The World’s Worst Salesman — Part 3 | #MyFridayStory №282

Frans Nel
4 min readMar 17


Andy Diesel | Pexels

“If you think you’re so good, you go do it!”

I strongly believed that if you properly market a product or service of value to people, the rest comes easy.

“Properly” implies “done by a professional”. And “a professional”; is someone you’ll gladly share a chunk of the profits in thanks for their being profits.

Any successful business would have had to be marketed correctly, with or without the founder‘s knowledge. I’ve never met a successful business person that didn’t have brilliant marketing behind their success. As an outsider to these operations at first, I often think to myself, “How did they do this?” As you follow the bootstrapper in their journey from garage to Wall Street, their rise to glory will always involve building a giant brand.

In 2016 I felt I’d been back in the corporate world for long enough and started out on my own. Back in 1994, I’d gone from owning a successful little American diner to wearing a three-piece suit. 22 years later I was hating every day more and more. The yearning to be back in the driving seat was stronger than the inertia of resigning. Someone holding your purse strings compared to when you enjoyed control becomes a compelling argument, especially when pushed.

Under the circumstances, the name of the business was not only genius in its simplicity, but it was also a mantra. Leap First was born in my car, driving home after handing in my resignation with no idea of what I was going to do. I was on the phone with my friend and mentor contemplating my next steps. In the conversation, I mentioned listening to Seth Godin’s lecture entitled Leap First — Creating Work That Matters. I enjoyed doing what I had been doing successfully and thought I’d offer my services to selected clients. When I asked what I should call the agency, he answered, Leap First of course!”

I remember thinking of many of my lecturers over the years, especially in business school, and wondering, “Why don’t you go do what you’re trying to teach us to do? “If you’re so clever, why don’t you go do it?” My conclusion was that they were hiding. Hiding from the hard work of convincing someone to part with their hard-earned money for whatever you’re offering. Because that’s what it takes to build a successful sustainable business. And if you get people to come back and do that again and again, you are building a brand.

Today, I know better.

It takes grit, empathy, patience, and great skill to be a lecturer. I gave that a bash too. A year or two later I was honest with myself that it takes more than passion to be a good lecturer. And looking back I’m humbled to say, many of my lecturers went on to head up large corporates, became professors, have authored best-sellers, or achieved something great.

Over the 6-or more years of running Leap First, I’m able to look back and take stock through unclouded lenses. I did everything I believed was right to make the business a sustainable success. I had a great concept, with a successful track record, and other folks were offering similar services successfully, why not me? Combine that with a great name, a well-designed brand, and a clear strategy for the future and you’re good to go.

Not so.

You need professional salespeople. People that have the sales skills and talents that most people don’t possess. They carry themselves differently. They talk differently. They say different things and ask different questions. They have more than “the gift of the gab”, to them, they are the best salesperson in the world.

I’ve joined my best friend in the business he bootstrapped from the ground up into a national juggernaut brand. Sales seem to run in his blood. He oozes confidence and passion for his business. When he talks, people lean in to listen. It’s easy to mistake the 2-decades of grit and grind as overnight success. Especially coming in after the business and brand are both already starting to become established.

My dream was always to assist businesses to achieve greater success. That meant making the till ring while building the brand’s reputation.

That’s my brief — I couldn’t be happier to oblige.

Have an awesome weekend and please be generous! 😄

As always, thanks for reading 🙏

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