Not a day goes by that I don’t see an Amazon seller on social media, on Quora, or anywhere else online asking the same exact questions. I don’t blame these aspiring FBA ninjas. The unforgiving world of Amazon sellers is saturated with opportunists, all patiently waiting to swindle their next vulnerable victim.
Watered-down messages and lies pollute the Amazon space. If you aspire to sell on Amazon, or you’re already selling on Amazon, get ready. This will be the most straightforward article about actually selling on Amazon you’ll ever read.
Selling on Amazon is Not For The Faint of Heart
Now, back to the gurus who love to rip off new sellers. It’s so incredibly simple to realize once somebody points it out. But for some reason, these people are never exposed until someone calls them out. If they had all of the secrets and were that remarkable at selling… they would be selling. How could any successful seller have the time to gather a class of new sellers and introduce them to selling online?
Would I show them the “Seller University” videos from Seller Central? Perhaps we would go over Listing 101. Nah. Do that stuff on your own time if you genuinely want it. Let me take you for a walk down a road that, if you are open-minded, will allow you to learn some of the core principles of being successful as a new seller.
This may be a tough pill to swallow for some, but this is a strictly no-sugar-coating zone.
Class is in Session: Day One
American Gangster, released in 2007 and starring Denzel Washington, tells the true story of the 1970’s empire Frank Lucas built – and how he could do so. Believe it or not, this movie is packed with marketing, operations, and sales gems. All sellers need to do is open their eyes to these lessons.
Find Mentors Along Your Path
Starting off, mentorship and maintaining the ability to learn from others is essential. Observe the results of Frank Lucas waiting patiently under his teacher, Bumpy Johnson, whom Frank later attributes many of his most potent traits to.
“He taught me a lot of things. He taught me how to take my time. Taught me that if I was going to do something, to do it with care, with love. He taught me to be a gentleman.”
There is an infamous slippery slope for know-it-alls, and I admit that I find relief when they begin that journey to where they always end up. They are annoying, and they are broke.
Let’s get to the part that will make anyone who’s contemplating sticking around a little bit uneasy. Oh yeah, that’s right… We’re going to the jungle.
Frank Lucas was an entrepreneur who wanted to make a living buying a product wholesale and reselling it retail, hoping to make a reasonable profit. Unfortunately for him, the only product available in his line of work was some low-quality, stepped-on, overpriced garbage he could never sell.
” I want to get it where they get it from.”
Pay close attention to the correlation between quality, price, and the product’s chain of custody. Learn this – then learn it again and again.
There is no grand future in retail arbitrage or grinding it out daily, selling everybody else’s merchandise. Frank Lucas phones his cousin in war-torn Vietnam, arranges to meet him there, and then goes deep into the jungle to reach the first party involved in the supply chain.
The result: Importing the product that has been manufactured solely for him. The cost would be significantly less, and the quality much higher than the inferior alternatives he was once forced to purchase.
” My company sells a product that is better than the competition at a price that is lower than the competition.”
This product resulted from Frank Lucas’s willingness to go where few others would; “The Jungle.” Do not be afraid to go to the jungle. Figure out what you want to sell, find a way to make it unique, have somebody professional design your ideas and then go to the jungle to manufacture it. Congratulations — the handcuffs of working for somebody else have become slightly looser.
Now that your fantastic product has been thoroughly thought out and you have broken bread with the gentlemen who have agreed to produce your product at an insane rate compared to domestic prices, you now have something to work with.
As you will observe in the movie, appearances are much more critical than most people realize. Take your time to design the product packaging right. Ensure that everything is compliant. Of course, you have not come this far without obtaining a proper trademark for your new line of products, along with a logo that will one day stand for something. Ensure that your product and packaging contain these elements. I advise you not only for the legal protection you will need but also for one of the most important lessons we are learning about in this journey…
” BLUE MAGIC ® is a brand name; as much a brand name as Pepsi. I own it. I stand behind it. I guarantee it, and people know that even if they don’t know me more than they know the chairman of General Mills.”
Need I say more?
Denzel is feeding us marketing diamonds that most of you fail to pick up. You may have designed the most efficient product that can solve problems men have been attempting to address for years, but listen very carefully when I tell you this does not mean a damn thing if you do not adequately market it. Stand behind your brand as Denzel does. Hold it to the highest standard and ensure to police it whenever you face “trademark infringement.”
Now, class: I believe I’ve given you much more than you can contemplate in one sitting. While I will forever maintain that this movie contains excellent lessons for anybody who intends to be an entrepreneur, I am also not psychotic. View day one of class as one powerful analogy to open your eyes to the essential lessons you must learn to be successful.
MY MAN. Get to work.