The story of how Jules White discovered that the secret to sales lies in understanding the uniqueness of people – and in going against the grain.
When Jules was a small girl, she lived with her family above the local sweet shop that her father ran. This was a hub; a community of people that her father cultivated over the course of many years. Jules’ father was a salesman, of course, but more than that he taught his daughter the value of human relationships. It was ingrained in Jules from her very first years, and since her father’s passing, the stories from life in and above that sweet shop has become an increasingly important aspect of Jules’ own narrative. Incidentally, it also plays the lead in her earliest memory.
When my father ran the sweet shop, we lived in the maisonette, which was above the shop – we went up some steps at the back of the shop and we were home. So it was like a two-storey house on top of the shop. And I remember coming downstairs on my birthday, going into the lounge, and in the middle of the room was a red chair. A little square, red chair, which had a little pull function that played the lullaby ‘Go to Sleep’. And that’s my first memory; this chair that was such a big part of my life. I would sit in it and it was just mine.
Today, Jules is a sought-after sales speaker, coach and online community builder, with thousands of stories – hers and others’ – under the belt. She has always been a sales professional, and her arguably most famous narrative (which she told at Tedx Brighton) is the one about how she went on Dragon’s Den with her business Truly Madly Baby. The deal, which was presented as a success on the show, fell through. She had bad luck with the investor that eventually came onboard – and she eventually lost her business. Her mother and father both passed away in a parallel time frame. She experienced loss after loss after loss. The red thread throughout her life is what Jules refers to as her bouncebackability. And within this quality lies an inherent ability to own her story; to learn from it, and to use it as her superpower.
I think stories are important because they connect us; they are a connecting element. When you hear a story that’s familiar to you, a similar story to the one you’ve had, the story that actually feels really lovely, potentially a feeling that stokes pain – all of those emotional parts of the story are how we connect as humans. I think it’s actually quite a physical thing. You know, we release hormones when we hear stories. The physical things that happen to us when we hear stories is fascinating – and, I think, why stories make us so connected as humans.
Empathy lies at the heart of Jules’ work today. In fact, it always has – and it proved to be the reason she was so successful in sales. More often than not, she didn’t do what she’d been told to do in her sales training and courses – instead, she entered her sales from a perspective of understanding. Of trying to really get under the skin of the human standing in front of her. And being honest about the value whatever it was she was selling could bring them. For a long time, this made Jules think she didn’t like sales at all, until she realised that when you actually love your customers, selling stops being a process of sales – and starts being a process of building relationships.
Live It Love It Sell It is this philosophy manifested into practice. Every single thing Jules does, whether it’s speaking at TEDx Brighton, running her High Street online membership, or mentoring professionals who need a more holistic and authentic approach to sales, is an embodiment of her values. Of her unique stories.
Your stories often change your life. Like with my Dragons’ Den story, where I had this great business and I literally lost it overnight. The feeling of loss and dealing with that has been very impactful (…) I think what’s really interesting about (your stories) is how (the experiences) define you. I don’t mean as in you live by it forever, but I think it changes how you see the world when certain things happen to you.
This is what Jules refers to as your UHP – Unique Human Proposition®. The notion that your stories are actually your superpower, because they are truly and authentically yours. This means that when you use them purposefully as a foundation for your business – and for your sales – you wind up creating human connection that is true. And because people buy from people, this has been one of the biggest realisations of Jules’ sales career.
If you’re in front of consumers enough, with stories, with that whole personal brand, your why, what you stand for, who you are – and that’s consistent and authentic – then you’re selling. This is the new sales. Then you get on the shortlist and then people want to talk to you. You need to be way ahead of the game now, and market yourself, and stories are just the most wonderful ways to do that. Whether it’s your own stories, metaphors, stories of customers, opinions. Those are the things that are the most powerful – and they’re all stories.