November 18, 2018

Sales lessons from my Grandmother’s Funeral (Parsha Mikeitz)

The night after my Grandmother’s funeral we had just finished a ‘shiva’ (memorial) service and one of my young cousins was playing with a flashing bouncy ball. An older relative stood by, intrigued, and said “that looks fun. I should get one of those”. My 10 year-old cousin didn’t miss a beat; “I’ll sell it to you for £10. Tell you what, I’ve got two of them for 20 quid”. Money changed hands and I was impressed with the forthright fearlessness of my young cousin. My Nana would have been proud of him.

In his book Resistance is Useless – The Art of Business Persuasion, Geoff Burch describes the approach of children when trying to get an ice cream from their parents. The situation is comic as they are utterly relentless and will say ANYTHING to get what they want. Our problem is that as we grow older, doubts set in and we develop huge taboos around asking for what we want. In short, many adults get scared of having that sales conversation.

There is a fascinating Biblical sales process that took place between Joseph and Pharaoh. Joseph outlined a problem – that there would be seven years of plenty and seven years of famine – and explained that it would need someone ‘wise and discerning’ to help the country survive and not go bankrupt (1). Pharoah promptly decided to appoint Joseph as the country’s Chief Operating Officer and everyone was happy.

How can we replicate this process in our own life? How can we cultivate massive confidence and make these big sales? Joseph was a prophet, but we are all blessed with the ability to gain deeper insights into the world around us when we tap into our intuition. This intuition is what helps us see opportunities everywhere.

If we silence our mind and create regular times for stillness and quiet (2) then we open up the possibility for those ‘Eureka!’ moments. Enlightenment is close by. Here’s the price we have to pay; we can only deepen our intuition when stop ‘doing’ and start ‘being’. That means introducing self-discipline into our sometimes coffee-addicted text-message-distracted lives.

With increased stillness we can increase our intuition. This leads to a kind of self-confidence that can transform people’s lives for the better. And yes, it may well give you the boost you need to start selling things at your Grandparents’ funerals…although I wouldn’t recommend it.

==>HOW TO USE THIS IN THE BOARDROOM: Consider where you have been having self-doubts with regards to sales conversations or presenting yourself. Carve out some time to consider the problems that your clients may be facing. Ask them questions, drill deeper and then create more thinking time to see where you can offer solutions.

==>HOW TO USE THIS FOR YOGA/MEDITATION: As you step into a yoga posture, notice where are you holding back from going for it 100%? As you meditate, where are you allowing your mind to wander, instead of staying focussed and disciplining your thoughts?
Based on Parsha Mikeitz
(1) “Let Pharaoh seek out an understanding and wise man and appoint him over the land of Egypt” (Chp 41:33)
(2) We can take this reading one stage deeper. Joseph spent time in a non-distracted environment (i.e. prison!) which was an essential stepping stone to his success. If we actively create a non-distracted environment through meditation, this will seriously contribute to our growing clarity.