Blog Archives

BizMaker: Money Leeches in the Family

(Originally published on August 21,  2011; reprints previous original material published in this section)

By Mark So

Because this is the third part in a series of articles, please go to my blog if you have not read the previous articles: http://www.markso.wordpress.com.

Recently I talked about being aware and effectively stopping your “Money Leeches.” Should a money leech appear who is not part of your immediate family, I recommended that you only offer P50 and not a centavo more. Although it may seem harsh, this is the first real step in getting your money to stay with you. Also remember that if you think you can’t do it for yourself, do it for your immediate family instead.

Money Leeches in the Family

The question now is, what if your money leeches are from your immediate family? Like a brother or a sister or a parent? What then?

First, let me define what an “immediate family money leech” is. This is the brother or sister or parent that will habitually ask you for money. Most of the time, they even feel entitled to it because of your blood relationship.

This is where it gets very sensitive for a lot of people. Everybody has a different opinion on this, but this is my clear-cut view on it: not all members of your immediate family carry the same weight. You must prioritize within your immediate family whom you can be generous to first.

In my life, my first priority is my wife and children, then my parents and my siblings. With that in mind, I give 90 percent of my money to my wife and children first, the next five goes to me, and the remaining five percent goes to a special fund in case an immediate family member needs it. So should there be a money leech in my immediate family, the maximum amount of cash I give is only the five percent of whatever I have at the time. Depending on how much money you have right now, that can either be very little or very big, but the point is even if it concerns immediate family (outside of my wife and children) my cash generosity is budgeted, controlled and managed.

If you are single, I do not suggest offering 90 percent to your immediate family—unless you plan to never marry, budget it at five to 10 percent because of two reasons: 1) If you give more than that, you might not have a money leech now. But if they get used to it, you would have created one down the road; and 2) You need money for when you get married someday. If there was a major regret I had in my life, it was that I didn’t plan financially when the time came for me to marry the love of my life. Even though it worked out in the end, I could have planned it much better.

Make no mistake—my life’s wealth is meant for my immediate family. Everything I make and have is meant to be shared with them, and to give them a better life. But if I have a money leech problem and do not budget and control it, the money leech will most definitely bleed me dry financially. And if I might add, if you are married and a money leech is within the immediate family, it can destroy your marriage if you don’t handle it properly Trust me. I’ve seen it happen. This is why I urge you to understand what I am sharing. If nothing else, I want all of you to have a great and happy marriage.

Be Generous in the Right Way

Before you decide that I am a heartless scrooge, do remember that we are just talking about money leeches in the immediate family who habitually ask for money and even feel entitled to it. If they are not leeching you dry and they desperately need help and you can afford to do so, then give what you can.

If you know me well enough, you would know that I am a very generous person. And the reason why I wrote what I wrote is because I was once extremely generous with my money to anyone and everyone. I learned that being overly generous with money, especially if you do not know how to manage it, is extremely dangerous and is a clear recipe for money to run away from you.

Instead, what I learned to do and what I want you to learn to do is to be generous in kind. To explain this further, I will give you two assignments today.

Assignment 1: Read my past article, entitled “Business Reciprocity,” in http://www.markso.wordpress.com. Comment on either that article or this one. Complain to me about the problems you have in completing the assignments. Believe me, I will read every single one.

Assignment 2: Set a budget for your Family Leeches and stick to it. Create a script on how you will say it to them. You can e-mail it to me if you want: markso@zerocapitalclub.com.

 

Mark So is a businessman, investor and educator. He is the chairman and CEO of BusinessmakerAcademy—a business, finance and corporate training center. He is the founder and Chief Forex Trainer of Forex Club Asia, a trading club of Forex Traders across Asia. He is also the founder and chief trainer of the Philippine Franchise Institute, which specializes in training and growing existing Franchise businesses. A sought after speaker for business and investing, you may e-mail your comments and questions to mhso@businessmaker-academy.com or call the office at (2) 687-4445/3416/4645 for a schedule of his seminars.

 

(All rights reserved. Copyright Manila Bulletin. May not be reproduced or copied without express written permission of the copyright holders.)

Bizmaker: Get Rid of Money Leeches

(Originally published on August 14,  2011; reprints previous original material published in this section)

By Mark So

This article continues where we left off in the last one (if you have not yet read Part 1 of this article, please go to my blog now at (www.markso.wordpress.com), which touches on being more financially prepared to enable wealth to start flowing towards you.

Today’s lesson in particular is about being aware and effectively stopping your “Money Leeches,” or as I’d like to call them, people or “cosmically uncanny” situations that just happen to show up at the exact moment you come into some money. Sound familiar?

Think back to the time that you got that Php 5,000 bonus or an unexpected business from a client…who called or showed up at your doorstep needing urgent help or “who just  happened to drop by” that very same week needing exactly Php 5,000? Did your car, refrigerator or cell phone break down needing urgent repairs totaling more or less Php 5,000? Did you just happen to go to the mall that weekend, which incidentally had a sale on all items, and buy something that you would never use for more or less Php 5,000?

I bet you know exactly what I’m talking about. Yup, whoever he or she is, or whatever “situation” arose the last time you came into money, you have just identified your money

leeches. I know because I used to have lots of them. And I thought that that was the story of my life. And because I thought that way, the next time I got into some money, my money leeches would come. It became a reality for me, so much so that all the money I

made almost always went to some useless expense.

The problem is that most money leeches are usually family members or close friends. Or when situations arise, like your appliance breaking down or a cellphone gets stolen, you feel that it was by divine providence, that it was beyond your control, and you just have to give in.

Let me say right now that these can be stopped and it can be controlled. But it will take a major attitude and cultural change in you. It will require a lot of effort and a very thick face but if you apply what I will share, you will immediately achieve a major    breakthrough in our “wealth transfer project.”

First, stop thinking that having money leeches is normal—it’s not. You have to change your attitude, and your first assignment will help you do just that:

1. On a blank piece of paper I want you to hand write the following: “I am now aware that having Money Leeches will kill me financially. I will defend myself and get rid of them now.” Print your first name on a blank space below the statement, and then sign your name on top of it.

2. Scan the piece of paper or take a digital picture of it.

3. E-mail it to me as soon as you can. Please note that if you e-mail it to me, you are allowing me to post it on my blog should I choose to do so.

4. Place that piece of paper in a prominent spot in your wallet so that you can see it every time you open it.

The exercise above is meant to kick start your brain into acting and thinking about defending yourself against these money leeches. And yes, it is true; if you do not fix it right now, you will die financially.

Next, identify the people who are not immediate family members who constantly ask you for money. Note that these are the people who are not your wife, your children, your brother, your sister or your parents.

Here’s what you tell the people who are not immediate family the next time they ask for money.

Situation: “My _______ just got hospitalized, may I borrow Php 5,000?”

Your response: “I’m so sorry to hear that, I hope _______ is all right. I wish I could give you Php 5,000; but I can only afford to give Php 50 right now so I hope you understand.”

Regardless of the situation or any amount that a non-immediate family wants to “borrow” from you, only offer Php 50! There will be three possible reactions: 1) insulted, and will never want to ask money from you again; 2) grateful, and they take it; and 3) they negotiate. Regardless of their reaction, be willing to give only Php 50 and not a centavo more.

You might think it heartless, but it has to be done if you really want to get rid of your money leeches. Remember, this is to be used only on non-immediate family. They are not your burden and they are not your problem. The priority should always be your  immediate family. Reserve your generosity for them. But be smart with how you go about it. In the next article, I will talk about how to financially protect your immediate family and yourself from money leeches within your immediate family.

I’ll end this with another assignment: e-mail your feedback about this article or the preceding one. What I am interested in are not praises (although that would be nice, too); instead, complain to me about the problems you have in completing the assignments. E-mail me at markso@zerocapitalclub.com and tell me why you don’t think this or any of the assignments I have given you will ever work for you. Believe me, I will read every single one and I promise that I will not ban you or even get mad at you when you do. It is all part of the process.

Until the next article.

 

Mark So is a businessman, investor and educator. He is the chairman and CEO of BusinessmakerAcademy—a business, finance and corporate training center. He is the founder and Chief Forex Trainer of Forex Club Asia, a trading club of Forex Traders across Asia. He is also the founder and chief trainer of the Philippine Franchise Institute, which specializes in training and growing existing Franchise businesses. A sought after speaker for business and investing, you may e-mail your comments and questions to mhso@businessmaker-academy.com or call the office at (2) 687-4445/3416/4645 for a schedule of his seminars.

 

(All rights reserved. Copyright Manila Bulletin. May not be reproduced or copied without express written permission of the copyright holders.)

Bizmaker: Make Money Run After You

(Originally published on August 3,  2011; reprints previous original material published in this section)

By Mark So

Don’t think for one second that because the world is in financial crisis, there is no money going around. The truth is far from it. The fact is that the world is literally overflowing with money. It may not seem like this applies today, but always remember this: money is never destroyed—only transferred.

Wealth, on a daily basis, is constantly transferred from those who do not know how to manage money to those who do. Even, and most especially, during a financial crisis, this holds true.

Let me take the recent financial crisis, break it down for you, and explain how wealth was transferred. I’ll show you the steps to begin the process of “wealth flow.”

This article will be the first of a series, with each article ending with an activity or task. If you seriously want money to run after you, I strongly recommend that you follow the assignments for every article and give me feedback along the way.

In the recentU.S.financial crisis that started June of 2007 and reached its peak in October of 2008, theU.S.stock market (and consequently the Philippine stock market) lost more than 50 percent of its value. Most people panicked and took out their money, or whatever that was left of it, for fear of losing even more. When they did that, they lost half of their wealth—which took a lifetime to build—in a span of days. As of

September 29, 2008, approximately $1.2 trillion was wiped out in theU.S.alone.

Let me repeat: The money was not lost. It was merely transferred.

During the same crisis, there were a few brave souls who bought those stocks at extremely low prices. They held on to it, and became a whole lot richer overnight. Warning: Do not be overwhelmed by what I am going to share next. Even if my examples are in billions of U.S. dollars, the principles I want you to pick up will and can be applied to your situation. More importantly, do not put in everything you have in any investment vehicle because of this. This is not the point of my example.

In theU.S.the most notable figure to do this was Warren Buffet, who bought a significant chunk of shares at Goldman Sachs in September 2008.

Despite the odds and the panic, Buffet bought the shares at basement bargain prices. He invested $5 billion, held on to it during the worst of the crisis (which was October 2008), and turned it into $8.7 billion very recently. Another similar story–although he did not buy stocks but rather bet against them (a.k.a. short trading)—is John Paulson of Paulson and Co., who made a killing by betting against the U.S. subprime mortgage market. He made $4 billion after the worst of the crisis was over. Although Buffet and Paulson were the few covered by the media, there were more who made killings, as well, but the public just didn’t know about it.

Now you might be thinking that those guys are professional investors—how can you ever come close to doing that yourself? Well, first let me explain that this is just one of many examples of “wealth flow transference.” You don’t have to be in stocks or investments to apply what I will be teaching you in the next few articles. For those of you who know me and have been following my column, you know that I will teach you how to do it in a very practical and “anybody-can-do-it” approach, so read on.

While I am not saying that you cannot be a billionaire, I will leave that option wide open for anybody willing to try; but before we think about billions, or even millions, let’s first come back to earth and start with the basics.

How and where do I Begin?

I’m designing this and the succeeding articles as thoroughly as possible so that you will not only understand it, but also experience it by applying it to your life, article by article. Of course you may opt to go faster and I will inform you how to do that in the very near future.

In the meantime, this should be your first “realization” for this particular article: Running after money if you do not know how to manage it will result in you forever chasing after it. Get your house in order first, build a strong foundation for money management, and you will see that the money will start running towards you—and staying with you.

Now to learn and apply this lesson, here is your first assignment:

1. Go to my blog http://www.markso.wordpress.com and subscribe to it.

2. Search for, read and comment on the following articles in the blog’s search box:

a. “The Most Important Advice About Money I can Ever Give You”

b. “Money Management Simplified parts 1 to 3”

Good luck—until the next article!

 

Mark So is a businessman, investor and educator. He is the chairman and CEO of BusinessmakerAcademy—a business, finance and corporate training center. He is the founder and Chief Forex Trainer of Forex Club Asia, a trading club of Forex Traders across Asia. He is also the founder and chief trainer of the Philippine Franchise Institute, which specializes in training and growing existing Franchise businesses. A sought after speaker for business and investing, you may e-mail your comments and questions to mhso@businessmaker-academy.com or call the office at (2) 687-4445/3416/4645 for a schedule of his seminars.

 

(All rights reserved. Copyright Manila Bulletin. May not be reproduced or copied without express written permission of the copyright holders.)

Bizmaker: The Tale of the Dancing Beggar

(Originally published on July 20, 2011; reprints previous original material published in this section)

 

By Mark So

 

Have you ever encountered a beggar hounding you to no end? On the streets, they walk up to you and stretch out their hands persistently asking for spare change or something to eat. If it’s a street kid, they will look at you with sad eyes and yearning in the hopes that you give them something out of pity; or worse, because they feel that you owe them something.

And they are persistent! They won’t leave until you either give them something or you say “No”. And even after you do say no, they still linger hoping that you’d change your mind.

As Filipinos with sympathetic hearts, we’d probably give in the first time, probably even the second or third; but after one too many times, you would probably not want to be bothered with the same guilt strategies they employ.

What I just described would probably make you think that all beggars are like that. But indulge me, dear reader, as that is not entirely true. You see, there exists a different kind of beggar, a rare breed, if you will.

Have you ever encountered this scenario: You are walking on the street and this “rare” type of beggar approaches you and instead of the usual demeanor and just asking for spare change, he starts off with “Good morning sir! Gwapo natin ngayon ah (You look handsome today).” No one would readily expect that, so you reply with a smile and give him a chance to make you feel even better. The next thing he does is to break-dance in front of you and other bystanders, and suddenly, he executes a blast from the past, when strut and the moonwalk were both in fashion. And he’s quite good!

Then after the show—and without him asking for anything—you find yourself reaching not just for loose change but handing him a crisp R20 bill. And before he leaves, he executes another super dance move to show his appreciation. Money well spent on the deserving—at least that’s what I believe.

If you have experienced this type of beggar, then you have a feel of the vibe of the moment; if not, don’t fret, as this is indeed rare. Personally I’ve only encountered such a person only twice in my entire life. And I am P40 less rich because of it. But it was all worth it and it made me wish that all beggars were more like him.

The point of the story is this: does the first type of beggar remind you of that pesky telemarketing agent who wakes you up at 8 a.m. in the morning to sell you something that you do not even need? And what do you do? Do you feel yourself wanting to buy his products? Chances of doing so will be slim to none because it is downright irritating and does not really add any value to your life.

Now what about the dancing beggar? Does he give you the same harassed feeling or do you find yourself entertained and engaged?

The few times I encountered the dancing beggar, I felt less stressed; and to be honest, happy not just for me, but for the beggar breaking from the norm. More importantly, both times I voluntarily gave more than what was necessary because I felt they deserved it. For in the brief moment that they showed their moves, they relieved me of the stresses and pressures of life. And to me, this is what true salesmanship ought to be.

When it comes to sales, understand the pressure of meeting one’s quotas, as I, too, depend on the skill to put food on the table. But the manner in which you go about doing it will spell the difference between a life of begging versus a life of fulfillment.

For those in sales, especially ones tasked with the tricky role of telemarketing, it is not enough to stick with a spiel of what to say—even if this is the normal practice. It is also very important to make the customer feel good about talking to you.

Would you like to know how to do that? Stop thinking about you and your quota. All you’ll end up doing is pestering the person into a purchase. Instead, think about how to make the other person feel good about himself and whatever it is you are selling, just like the dancing beggar. If someone without a job can do it, so can you.

The lesson that I will leave you with is this: Sales is not just about being persistent and pesky, it is also about how you “package” yourself in front of the other person. Keep the customer engaged and wanting to hear more from you that by the time you move in on the pitch, they will be more open to whatever it is that you are selling.

 

Mark So is a businessman, investor and educator. He is the chairman and CEO of BusinessmakerAcademy—a business, finance and corporate training center. He is the founder and Chief Forex Trainer of Forex Club Asia, a trading club of Forex Traders across Asia. He is also the founder and chief trainer of the Philippine Franchise Institute, which specializes in training and growing existing Franchise businesses. A sought after speaker for business and investing, you may e-mail your comments and questions to mhso@businessmaker-academy.com or call the office at (2) 687-4445/3416/4645 for a schedule of his seminars.

 

(All rights reserved. Copyright Manila Bulletin. May not be reproduced or copied without express written permission of the copyright holders.)

 

 

Biz Maker: How I Learned To Manage People

(Originally published on Sunday, July 18, 2010)

By MARK SO

In my earlier years, I never really thought of myself as a manager of people; truth be told I never really understood how important managing people really was until I became an entrepreneur. And even when I embraced entrepreneurship full time, I made many, many mistakes in this field which taught me huge lessons not just in business but also in life.

You see, back in the day as an inexperienced entrepreneur, I thought that people management was simple: “If you want your business to succeed, you must hire people who have the background to run your business for you.” Little did I know that those thoughts were the most devastating thoughts ever to cross my mind. Why? Because no matter how good the people you hire, or how much money you offer them, the truth is, no one can ever run your business better than you.

I learned the hard way that being a business owner did not mean that you hired people to think for you and run the day to day operations for you; it meant that you needed to first know what you really want your business to become, and to do that, you need to be employee number 1. Because, remember Murphy’s Law: If something can go wrong, it usually will. And if you are not there to steer the business clear of problems, you should never expect employee number 2, 3, or 4 to do it better than you.

The greatest mistake I made with my first business was to hire a general manager and her managers (employees 2, 3, and 4) to run the business. I was still working for a big multinational company back then and subscribed to the excuse, “I’m too busy to handle my own business.” So I relied on the salaries that I was paying my people to make them grow my business, solve problems, and make me rich.

Of course, reality is never that easy. Because people that you pay but do not manage usually result in these people taking their salaries and ending up making excuses for why things didn’t go as planned.

(To read more about my problems with my first business and how I solved them, go to my blog, www.markso.wordpress.com and search for “Business and the start of a beautiful relationship, parts 1 to 3.”)

In hindsight, I realized that my biggest mistake was that I “abdicated” instead of “delegated.” Abdication is what happens when you are not there to guide people and as a result fail to fulfill your responsibility as the founder of the business. Delegation is when you slowly give some responsibility to the people you hire so that they can eventually do the work for you over time. Take note, the operative words here are “slowly” and “over time.”

So in my next business, I tried “delegating.” I was more hands-on in the business, but there were still big glaring problems. The biggest problem of all was my attitude. I was either too nice, or too strict, or too tyrannical, or all of the above. So as you can imagine, some of my people were complaining behind my back. I wasn’t consistent in my approach and my moods got the best of me, because—and this is not an excuse—as an entrepreneur you are faced with an extreme amount of stress on a daily basis.

So how did I learn to manage my people better? Well, three things.

First I had to learn to be better than the normal guy. As an entrepreneur, you will really face a lot of hard and stressful times but even during those times, I had to learn how to become more “presidential,” which meant I needed to stop being dramatic, and to learn to act from my head and not from my heart. It wasn’t easy, but I (with my wife) realized that the solution to achieving this was to slowly and painstakingly build a system to address the needs of our people. This is where my wife Jhoanna really excelled; she built our human resource system almost single-handedly. It did not just address the concerns of our people but also replaced impulsiveness and drama with solid procedures for addressing our people’s problems.

Second, and simultaneously, I had to weed out the bad apples in the bunch. You see I believe that the business owner has to do his/her part in becoming better at managing people, but the people themselves must be willing to be honed to become even better for the sake of the business. Unfortunately there are those who just do not have the right attitude and the only answer is to remove them from the equation.

Once I cleared the ranks, replacing them with better people was the next task, and to do this, we created criteria for hiring people, and these criteria were the most important of all as they helped us hire those who believed in what the business wanted to achieve. This unified belief is what bonded our people together to act as one with the business owners themselves. Without this bond, you can never really build a team with a common purpose.

Third, and finally, I realized that the first two things will not matter at all if I did not show them exactly what it was that the business wanted to achieve. So the last and final ingredient of how I learned how to manage people was to lead by example. I am employee number 1 and as such I must show the rest of the team how to do it the first time, the second time, the third time…until they can do it on their own. Today, I can honestly say that I have come a long way when it comes to managing people. Today I can honestly say that my wife and I are better managers of people.

About the Author: Mark So is a fervent businessman, forex trader, marketer, sales consultant, and educator. He is the chairman and CEO of Businessmaker Academy, a business, finance and corporate training center. He is also the Chief Forex Trainer of Forex Club Manila. Mr. So is slated to conduct his “7 Point Formula Seminar” on July 31, 2010. If you are interested in attending this seminar, email Mark directly at markso@zerocapitalclub.com. To read more of Mark’s interesting and life- enriching articles you can go to his blog at http://www.markso.wordpress.com.

(All rights reserved. Copyright Manila Bulletin and Mark So. May not be reproduced or copied without express written permission of the copyright holders.)

Bizmaker: How I Build Businesses using the Power of Accumulation!

(Originally published on Sunday, July 11, 2010)

By MARK SO

My wife and I used to live in a condo unit when we were newly married. At first, the condo was pretty spacious and needed some furniture so we got a little bit of this, and a little bit of that; then gifts would come from friends and family on special occasions; and over time, the stuff we had piled up. I remember feeling claustrophobic at one time; I literally couldn’t breathe anymore, and no matter how many times we would donate or purge items, we felt that the condo was magically getting smaller and smaller.

Now this is not because we keep buying stuff; we actually live (then and now) a very simple life. We do not buy anything we do not need and we donate and ‘purge’ regularly; the fact is everyone will eventually have more stuff over time. This is what I call “the power of accumulation” and what I wanted to share with you today is how I use this power in businesses, and how you, too, can build something small first, then slowly, over time, accumulate not just “stuff” but also wealth.

Before I start, I’m sure you are thinking right now: “I can’t start a business yet; I don’t know anything about businesses.” So I want to let you know one powerful truth:

Everyone starts at ZERO.

Every successful business owner starts by not knowing much about business. Sure, some of them might have studied starting a business, whether in college, grad school, books, and even through seminars. And I wholeheartedly believe in education, but let me tell you another powerful truth:

Experience is the best teacher of all.

Let me explain further. If I were to tell a 5-year-old child to stay away from the stove because s/he might get burned, then show the child pictures of what a burn looks like and tell him/her that it is very, very painful—then the child has been educated on how not to get burned right?

Now, the child will listen to you…for a while, that is. But when you are not looking and the stove is on, chances are, the child will still go near the stove and accidentally burn his/her hand anyway—because the child needs to satisfy his/her curiosity as to what the word “burn” means, and understand what you meant about how painful it can really be. Now, the moment s/he gets hurt and realizes that s/he never wants to get burned again, s/he has gained experience.

Likewise, the best way to learn about business is to experience doing business and find out first hand what it is like to go through the pains and gains of being in business.

So are you ready to gain experience and accumulate businesses? All right then, here’s the simple formula/plan that you must start doing now to start accumulating wealth through businesses:

S+R+A = Power of Accumulation

S = “Start small”

There are many ways to start a business, but my method is the one that you can do right now. First off, know that no one can ever be sure if a business will succeed or not. So, common sense will dictate that you start small. If you have a small business already, good! If you don’t, then start one now by starting a sideline or ‘racket’. If you need some suggestions for creating a business without adding any costs, go to my blog at www.markso.wordpress.com and search this phrase: “Money Management Simplified Part 3.” In that article are two incredibly simple ways to start a small sideline business with zero costs. I would also suggest that you read the whole series (parts 1 to 3) to learn how to manage your money for businesses.

As my readers already know, when I start businesses, I start them with zero costs: to me that is the ultimate way of starting small.

R = “Remain Small”

When I start a small business, and it becomes a success, I do not hire a lot of people; I keep it small and manageable. But I do something special inside the business to make it even more profitable. I call it multiple Streaming. It’s a technique that I teach in my 7-point formula seminar. What multiple streaming does is that it takes an ordinary sideline or ‘racket’ and it doubles the income streams of that business every year.

Now, if I increase my income stream per business and keep my staff small and manageable, the business becomes a lot more profitable even without becoming too big.

Why do I like keeping my businesses small? Well, lots of reasons but the most important reason is that small businesses can move a lot faster than bigger businesses and the relationship between the customers, the staff, and me are more direct and personal, no red tape.

A = “Accumulate”

Now, once my small business’ income stream stabilizes, I do it all over again with the same process, I start another small business, then I ‘multiple stream’ it until it is profitable, then add another when ready. I simply keep adding small, profitable businesses over time and these accumulate into true wealth. Imagine money coming in from multiple sources—when you wake up, when you are asleep, when you are eating, when you are on vacation. It’s an incredible feeling, I assure you.

The Power of Accumulation

So going back to the introduction of this column, when my wife and I started out in a small condominium, we learned that you will always accumulate more “stuff” no matter what. So I learned to apply this incredible power into businesses and instead of the awful feeling of claustrophobia, I achieve something else—freedom from financial worries. So now, you too can accumulate more wealth by just following the simple plan that I outlined for you, and of course gaining as much experience in the process. All the best! Good luck and God bless!

About the Author: Mark So is a fervent businessman, forex trader, marketer, sales consultant, and educator. He is the chairman and CEO of Businessmaker Academy—a business, finance, and corporate training center. He is also the Chief Forex Trainer of Forex Club Manila. Mr. So is slated to conduct his “7 Point Formula Seminar” this July 31, 2010. If you are interested in attending this seminar, email Mark directly at marksoATzerocapitalclub.com (replace the AT with @). To read more of Mark’s interesting and life-enriching articles, you can go to his blog at http://www.markso.wordpress.com.

(All rights reserved. Copyright Manila Bulletin and Mark So. May not be reproduced or copied without express written permission of the copyright holders.)

Biz Maker: The Tale of Two Salespersons (Part 3, Conclusion)

(Originally published on Sunday, June 20, 2010)

By MARK SO

Thank you for visiting and commenting on my blog for Part 1 and 2. For those of you who have not yet read those, please go to http://www.markso.wordpress.com.

In Part 2 of my blog, I wrote that 25% of the commenters were undecided as to whether they were Yin or Yang salespersons, and about 2% of this group (a very small number) felt that a great salesperson should be a balance of both. I totally agree: Yangs must learn from the Yins, and likewise, Yins must learn from Yangs but honestly, it is easier said than done.

Just learning skills from each other and developing these would be the obvious way to reach a balance, but I believe that having a deeper understanding of sales is the real answer.

So here I will explain that being a great salesperson is NOT just about developing a skill or transforming yourself from Yin to Yang or vice versa. Instead, evolving as a salesperson is simpler than you think.

Let’s begin. In my sales and marketing seminars, I ask my students what their motivation for selling is. Can you guess what their three main answers are? They were: 1. money; 2. recognition; and 3. more money.

To which I say, “That’s very honest of all of you, but you see, you don’t need to sell to get money and recognition. You can inherit wealth (money), or you can learn to Invest and grow your money. You can invent a new gadget or write an article for a newspaper for recognition. In other words, what you mention are motivations, but not really motivations to make you sell better.”

And the room gets very quiet. So I continue, “You see the best salespeople in the world, whether Yin or Yang, are motivated by only two things when they start selling. They are: 1. excited and motivated by the product itself; and 2. They absolutely care about the people that they sell to, their customers.”

You Can’t Sell What You Don’t Believe In

My wife Jhoanna is, as I mentioned earlier, a Super Yin; she absolutely gets freaked out when she needs to do the selling herself, but not when it comes to our seminars and our real estate properties.

Jhoanna absolutely believes in practical education; she has read self-help and how-to books all her life and has become a maven of information. The seminars we hold at Businessmaker Academy are the product of her beliefs (and mine, of course); she is very proud of them and is willing to sell them to anyone who inquires about them. When she is in the office and she answers a phone call inquiring about any of our seminars, her face lights up and she can sell very naturally and easily. (She closes 99% of them!)

The same goes for real estate; yes, she loves real estate. In fact, ever since she was seven years old, she would regularly encircle with a red marker the properties for rent or sale in the Classifieds section of the Manila Bulletin and ask her parents to call and inquire how much it was. She would even insist on going with her family every Sunday to see some of the properties they owned at that time. She was and still is obsessed with real estate, so when one of our condominium units was turned over to us, she was able to rent it out on the first day we opened the door (I am not exaggerating). This is the power of believing in your product.

You Should Not Sell If You Do Not Care For the People You Sell To

Notice that I said “should not,” and not “cannot” because you can sell to people you don’t care about, but your customers will know that you are not selling for their benefit but for yours only. This is the other must-have ingredient when it comes to selling very well. You must love your customers for you to be able to gain their trust and their loyalty. It is very hard to fake sincerity, and without sincerity, there can never be trust. If the customer trusts you, the customer will buy from you; it’s that simple.

I really care about my customers, and they know it. It is not about what I say; it is about what I do that makes my customers understand that my businesses and I are here for them. In my seminars I tell my students that I am sincerely excited to be here today to teach them, and indeed I am excited and thrilled. I always am, because at the end of the day, I love the feeling of being able to help, inspire, and provide a means for a better life for all of them.

After my seminars, they come up to me and say “thank you” and the next time they come over, I shake their hands and ask about their families or how their startup business is doing, I mention the details of our meeting several weeks ago and they are surprised that I remembered. These small things, these sincere things that I do over time, show my customers that I care.

But I go several steps further. I don’t just sell to my customers, I build businesses around them to provide them with what they need. And my customers gladly buy almost any product that I offer them because: one, I believe in and trust the product that I’m selling, and two, all my long-time customers know I am selling something that I believe can be used for their best interests.

I am not perfect, and neither is my wife, but in my examples above, Jhoanna and I, together with our growing businesses, continue to strive to be better salespeople using these two very simple truths in selling. I hope it will help you too in your quest to be even better as a salesperson now and in the future. Good luck and God bless!

(All rights reserved. Copyright Manila Bulletin and Mark So. May not be reproduced or copied without express written permission of copyright holders.)

Biz Maker: The Tale of Two Salespersons (Part 2)

(Originally published on Wednesday, June 9, 2010)

By MARK SO

First off, I’d like to thank all of those who visited my blog and commented on Part 1. (For those of you who have not yet read it, please go to http://www.markso.wordpress.com) I was amazed and happy to read some of the comments that came very, very close to what I will be revealing today, and validated what I believe a True Salesperson should be.

45% of those who commented said they were Yins, 30% said they were Yangs, and 25% were unsure. And out of all the comments, a whopping 91% believed that Yins would outsell the Yangs! And that verdict is absolutely, in my experience, correct. Yangs can move mountains when it comes to selling, but it is the Yins who are the ones who can best influence and maximize the full selling potential of the Yangs. And it is the Yins who have the best chance of closing deals if they so want to.

One comment on my blog says a lot: “I am a Yin but I know that I can beat the Yang… How? By hiring a Yang to sell for me. Hehehe. I am not the type of person willing to develop my weaknesses; (rather, I am) a person who wants to look for a person who can compensate (for them). Regards!” – Julius

That comment is classic Yin thinking and I applaud Julius for his insight. But it is not enough to just hire Yangs, because they can also hire other Yangs to sell for them.

The true power of the Yin is that they can control, correct, influence, and persuade Yangs to be the best they can be. Yins Naturally Control Yangs I want you to picture a thoroughbred champion racehorse, a powerful and magnificent creature. That’s a Yang Salesman.

A champion racehorse can run 55 to 65 kilometers per hour, which is pretty fast. Anyone (with a lot of money) can buy one (hire a Yang salesman), but not everyone can ride one (control a Yang salesman). Only the right jockey can control the racehorse, and typically jockeys are no more than 5’5” in height and weigh no more than 116 pounds. Jockeys look normal in every sense of the word; you might not even notice them most of the time, but they have a great power that allows them to control the racehorse.

Now think of the jockey as the Yin. Without the Yin, a racehorse can run like the wind, but it will not be able to run as efficiently as when the jockey is in control, even with the additional weight. Do you get the picture? Good, let me go a little deeper now, back to salesmanship. You see, not all Yins want to become jockeys.

In other words, not all Yins venture into sales because few Yins think it is possible for them to succeed in it. From the comments coming from Yins on my blog, it is apparent that most Yins think that to be a true salesperson, you need to be a Yang. But I want to let everyone know that there is no need for a transformation, just a little confidence in that you have what it takes as a Yin to possibly be the greatest salesperson ever.

I’d like to add another comment from my blog: “…with perseverance, direction, interest, and positive perception … you can make your goal come true…(It’s) within you…” – Sofia

Great words Sofia, and let me add this truth: All Yins, and only the Yins, have the power to control the Yangs if they wanted to. Can you imagine a racehorse controlling another racehorse, or an outgoing, extroverted person controlling another outgoing extroverted person? In some cases it can work, but experience tells me that in most cases, that relationship will be explosive; in Tagalog, “Kapag pinagsama ang dalawang taong malakas ang dating, sasabog iyan (Put together two strong personalities, and they will explode).”

Now, when it comes down to it, customers naturally like Yins more than Yangs You see, it’s very simple. Yang salespersons have a tendency to repel other Yangs, and if the other Yang happens to be a potential customer, getting a super Yang to close will most likely turn into a contest of who can convince the other. Instead of just closing the deal, a Yang has the tendency to oversell, which is a big no-no in sales.

I have had the privilege of seeing my wife (a super Yin) sell a few times, and she closes 99% of them (fantastic, if you ask me). My wife will admit to anyone though that she is not comfortable doing the selling on her own. But still, she manages to get the customer to buy anyway because of this simple truth: Yins are perceived as ordinary honest folk who do not sell but who give advice and make honest recommendations.

In other words, if a Yin is selling, customers usually let their guard down and are more open to possibilities. And customers are open to what the Yin has to say, 99% of the time they will buy, because Yins will almost always tell the truth. And in the world of selling, truth and honesty are the key to sales success.

So for Yins out there, listen to what I have to say: there is no need to be a great talker, no need to be a great presenter, no need to be a great charmer. There are only two things you have to learn to become possibly the greatest salesperson in the world. One, have confidence in yourself. Two, learn how to close the deal.

Stay tuned for Part 3 where I explain how Yangs can harness the power of the Yins, and teach Yins how to gain more confidence and close the deal. In the meantime, I would love to hear from you regarding this article. Please leave a comment on my blog at http://www.markso.wordpress.com

(All rights reserved. Copyright Manila Bulletin and Mark So. May not be reproduced or copied without express written permission of copyright holders.)

Biz Maker: The Tale Of Two Salespersons, Part One

(Originally published on May 23, 2010)

By MARK SO

(Part 1)

Here’s another insightful and true story from my wonderful life, especially in the field of salespersonship. I call this story ‘The Tale of Two Salespersons’ because there are generally two kinds of salespersons in this world: the one you think is the true salesperson, and the one that you think will never be able to sell water to a thirsty man.

Sales or learning how to sell is important in whatever you do. As I always say in my seminars, “Sales is not a position, it is a way of life,” and so I hope this article will teach you what it takes to be a salesperson. Realize who between the two kinds of salespersons you identify with, who will outsell the other, and what you should do about it now.

Let me start by painting a picture of the first salesperson. Tell me if you can relate, if he or she is someone you have already met; in fact, this person was probably the one who sold you that kitchen gadget that you have never used in your life. You bought it just because the person was so convincing, or so persistent (may have even been a bit annoying) that even if you were allergic to apples, you bought the “handy, dandy apple slicer” anyway. That kind of “talent” is apparent among many superstar salesmen, and it’s called persuasiveness.

Have you met that kind of person before? I’m sure you have.

So I’m going to just call those kinds of salespeople “Yangs.” Yangs are very confident people. Some are obnoxious but most are charming, funny, generous, extroverted, persistent, and above all, persuasive. Yangs are people who can sell ice to Eskimos. Give them a product, a reason, and a prospective buyer, and see the magic called selling happen right in front of your eyes. And if they don’t get to sell it the first time, rest assured they will not stop until they do, even if it’s to the 100,000th buyer who comes along.

Can you picture the first salesperson in your mind now? Good, now let me describe the second type of salesperson. This type of person is someone you have also encountered in your life. In fact this might even apply to you, so tell me if you can relate.

This second salesperson is absolutely scared of selling. They do not like it, do not possess the indestructible confidence that “Yangs” do, and they seem to not have the “X” factor to be successful in sales. They would rather have a job in accounting, engineering, research and development, etc. as long as they don’t need to interact with customers or even try to convince anyone to buy anything. On the surface, they seem very soft and vulnerable, quiet, not noticeable, even a bit introverted most of the time. They are the exact opposite of “Yangs,” which is why I will call the second salesperson a “Yin.” If you are familiar with the symbol of Yin and Yang, these two types of salespersons are the exact opposites of each other, night versus day, extroverted versus introverted, the ultimate salesperson versus the ultimate anti-salesperson. Can you picture it?

Good. Now tell me which of the two kinds of salesmen will outsell the other in the long run? Please post a comment stating “Yang” or “Yin” on my blog at http://www.markso.wordpress.com and see for yourself what the public thinks.

I am quite sure that at this point you have your favorites and I really do look forward to seeing your comments and thoughts. So go ahead and go to my blog now and look for the article “Tale of Two Salespersons (Part 1).”

You see, my dear readers, I am, as you may have guessed a “Yang.” I possess all of the characteristics of a “Yang” salesperson (plus the fact that I’m incredibly handsome ha ha ha) and I can literally find a way to sell ice to Eskimos. Selling, to me, is like breathing; I simply can’t live without it, I am deadly persuasive when I want to be, I can influence people with skills developed over decades of trial and error, and I don’t mind rejection (well not as much as I used to, that is) as I sell with purpose and with experience. In fact, in all the businesses that I have, I am always the number one salesperson in all of them.

But. And this is a big BUT. There are people in my organizations that outsell even me, the number one salesperson. Would you like to know who they are? Could they be even more developed Yangs, you think? Or God forbid, could they be Yins? Want to find out? Then stay tuned to the next article where I discuss this most intriguing revelation that not even the most successful salespeople in the world realize.

(All rights reserved. Copyright Manila Bulletin and Mark So. May not be reproduced or copied without express written permission of the copyright holders.)

Biz Maker: Money Management Simplified, Part 2

(EDITOR’S NOTE: ILLUSTRATIONS CANNOT BE REPRODUCED HERE, PLEASE GO TO MR. SO’S BLOG- URL IS LISTED BELOW- FOR THE ILLUSTRATIONS. THANK YOU.)

By Mark So

In part one of this article (Ed’s note: available at Mark’s blog; please see author box at the end of this article), I explained how to simplify your finances by completing a few simple exercises on a piece of paper and I explained the three scenarios that you are probably in right now. So let’s continue our discussion. If you are currently in Scenario 1, you want to move up to scenario 2 and scenario 3 immediately, right? And if you are in scenario 2, your end goal is to get to scenario 3 as soon as possible.

Well, let’s get started then.  If you are in Scenario 1 (or 2), take a look at the picture below:

So here’s what you do about it. Don’t worry, I’m not going to tell you to just live below your means as this is what 99% of people try, yet they still find themselves in the predicament of either having too much expenses or too little take home pay.

The real solution is that you must work on the two problems together, not just lower your expenses, but also work on increasing your take home. In this article (Part 2) I’m going to teach you how to fix your spending habits, then in the next article (Part 3), we will tackle how you can start increasing your income.

So let’s talk about expenses first.

The first thing you need to know is that there are three kinds of expenses.

  1. The Necessary: These are the only expenses you cannot avoid. These are:
  • Food
  • Clothing
  • Shelter
  • Transportation
  • Education (if you have kids)
  • Health insurance (Philhealth should be enough for now)

Regarding insurance, if you must choose from life, non-life, or health, always get health insurance first. In this day and age when health costs are ridiculously expensive, not having this can bankrupt anyone who is hospitalized for a prolonged period. (If you have Philhealth, it’s enough for now.)

  1. The Bad: These expenses have no value after you have spent your money. I also call them useless expenses. These are:
  • Pleasure expenses (Eating in fancy restaurants, taking expensive vacations, etc.)
  • Vices (Smoking, drinking, gambling, etc.)
  • Items that cannot be rented out
  • Items that cannot be resold at the same or a higher value.
  • Inexperienced investing (lack of experience in knowing the difference between a scam and a true investment)
  • Debt/loans used to pay for any of the above expenses
  1. The Good: These expenses produce “assets.” Assets are things or experiences that will add to your income and your money right now. These are:
  • Learning expenses (self-help/how-to books, great seminars, etc.)
  • Items that can be rented out
  • Items that can be used then resold at the same or a higher value
  • Savings/time deposits with built-in life insurance policies
  • Experienced investing
  • Life/pension insurance
  • Charity (if you give to charities that really need it, it will come back to you a hundredfold through other means)

Notice that I included savings, investing, and insurance as “expenses.” This is because with my method, everything that goes out of your “cup” I treat as an expense. But, in this case, it is a good kind of expense.

Now the next thing you have to do is to make some sacrifices and adjust your spending habits. Reduce the Bad Expenses, keep the Necessary Expenses, then increase the Good Expenses

Yes, I know, you are thinking: “Easier said than done.” Sure it is; I never said it was going to be easy, but, if you have the right mindset, I’m going to make it fun for you. Ready? This is the key to be able to do what I call:

Expense Management through “Substitution”

Here’s how it works. On another piece of paper, create a table like the one below, and write a heading for each column: “Bad,” “Necessary,” and “Good.” Then list down in the “Bad” column all the expenses you have right now that have no value after you spend on them. (Yes, just the Bad Expenses; leave the other two columns blank.)

Ex.

Bad Necessary Good
Eating out
Vacation in the province
Investing in a “get-rich-quick” scam

Good, now cross out at least one (or as many as you like) of them and put in a “substitute” expense in either the “Necessary” or “Good” Column, like this:

Bad Necessary Good
Eating out Go to the market and cook my own food
Vacation at a province Buy a low-cost computer that you can use for business and even rent out
Investing in a get-rich-quick scam Buy a good book on how to invest

For me (and my wife), this exercise has already become so natural with us that we automatically filter in our minds any expense that comes our way. We know if it’s a Bad, Necessary, or Good expense. But more importantly, we follow the very simple rule that I just explained: we do not indulge in Bad Expenses, but we do not hesitate to spend on Good ones.

If we have a substitute expense for a Bad expense either in the Necessary or Good expense column, we will always substitute it. Make this a habit and you will see that over time, this will be how your expenses will now look like:

Okay, for now your exercise will be to start managing your expenses by substitution. This time however, I would love to hear from you as to what you have done about your finances at this point. Do send me a quick hello by email: markso@zerocapitalclub.com. Stay tuned for part 3, because in that article, I will be talking about increasing your take home pay per month, which is absolutely essential for you to reach scenario 3.  Good luck and I hope to hear from you soon!

About the Author: Mark So is a fervent businessman, forex trader, and educator. He is the chairman and CEO of Businessmaker Academy, a business, finance, and corporate training center. He is also the Chief Forex Trainer of Forex Club Manila. Mr. So and his wife Jhoanna Gan-So regularly teach their straff to manage their money responsibly and have created a money coaching club for their employees. If you would like to start a money coaching club for your company, email Mark directly at marksoATzerocapitalclub.com. To read more of Mark’s interesting and life enriching articles you can go to his blog at http://www.markso.wordpress.com.

(All rights reserved. Copyright Manila Bulletin and Mark So. May not be reproduced or copied without express written permission of the copyright holders.)

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