Sam Adams inventor Jim Koch has been brewing up good beer -- and a mighty fortune -- ever since he decided to take his THREE Harvard degrees and hop into the hops biz. The Harvard MBA has been helpful, and that Harvard law degree sometimes aids in complex matters that come with being a billionaire. But when he first started Boston Beer, his award-winning company, Koch was prepared for almost everything -- except how to sell it. And that's the one thing every business needs -- someone who can sell it.
Talking at a CNBC-sponsored conference recently, Koch revealed how he got up to speed on the sales game. He found a book called How To Master The Art of Selling by Tom Hopkins. It not only taught him technique, he said, but it helped Koch understand something critical to his later success -- that selling is a noble endeavor, despite persistent stereotypes of salespeople being always on the make. Instead, as a salesperson, you must understand that "you are helping the customer achieve their objectives," Koch says. It was a revelation for Koch as he left the Ivory Tower to inhabit untold numbers of local saloons. And it worked.
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