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How door-to-door Christmas card gross sales led to billion greenback tequila and wonder empires

December
15, 2020

5 min read

The opinions expressed by the entrepreneur's contributors are their own.

If you want to increase sales in the coming year – and who not? – Be inspired by the meteoric rise of John Paul Dejoria. Before the conscious capitalism outsider was a billionaire, he was initially an encyclopedia seller and even a janitor. To help his family with household expenses, he was already selling door-to-door Christmas cards at the age of nine.

Dejoria's first big break almost never happened. When he and hairdresser Paul Mitchell founded John Paul Mitchell Systems in 1980, the lead investor dropped out in the eleventh hour, leaving them with only $ 700 on loan to get their operations going.

Dejoria was living in his car at the time. Speaking of bootstrapping, according to an interview with Reuters, the budget was so tight that the reason the company's iconic black and white logo was because they couldn't afford to print in color.

Fast forward 40 years and John Paul Mitchell Systems now serves 87 countries. Dejoria's other large company, Patrón tequila, was sold to Bacardi for $ 5.1 billion in 2018. Not bad for someone who used to order a 99 cent happy hour margarita, add free fries and salsa, and call it dinner.

Related: Success That Is Not Shared Is Failure: The Philosophy That Led This Mogul From Homeless To Billionaire

It's safe to say that Dejoria knows a thing or two about sales and success. Here are four of his best tips to help you wipe yourself off and get back into your business during tough times.

1. Prioritize direct connections with people

In an interview with Inc., Dejoria announced that he does not use email. Yeah, he doesn't even use a computer. This is one of the 400 richest Americans, according to a real-time tracker from Forbes, and someone who says that about 10 of their companies require at least some personal attention from them. He's probably busier than you. So if he can fend off digital distractions during work hours, so can you.

An email or direct message is nice to get the ball rolling, but nothing beats the relationship that comes with person-to-person conversations. If you're looking to sell and close deals in the years to come, prioritize landing your coin through personal connection and relationship.

They say your network is your asset. If you have an interest in serial entrepreneurship in the future, make face time a priority for months and years to come, even if it doesn't translate into an immediate sale. You could expect a lucrative partnership or a later introduction.

2. Have customers reorder a product

Dejoria noted in a 2017 CNBC interview, "You don't want to be in the product business. You want to be in the re-order business." The data backs him up; research by Bain & Company suggests that improving customer loyalty by as little as five percent can increase profits by 25 to 95 percent lead.

If recurring purchases of the same product are part of your business plan, your priority should be to develop a world-class product. Then back it up with first class customer service. When customers love their experience, they become avid referral partners, which works wonders in bringing in new, profitable customers.

Related Topics: VCs Want Product Market To Fit: How To Prove It

3. Don't let rejection hold you back

It can be easy to let a series of rejections get you down, whether it's literally slamming doors on your face or just radio silence in your inbox. Successful entrepreneurs aren't necessarily the ones who are best at sales or marketing, but rather the ones who persevere and quickly get up when they get down.

Research has found that rejection can affect both mood and self-esteem. Two vital resources that business owners need to stop at nothing to protect. Do whatever you can to keep your head in the game.

Related: The first thing these famous and successful people do every morning

4. If things don't go well, it's not the end

In a 2020 interview for the Tim Ferriss Show, Dejoria gives a hopeful and inspiring anecdote: "In the end everything will be fine, and if it's not okay, it isn't the end." It's a peaceful and calming attitude from someone who has gone through the unexpected death of their co-founder, among other things. Paul Mitchell developed pancreatic cancer and died in 1989 at the age of 53. Dejoria left the company to continue expanding the company.

As an entrepreneur, it can be easy to focus on the details and lose sight of the bigger picture: building a company that is personally fulfilling, helps others in need, and changes the world for the better. If you find yourself too far down the rabbit hole, come back up for a while and reconnect to the real world to recalibrate yourself.

Many of us don't have an extensive background in sales or business. However, if you are an entrepreneur, you will likely encounter failure and rejection frequently when starting your journey. Look for ways to keep your fire bright and you will soon see how you make progress in building your own empire.

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