villegas - The enduring value of salesmanship

For many years to come, the growth of the Philippine economy will still depend mostly on the entrepreneurial talents and hard work of people who can emulate the feats of billionaires like Manny Villar, Lucio Tan, the late Henry Sy, George Ty and Jose Y. Campos who built multi-billion pesos business empires literally from scratch.  That is why it is important for the government to do everything possible to help the survival of the small and medium-scale enterprises of today. There is a lot of hype about how digital technology has transformed the way  business is conducted in the so-called New Normal so that traditional approaches of starting a business or making it grow have to be  discarded and replaced  by algorithms and other sophisticated tools of information technology.  For example, the increasing trend of consumers to purchase goods or services online is supposed to make the art of salesmanship irrelevant.  Data analytics is also supposed to make entrepreneurship obsolete because innovative ideas—the major contribution of the classical entrepreneur— can now just naturally flow from the analysis of  almost unlimited data in the hands of the business man.  Such naive thinking is debunked by a book authored by a salesman and entrepreneur par excellence.

In this book entitled “Grow Your Sales.  Grow Your Business”, Raymond Domingo, CEO of STRATFORCE GLOBAL INC, makes a case for the greater importance of mentoring entrepreneurs in the art of selling.  One cannot take for granted that just because the Philippine economy is propelled mostly by the consumption expenditures of some 110 million inhabitants, businesses can grow their sales by the sheer force of consumer demand.  Electronic trade may work for some selected consumer items like groceries, food for take out and miscellaneous  household items.  Large transactions such as those in real estate, insurance, automobile, household appliances and financial services would still require the traditional tools of salesmanship coupled with a strong entrepreneurial drive.

  The principles and practices contained in this book have been culled by the author through two major facets of his life, as he writes in the introduction: several decades of experience in corporate sales management and the deep entrepreneurial roots in the challenging business environment of Binondo (China town) and Divisoria in Manila. This book will remind the reader that even in the so-called New Normal after the pandemic is put under reasonable control, the entrepreneurial drive or the spirit of enterprise will continue to be a conditio sine qua non for business success.  This is very important to keep in mind during these times when too much importance is given to technical tools and skills for business success.  The millennials and centennials may get the wrong impression that their being steeped in information technology and digitalization is a guarantee for growing their respective businesses.  As the author explains in detail in the book, a business can grow only if there is a good combination of knowing the secret of the art and science of selling and a never ending search for innovative practices coupled with the ability to take calculated risks, especially in the aftermath of the deepest recession ever experienced by the whole world and the Philippine economy in a hundred  years. 

   The younger generation of business people should especially focus on how the author sharpened his entrepreneurial ability.  Growing up in the highly business-driven atmosphere of Binondo and Divisoria, under the tutelage of his parents,  he knew what hard work was all about.  Like many of the present day Filipino billionaires, he did not shirk manual labor, ready to carry heavy giant reels of textile to and from their store on the first floor of their warehouse all the way to the fourth floor.  He literally ate dust in the stock room from hauling and piling reels of textile, suffering from the pungent smell of chemicals emanating from the textile materials.  He knew what it meant to give importance to the convenience of the customers even if he had to skip lunch or take it hurriedly. His story reminds me very much of Jose Y. Campos, founder of the largest Philippine pharmaceutical  company, who from his small “botica” in Tondo would bicycle from his store to other drug stores in the vicinity whenever a customer asked for a product his store did not have but which he knew the others had in stock. In that way, he never disappointed a customer.

Although in later years, Raymond Domingo  acquired formal management education  in such prestigious business schools as the Wharton Business School of the University of Pennsylvania, the Ateneo Graduate School of Business, De La Salle University and San Beda College, it was in the school of hard knocks where he acquired the indispensable human virtues needed to succeed in any business undertaking, having been an all-around employee, combining the tasks of a salesman, bagger, cashier, delivery crew, stockroom attendant, store manager and more. I dread to think that we are nurturing a bunch of get-rich-quick spoiled brats who think that computer wizardry will get them to the summit  of business success.

Raymond Domingo  capped his training to be a mentor in salesmanship by attaining  top management positions at Greenfield Development Corporation, Century Properties and Ayala Land, some of the most prestigious real estate companies in the country.  In this book, he highlights the three key values of an outstanding leader:  the willingness to delegate and provide space for the people he is managing; the skill to create synergy and harmony among the individuals working for an organization; and most importantly, the ability to bring out the best in people.  This book is really an outline of his own journey to become one of the top sales executives in the country.  This book comes at an appropriate time when there is great need for business organizations to overcome the depressing impact that COVID-19 has had on the entire economy. The only way the Philippines can recover the 6 to  8 percent growth path that our leaders are targeting in the next decade or so is for businesses, both large and small, to grow their sales and thus to grow their businesses.  Fortunately, as the economy bounces back from the ill effects of the pandemic, the Philippines will be transitioning from a low-middle income status to a high-middle income one, the very trajectory at which demand for all types of consumer goods and services beyond the basic necessities can grow exponentially.  We need excellent sales managers to take advantage of this unique opportunity that the Philippines will offer in the next two decades or so.  This book is a must for those who want to contribute to the rapid economic growth that the  Philippines is projected to experience post pandemic, as a good number of independent foreign  think tanks, financial institutions and credit rating agencies have prognosticated over the last ten to fifteen years. 

For comments, my email address is bernardo.villegas@uap.asia

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *