In part 2 of this series, I take a look at the excellent lesson on selling that you can learn from this great classic. If you want to be an entrepreneur, you must know how to sell You have to sell yourself first, second, you need to sell one and third, you have to sell the customers.
One of the hallmarks of a great salesman is that he has to sell himself first, sell one-on-one to start something and sell many to dominate. And the main tool they use to get what they want is their ability to reframe the situation. I will look at a real example with Steve Jobs and then show you how Tom Sawyer used the same tactics to get his Aunt Polly's fence whitewashed by the kids in the neighborhood.
Let's take Steve Jobs. He had to sell himself that his purpose was to create art when it came to technology. He first did that when Apple introduced the Mac. After he was fired, he came back and resurrected Apple by introducing the iPod and then the granddaddy of all product, the iPhone. He had to sell himself not to chase market share, but mind share. He succeeded. Apple today is the most valuable company in the world.
Jobs was able to re-frame the situation, so he believed he was creating beauty even though Apple during his first run was floundering. Walter Isaacson writes in his book Steve Jobs, "Jobs came to believe that he could impart that feeling of confidence to others and thus push them to do things they hadn’t thought possible ... If he’s decided that something should happen, then he’s just going to make it happen.”
The most famous example of selling one-on-one was when he lured John Sculley, an executive at Pepsico, to join Apple. Jobs aggressively courted Sculley for a while. When Jobs had done everything and felt that Sculley might be hesitant to pull the trigger and join Apple, Steve Jobs re-frames the situation by asking Sculley, "Do you want to spend the rest of your life selling sugared water, or do you want a chance to change the world?” Deal closed.
One of Jobs masterful sales presentation was when he announced the iPhone in 2007. He said to the crowd attending Macworld in San Francisco, "Today, we’re introducing three revolutionary products of this class. The first one is a widescreen iPod with touch controls. The second is a revolutionary mobile phone. And the third is a breakthrough Internet communications device.” He keeps repeating the three products and then he re-frames by exhorting the audience, "Are you getting it? These are not three separate devices, this is one device, and we are calling it iPhone.” It was an immediate hit and has become Apples' most successful product and propelled Apple to become the most valuable company in the world.
In the second part of this series, I am going to look at the lesson of negotiation and selling you can learn from the "Adventures of Tom Sawyer" by Mark Twain. The example is a famous one that many are familiar with which has to do with Tom whitewashing Aunt Polly's fence and getting other kids to not only do it for him but paying him for the privilege. We all know this happened, but did you ever wonder how he pulls this off?
Tom did not want to do the painting job given to him by his Aunt Polly. He wanted to have fun. He even thought of buying other boys to do it, but then he came up with a much better idea when he saw a boy named Ben Rogers. He went back to work like he wanted to do a great job. Tom knew that if he was committed to what he was doing, then he might be able to get Ben interested and perhaps even persuade him to help him.
Ben was pretending to be a ship named "Big Missouri" and making all kinds of noises. Tom ignored him and focused on his task at hand.
Ben tries to make a conversation with Tom by asking, “Hi-YI! YOU’RE up a stump, ain’t you!”
Tom does not answer and sticks to his work. He shows real discipline and patience. He does not respond to Ben immediately. If he stopped work, then it would look like he was not enjoying it.
Ben says to Tom, “Say— I’m going in a-swimming, I am. Don’t you wish you could? But of course you’d druther WORK— wouldn’t you? Course you would!.” Tom ignores him.
Tom immediately pounces on the word work and starts to reframe the whole situation. Tom replies, “What do you call work?”
Tom does not say anything more and keeps on focusing on whitewashing.
Ben is now curious and asks, “Oh come, now, you don’t mean to let on that you LIKE it?”
Tom now knows that he can re-frame work as something that is no longer work to him but once in a while opportunity to create art that he enjoys. He replies to Ben, “Like it? Well, I don’t see why I oughtn’t to like it. Does a boy get a chance to whitewash a fence every day?”
Tom has now re-framed the situation and says nothing more and goes back to whitewashing.
Ben also wants to do it, but Tom shows extreme self-discipline since he now knows that his ultimate prize is half the apple that Ben has. But how to get it?
Tom is showing that he is not needy and unless it is Hell Yes, it is no deal.
And he goes back to work showing he enjoys what he is doing.
The boy wants to get into the act to which Tom says no. He has Ben sold, so he is playing with house money now. Tom is now going to take it even further to develop its value. When Ben finally offers the apple, Tom relinquishes the brush as Mark Twain writes, "Tom gave up the brush with reluctance in his face, but alacrity in his heart."
Once Tom sold Ben on whitewashing, he did not have to work hard to get other kids to also pay for the privilege.
Mark Twain writes, "And when the middle of the afternoon came, from being a poor poverty-stricken boy in the morning, Tom was literally rolling in wealth."
Twain adds the important that Tom Sayer learned that day: "He had discovered a great law of human action, without knowing it— namely, that in order to make a man or a boy covet a thing, it is only necessary to make the thing difficult to attain."
Currency of success
Another huge lesson one can learn from the whitewashing example is that Tom's currency is not money. He accepted anything the boys had as long as he provided them with an experience that made him feel important. The best recent example of someone who changed the currency of success was Donald Trump. He realized early on that the most valuable currency to winning the primaries and the general election was not money but attention. And he did everything possible to garner attention and won. The currency that Hillary Clinton thought was valuable was money and spent a lot of time raising money which did not help her. She did not know the currency of success.
A good salesperson knows how to re-frame and can do that well whether they are selling to themselves, one-on-one or many. You can't succeed in life without being a good salesman. You not only have others to buy into your vision but make them think it is theirs and get others to sell it for you. You can't scale without that whether it is business or election.