The other day the LinkedIn app on my phone just started blowing up with messages. People were saying ’congrats’, congratulations! Way to go! And I’m like What’s going on? Turns out LinkedIn had shared my 20-year milestone at SOCO Sales Training. It’s been 20 years since I started this company!
It’s been quite the ride for the past 20 years and I’ve grown and learnt so much in the time. In today’s episode I share what it took for me to go from a 1 man show doing pretty much everything, to one of Asia’s leading sales training brands with a team behind me.
It Took 20-Years to Become and Overnight Success
So the other day, my phone just started blowing up with messages. People were saying, “congrats’, way to go!”
I’m like, hold on, what’s going on? It turns out LinkedIn had shared my 20-year milestone at SOCO Sales Training. Thus announcing it’s been 20 years since I started this company!
That’s just mind-blowing. And you know what? It hasn’t been easy. It’s been a long journey.
It’s funny because when I was interviewing someone for a sales position the other day, they said to me, “It’s amazing how big you’ve gotten. You just came out of nowhere.” And I was shocked. I mean, it’s neat how many people tell me ‘hey we’re connected on LinkedIn’, and I have no idea who they are (Come on! I’m sorry, but there’s over 20,000 of you!).
Still, I’m only getting started, and I’ve been working at this for 20 years!
Now the first ten years were really tough; back then, I was in Canada and did a combination of sales coaching and trained various topics. But to be honest, I wasn’t really focused and hadn’t found my groove.
Then in 2008, I followed my then-girlfriend to the other side of the world to Singapore to follow her career in Interior Design. It wasn’t until I got to Singapore that things started to take off.
I had that immigrant mentality, and I had no ties, no expectations, no judgment and nothing holding me back.
However, I had to start from scratch, letting people know who I was and what I do. But I hit the ground running.
I took every speaking gig I could free or paid. A big turning point for me was when I did a public workshop for Singapore’s Straits Times Newspaper back in 2009. It was great exposure because my face was everywhere in the paper. At the workshop, I met a sales director for Global Beauty, the head company for brands like Marie France Body Line and others. She loved my training so much she engaged me to deliver my Social Selling workshop to all of their locations across Asia, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, and Indonesia.
More so, I remember getting a deposit check from them, which wasn’t even half of the whole sale value; that was more money than I’d ever seen on a cheque addressed to me in my lifetime.
I still have a photo of me smiling, holding the cheque on my balcony somewhere.
And that was when things started to take off. I got so busy that in 2010 after I married my girlfriend, who brought me to Singapore, she left her job in Interior Design to help grow SOCO. With her passion for branding, marketing and design added to the company, we grew even more and started working more and more across Asia. I found myself training trainers in Indonesia and Thailand to deliver the SOCO® Selling™ methodology because there was demand from those markets too. I’ll let you in on a little secret, our trainer in Thailand is one of the sales managers from Marie France Bodyline that I trained, and she’s an awesome trainer.
As we grew, we had to add more staff, and with the addition of more staff, we could continue to grow faster and faster. We’ve gotten so good at what we do we’re now applying the same strategies we’ve used to grow SOCO to grow AMC NPO Solutions in Canada. A training company that services not-for-profits that I bought from my father seven years ago before he passed away.
So while it’s been 20 years and one heck of a ride, I’m only getting started. We have a new sales trainer starting with us next month and are currently hiring for sales reps. The company is growing so fast, and we’re serving some of the biggest brands in Asia. I can’t wait to share the lessons I learn from the next five years in business with you.
If you haven’t seen my slide deck on 20 Lessons from 20 years in Business on LinkedIn, check it out (below) and let me know what you think.
10 Years Selling In Asia
I moved to Singapore at the end of 2008- one of the things that I love most about living in this part of the world is the surrounding unique countries.
I was actually recently in Bangkok delivering a sales training program for a local Thai company. In fact, our local Thai trainer, Sasivee, will be providing the program in their native language, Thai, which is fantastic!
However, something I’ve noticed is that sales teams all struggle with the same challenges across the region and around the world: How do we stand apart from competitors? How do we answer objections effectively? And how do we close more deals fast?
But each country has it’s own distinct challenges. How do they sell in that particular market? What are some of the subtle nuances of business etiquette in their own country? So, that’s why our corporate training programs blend a global methodology or framework with a local context.
Make sure to check out my slide deck on LinkedIn of my 20 Lessons from 20 Years in Business.