donald. Reach him via these channels: LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook about any sales concerns.
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