It is said that everything has its price. This is most probably true. Many have had to pay the hard price work for their success and have had to work year after year without a break. To push himself to uncomfortable areas. Away from the familiar and safe. If you want to develop, you must take steps out from your comfort zone.
I took new steps at Kalajoki Beach, when I walked towards the seaside as a newly chosen project manager. I had given up my place as a sales manager of Katinkulta and had stepped into new challenges. I had been recruited to make results in the recession of the economy, when companies fell like hay in a storm. I was committed to a marketing contract so there was no return. I had to get on with the job.
Kalajoki and sandbanks were in sales terms light years away from sales offices of Katinkulta where I had enjoyed two years of hard rise. In Kalajoki everything was at the initial stage. After the first six months the summer did not look rosy. The risks began to be realised and the selling did not get started. The problem was the new sales office. The building licence for it was not obtained from the county of Kalajoki.
It began to seem strongly that matters neither will come true nor succeed. I had a big lump in my throat and I felt bad. I cleared my thoughts dozens of times during that spring by walking to the seaside. I thought about the matters, why did I start in this challenge?
I was definitely out of my comfort zone as a seller and as a human. The road seemed to be rising steeply up. What did I do? I shortened the steps to half, started walking faster and I trusted in myself. I said often aloud to myself:
“Markku, you will make sales history. You are good and you can. Do not give in now. You are a winner. You can do this. You are the best.”
After all it went so in Kalajoki, that the whole municipal council visited the site to make the important decision. The building license was obtained for the best location of the sandbanks, next to Siikarysä Fish Restaurant. The wheels began to turn. The sales office was completed in the same summer with the assistance of the PR–house factory from Alavieska. Special thanks for it belong to managing director Mr. Tapani Kääntä. In the autumn we celebrated the big opening at the sandbanks with the power of 450 guests. The party was memorable. The holiday to Hawaii raffled in the event was won by Mr. & Mrs. Saksola from Alavieska.
Now business was no longer depending on the Sales Desk, so I began to do what I was expected to. Get results. In the new location I felt my self-esteem increasing and I was preparing for a record sales summer, when paint from the roof would be removed as champagne bottles were popping for the celebrating of closed deals.
About 300,000 day visitors visited in Kalajoki on June–July 1990´s, which is the problem of the area. 60–80 sales days is not enough for profitable business around the year, if you are not clever and rapid enough during summer period. Considering the special grade in the area I ended up in my new innovation, in a strategic thought that economic students from Vaasa and Vaasa University were worth recruiting for summer jobs. Vacation ownership representatives should be under 170 cm in hight, easily approachable, pleasing and educated young women. So not those normal sales weasels ― ADHDers, who are mainly interested in themselves. I needed Queen Bees ― it’s all in the attitude…
ADHD – Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
I decided to try a new plan, in which women present and men price. I had read about the forgotten 1970´s success–story–concept of real estate agency group Huoneistokeskus, where women work as presenters and men as closers. There it was.
There were customers visiting the sandbanks of Kalajoki like black clouds in the sky, but also customer acquisition “in from door” had to be in order. The work had to function as if greased so I decided to recruit the best in the world for the task, smooth Jani with his Mercedes.
Jami had earned credit in Gran Canary Island, Spain as the best, funniest and most pleasant outside contact person of all times, who knows the matters. I wanted to have this 165 cm tall ´Ross Perot´ for us also because he was extremely result oriented, focussed enterprising young man from Middle Finland. Jami also has his green 280 Coupe Mercedes available, which he had imported from abroad.
His reputation gave a feeling of safety for both sellers and leaders. He was so efficient. Also customers liked him. There was never negative feedback. Only smiling customers walking in. To make my plan perfect, I still needed a good customer financing, which was formed that time from local Savings Bank KEP.
Savings Bank KEP quickly educated Harry and myself to grant genuine bank loans with 7.5% fixed interest in situ, where the market interest was more than 13%. The deals would not fail at least for the lack of financing. The customer financing was unique, nobody else has similar.
To my big surprise job applications began to flood from Vaasa. Half of the the sellers chosen by me were six laudatur´s secondary school graduates and seven of them were already economics students. The applicants were less than 175 cm tall, except one Ville and one tall Heidi. All of them were enthusiastic to make hard selling for 100 days with me. They wanted to learn to make deals and to get a genuine sales experience for their studies. I had it.
I hired one already distinguished top-seller at the field, Kimmo from Jyväskylä to show the way for novices. I got a top-seller Harry from Kuusamo Spa Resort beside me as a sales manager and as a closer (take over). Harry became a partner, sales manager and a closer competitor for the sales competition in summer of 1992, which was declared open with “The days of Thunder” –song at every morning meeting ― Our daily mantra!
The lump in the throat no longer existed as I walked to the shore of the sea. Vice versa. Everyday was like laughing gas, to which it was nice to wake up to. We worked firmly and we competed against another in a healthy way. During that summer I broke all the sales records of the field. The business was so good immediately after mother´s day, that the piccolo champagne bottles first ran out from of Alko liquor store of Kalajoki, then after a short time it ran out of all the nearby ´Alko´ –stores within radius of 300km. All the actions succeeded and all the sellers excelled themselves. We made sales history. I also made my own record as a closer, which still stands.
At least it may be searched for if you stay in your comfort zone. In order to challenge yourself, you have to strive out from your comfort zone.
The more often you make this the more you develop and succeed in demanding sales matters. You walk over difficulties and you are able to make sales, which you have not experienced before. At the same time you make history ― by winning yourself!