Selling combs to monks

Whether you are an employee or entrepreneur, you must always strive to master the art of selling. As an employee, you are always selling your skill-sets to your employer and prospective customers. For a business owner, to be able to sell is a given. In this regard, I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to master the art of selling because it is considered the single most important factor that determines whether you can succeed in life.

In 2017, I wrote an article, “you can sell combs to monks”. Readers can subscribe as members to access the full article but I would like to succinctly use that article to expand on several learning points on how to be a successful wealth builder. In this blog, it is my desire to help people become successful in their wealth journey because it gives me joy to know that people have learned from my articles.

selling combs

In the story of selling combs to monks, three candidates were selected by a Singaporean merchant to sell combs to monks in China. We all know that monks do not need combs as they are bald, so selling combs to monks is like asking the candidates to do the impossible. Nevertheless, one of the candidates incredibly managed to sell 10,000 combs to a monk and eventually clinched the coveted job. The reason for his amazing success can be distilled in several points.

Sell what people want, not what they need

There is phrase that you must always remember in life: sell what people want, not what they need. What does it actually mean? I am sure most readers can differentiate between needs and wants. But from a marketing perspective, the difference may not be so straightforward.

In most cases, providing what people want will always prevail over providing what people need. Think about it before you dismiss my point.

I have seen so many start-ups failing because the founders are dead sure that they are creating something that consumers will definitely buy because they need it. But more often than not, the products or services seldom address the point on whether people will even want them, much less need them.

Using the story of selling combs to monks as a form of illustration, the reason why the candidate could manage to sell 10,000 combs was because he was selling a want. The Senior Master who bought the combs did not need the combs for himself. Instead, he wanted to repay the faith of the numerous worshippers. Because of that spiritual desire, he was willing to buy not just one, tens or hundreds, but tens of thousands of combs. Contrast this to the candidate who managed to sell one comb to a monk with an itchy scalp.

To drive home the importance of selling what people want, I will [This is a premium article. The rest of the content is blocked and can be accessible by SG Wealth Builder Members only. To read the full content, please sign up as member.]

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