The highlight of the North East Growth Hub’s Scaleup North East Launch , apart from the exciting programme itself had to be the keynote from Levi Roots. Yes I had heard of him, his appearance on Dragon’s Den and his hot Reggae Reggae Sauce. Other than that though our paths had never crossed. Why would they?
His story was very relevant and told both eloquently and amusingly, even when he got away with a bit of bad language. He had developed from a micro-business, on the kitchen table, to a multi-million pound and multi product, multi-national business. It was and still is an impressive story.
Throughout his life though he has lived as the person he is. He is not everybody’s cup of tea (or chilli sauce) and I imagine he can annoy some people, including his children! When getting the business off the ground his mentor had said to him to focus less on the product and more on his personality. Don’t sell the sauce – sell yourself! That’s the power of mentoring.
And this is what he has done. The sauce is as much about him as the contents. Levi Roots is the product and the product is him. As he says, ‘It’s easier being you than pretending to be something else.’ Sound advice indeed which got me thinking about when I am out promoting what I am doing are my potential customers really interested in what I do or who I am?
I suspect that when I am front of prospects they weigh me up first and then my offer. If I do not engage with them as people then, however good my product offering is, I am doomed to failure. This is such an important lesson, especially as you only get one chance to make a first impression. When I next go to visit a potential customer I will try to ensure that I understand who they are, what their business does and speak their language.
They need to buy me before they buy my services.