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Lesson #1: Don’t Take ‘No’ for an Answer
If ever there was an ambitious and relentless entrepreneur who refused to give up even in the face of tremendous doubt and uncertainty, Lauder was it. Stubborn even as a child, Lauder was a woman who refused to quit and walk away even when the going was tough. Her ability to convert her ambition into a charming and lucrative sales technique was one of the main components to Lauder’s success.
“I have never worked a day in my life without selling,” she said. “If I believe in something, I sell it and I sell it hard.” Lauder had an unwavering faith in the quality of her products. She felt that if only she could get it in the hands of others, they too would instantly fall in love with her ‘beauty in a jar’ solutions. Thus, she was not afraid to take unusual yet creative steps to make a sale and she came to be known for her often use of guerilla tactics to close a deal.
In one such case, Lauder was chasing an account with Galleries Lafayette, Europe’s largest department store, with its flagship store located in Paris, France. Landing Lafayette would be a huge step forward for Lauder, not only because of its excellent locations and the wide scope of its stores, but also because Lafayette epitomized the world of fashion and lent itself nicely to the high-class and sophisticated image that Lauder was trying to create for her company.
Due to her persistence, Lauder was able arrange a meeting with the head manager of the Paris store. She used all her charm and sales abilities to try and convince him that her line of beauty products would work perfectly with his store’s stock. Despite all her effort, the manager remained unconvinced. He turned Lauder’s request down and sent her on her way. Shortly after, Lauder noticed a demonstration taking place on the store floor and, immediately realizing the potential she made her way over to the crowd where she ‘accidentally’ spilled some of her Youth Dew on the floor. A bath oil that doubled as a perfume, the scent began wafting through the crowd, whose interests were quickly peaked. Everyone wanted to know what that fragrance was and where they could get their hands on it. In the end, the manager had no choice but to give in to Lauder’s demands and in relatively little time, her products were lining the shelves of Galleries Lafayette.
“I didn’t get there by wishing for it or hoping for it, but by working for it,” said Lauder of her success. “I was a woman with a mission and single-minded in the pursuit of my dream.” Throughout her career, there were always people who were standing in her way and trying to hold her back from her goals, but Lauder never let them. She continued to chase her dreams and by doing so, by refusing to listen to others, and by refusing to give up, Lauder brought her company to the top.
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