Lessons from the Greatest Salespeople of All Time — Napoleon Barragan

Starting an entry-level position in sales can be exciting — especially for those who are hungry to learn, grow and move up into a high commission sales job at a thriving company. But just like anything you want in life, it requires commitment. Looking to successful people who have been in your shoes can be a real boost in motivation. After all, if they can do it, why not you too?

napolean-barraganNapoleon Barragan is a great example of a salesperson who started small and went big. In fact, he made a Crain’s New York Business list of 100 Most Powerful Minority Businessmen in America.

Born in Ecuador, Barragan began his sales career selling soda pop and beer from a donkey in Colombia during the 1950s. After immigrating to the United States, Barragan was one of the first businessmen to hop on the 1-800 phone numbers bandwagon.

Not only was Barragan a pioneer in phone sales, he also led the way in e-commerce with online sales of mattresses in the earliest days of the internet. He started 1-800-Mattress with $2,000 that his wife gave him. And over time, he grew his dot-com into a $170-million-a-year business.

Here are some takeaways from Barragan’s experience in sales that, when applied, can help skyrocket your growth in sales leadership:

  1. Be willing to take risks. When there’s a task to be done, don’t be afraid to jump in. Employers look favorably on those who are up for a challenge and are excited to take initiative.
  2. Be open to change. In the words of ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus, “The only thing that is constant is change.” So your ability to accept and adapt to change will make you a truly valuable resource to any team.

If you’re ready to jump-start your career or land one of the best-paying sales gigs in your area, do so by following Barragan’s lead. With hard work, commitment and these important tips, you’re path to success will be greatly enhanced.