Shoe Dog is a memoir of Knight building the world famous Nike empire. The story begins with Knight traveling around the world as he pursues his business school idea of working on exporting Japanese running shoes to the USA. The story not only reflects on his time of running the retail giant but also around his time as a father, son and husband.
His journey starts with his initial supplier of shoes at Onitsuka Tiger, a Japanese shoe company. They agreed to send him samples of their shoes so that he could sell them on the West Coast of America. Knight started selling them and partnered with Bob Bowerman, his Oregon track coach, who play around with numerous shoe designs. Bowerman later went on to create many iconic designs such as the waffle shoes that Nike sold.
Knights book displays three key themes:
- If you’re young, go for broke as there is less to loose
- Get a mentor and partner on board i.e. Bowerman
- Don’t boss other people into doing things. Let them do their thing.
How this relates to sales: Knights passion was around sports and he wanted to be successful but also having fun doing it. I have seen numerous reps in the sales world as well as the profession world at large that have been incredibly talented but do not want to continue because they do not feel passionate about that endeavor. The true successful sales people are the one that are curios like Knight. Knight not only created his thesis on running shoes but had the balls to go to Japan and pitch the idea to execs. How does this relate to you? When you hear a good line, use it. A unique way of delivering the value prop you heard on an all hands call? Follow up with that seller.
Knight was willing to go for broker on his venture and that is what ultimately led him to success. When things aren’t working and your quota is missed it is an opportunity to get better and re evaluate. Take Knights attitude and have a ‘no matter what’ mindset and you will come out on top.
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