We all have Ravana within us!!! Yes we do
We all have learnt valuable business lessons, management lessons and a plethora of life lessons from the lives of Lord Rama, Sita, Hanuman. Lessons that passed over generations. But have you ever wondered if the greatest villain of all time Ravana too has got his fair share of lessons that we can learn from?
B2B sales is my Karma Bhoomi and I like to learn life lessons and apply them to B2B sales. After researching about Ravana extensively for writing this blog. I believe this negative character teaches us many life lessons which can be applied to B2B sales to be successful. Now you must be wondering what a character who is infamous for his negative traits could perhaps teach us!
Let us delve deeper into the traits of someone as evil as Ravana and find out how his life could teach us to be successful in sales.
THE LIFE LESSONS RAVANA TAUGHT US
1. Ravana’s Leadership
Valmiki recognized Ravana as an exceptionally proficient and just ruler.
Ravana won the battle against the demon king Sumali which gave him control of Lanka and was titled ‘Lanka Naresh’. Under his leadership, the kingdom came to be known as ‘Sone ki Lanka’ (kingdom of gold) and witnessed the most prosperous and magnanimous period in history.
He was a ruler who cared for his people. Ravana was an able administrator and it is said that even the poorest of people in his land had gold utensils and were not poverty-stricken.
Leadership is one pertinent life lesson we can learn from Ravana. If you are a sales professional in B2B sales you need to demonstrate leadership qualities to win sales opportunities.
Many times you work with large teams at your end and at the customer’s end. Where you need to take up a leaders role even if you are not officially titled one. As a leader, to win a sales opportunity you need to facilitate and guide everyone to achieve a common goal of customer success.
In complex large B2B sales opportunities, your strength lies in your team’s ability to deliver the value that customer is looking for. Similar to how a king’s success in war depends on how good his soldiers and lieutenant perform.
So how well you lead your team becomes imperative to your success.
Ravana demonstrated brilliant peoples leadership qualities which we all can learn from.
2. Ravana’s Patience
Ravana was a patient ruler. He was not like any other ordinary person, who is anxious to get instant results or instant gratification with minimum efforts
It is mentioned in mythology books. To acquire special blessings from Lord Brahma he meditated not for days, weeks months but for 10,000 years. Ravana ate nothing for ten thousand years. At the end of every thousand years, he offered one of his heads as an offering into the fire.
Nine thousand years passed in this way and Ravana offered nine of his heads into the fire. Ravana decided to cut off his tenth head at the end of ten thousand years. His patience eventually paid off and Brahma arrived with the other gods before Ravana.
Brahma was extremely pleased with Ravana’s patience and dedication. He used his power and restored the nine heads of Ravana. He then gave him a boon of immortal life and protection from the wrath of divine beings except for humans
Sales is a time-bound goal-oriented profession.
In B2B sales, sales professionals are expected to close deals every week, every month, every quarter depending from organisation to organisation.
These expectations at times can result in desperation to close the deal in a stipulated time. If the deal doesn’t come in that time it leads to pressure, anxiety or even stress.
As a salesperson, you shouldn’t forget that you are just a facilitator & influencer of the deal. You have your limits to what you can do to close a deal. So even if you put the best of your knowledge and skills to use there are things that are beyond your control.
That’s where you need to be patient, however, having patience doesn’t mean you are complacent. It doesn’t mean you are not going to work hard to achieve your goals. It means you accept current circumstances, you have empathy towards your customer and you are not hard on yourself.
Patience gives you the ability to look at your entire sales approach strategically and of course correct wherever needed. Having patience keeps you calm and thoughtful about your actions.
At times closing a deal feels like winning a war and unknowingly it makes your customers or competition look like your enemies. But practising patience makes winning the deal look like reaching a mountain peak. When you want to reach a mountain peak, the only person you need to win over is yourself.
Like Ravana, if you continue on your path patiently and stay focused on the ultimate goal.
Eventually, it will pay off like it paid off for Ravana and nothing can stop you from being victorious.
3. Ravana was Continuously Learning
While Ravana was aggressive and arrogant, he was also an extraordinary scholar and connoisseur of arts. Ravana was the master of many sciences. He was well versed with Ayurveda, Tantravidhya( Science of Optical Illusion), Astrology, and a master of 64 arts.
He authored Ravana Samhita which talks about the science of Ayurveda. His ten heads represent his knowledge of the six Shastras and the four Vedas. Under his father’s guidance, he mastered the Vedas, the holy books and also the ways of Kshatriyas (warriors). He was also a master at playing the Veena.
B2B Sales is the science of dealing with people to solve their business problems. In sales, how much ever you learn it’s not enough. You need to continuously learn and keep yourself updated because each of your customers is unique and their problems are unique.
Businesses also keep transforming with every new innovation. So to be successful in this profession you can never claim you know it all, you always need to keep yourself updated to stay relevant and be employable.
Similar to Ravana who despite being such a learned person never gave up learning and kept updating his skills and knowledge. This is a crucial lesson one can learn from the life of Ravana.
How much ever you know you should choose a path of lifelong learning to stay relevant.
4. Ravana underestimated his enemies/competition
When Ravan asked for a boon from Brahma he asked for immortality from Daityas, Danavas, rakshasas and gods except for humans and Vanars. Ravana did not pay any heed to the prowess of humans and Vanars. He was too arrogant to think of them as weak and inferior, which led to his downfall.
When his brother Vibhishan and his wife Mandodri tried to convince him that he cant withstand the force of Ram’s arrow, he did not pay attention to them at all. He remained convinced of his power even when Lord Hanuman single-handedly burnt Lanka and killed his son Akshay.
Ravana became blind to the reality that his power was slowly falling apart and he was heading for defeat in the hands of Lord Ram. This shows that he valued his ego above everything else – even above his kingdom, warriors and his own family.
I have always questioned myself, what would have led to the invention of sales as a profession. The only reason that comes to my mind is the existence of competition.
Salespeople are required by any business so it can prevent losing the prospective business to the competition. Competition is one of our teacher. They keep us on our toes, they challenge us. They force us to constantly learn and create value for our customers.
So if we take our competitors for granted chances are we may not focus on important virtues they push us to adopt so we stay ahead of them.
If we don’t adopt these virtues we may not create value for our customers and soon be out of business.
Similar to how Ravana lost everything just because he underestimated his competition.
5. Importance of values – Integrity
Despite possessing numerous qualities and strengths, the one thing that this powerful and mighty King missed was an essential value of integrity.
His lust made him kidnap Sita which was the main reason he lost all that he built in his lifetime.
The corporate world is filled with examples of Intelligent people who lost their entire wealth and fame because they didn’t possess the right values.
Sales is an extremely rewarding profession. However, at times the want to attain rewards makes some people compromise their values.
In the short run, this might be rewarding but in long term, it leads to downfall and you might lose your credibility and trustworthiness.
Customers work with salespeople because they consider them trustworthy and you cant be a trustworthy person if you don’t possess values of integrity. In sales each day you would face a brand new situation, a different predicament and a fresh challenge.
So thinking about these challenges as a learning and problem-solving opportunity and not compromising on your values, is what makes you a good salesperson.
Ravana, despite being a villain, a demon, someone who is still burnt after all these years, teaches us valuable life lessons. Burning of Ravana, every Dussehra signifies the victory of good over evil.
If you want to stay ahead in your game, then this Dussehra embrace his positive traits and burn down his negative qualities within you.
Wishing you a very Happy Dusshera!
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