Sir Richard Branson’s secret sales trick.


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A few hours ago I was going through twitter and ran into a post from virgin start-up, an entrepreneurial financing and mentoring non-profit organisation, set up by Sir Richard Branson. The tweet caught my wondering attention, when it stated the entrepreneurial mogul’s secret formula for selling. Before clicking on the hyperlink to read its content, thoughts were travelling through my mind on the unique and unheard-off formula to selling.

The hyperlink and a further hyperlink led me to one of my favourite online platform- This particular blog was titled, ‘Richard Branson on constructing the perfect pitch.’ This was part of the popular Q&A session between an entrepreneur and Richard Branson. This said entrepreneur had problem making sales call or better known as cold calling. Secondly, the music entrepreneur had insufficient funds to hire and pay a good salesperson.

To my greatest surprise, among couple of fundamental steps listed by Sir Richard Branson, the key to selling or pitching an idea or product, is enthusiasm. It was not a new secret but often a forgotten one in the sales process. It is to this position that he opined, “Some salespeople focus exclusively on presenting statistics and accounting-based arguments to make their points, forgetting to put passion into their pitches. They lose their listeners…” He further added “When you are selling something, you do need to present evidence illustrating why it is a great idea to buy it, but you should speak with feeling rather than figures.” Do hold that thought for just a minute.

I am a big fan of entrepreneur and investor pitching TV shows, like Shark tank in the US, dragons den in the UK and Canada. In most cases, the deciding factor that determines if a shark or dragon invests in a business is less likely the sales figures but more likely the passion. This is not to discount the role sales figures, profit margins and product fit- plays in this dynamics. Season 3 and episode 13 of the shark tank featured Shelley Ehler, the inventor of Show no Towel. She had a total sales figure of $15,000 before the show and you could guess that this did not impress the investors from the start. The product was a simple covering apparel made from towel. She had very limited funds, limited sales but bags of passion. This led to QVC business investor Lori Grenier making her first statement after a long period of silence, “I see a ton of me, in you.”

In relation to this, Mark Cuban the billionaire entrepreneur and owner of Dallas Mavericks, a firm believer of investing in the person behind the idea or product, was really ignited and impressed with Shelly’s passion towards the product- which made him raise the requested investment from $50k to $75k. A product which from the start did not seem that interesting to the sharks, but an engaging and passionate pitch from the entrepreneur inspired three sharks- to make offers higher than the requested investment amounts.

Salespeople are always interested in finding and closing that NEXT deal. The first step to selling an idea, product or service is to align your passion and emotion to it- as emotions are somewhat contagious. Focusing only on numbers during your pitch or cold calling would end up sounding like statistics to your potential customers. When you connect your numbers, with a ton of passion and emotion, you would end up delivering SOLUTION and not just STATISTICS.

Dateme Tamuno
Dateme Tamuno (Tubotamuno) is currently working as part of the SEO and PPC delivery team for UK based digital agency, Cariad Marketing. He has also completed a book on user-generated content marketing.


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