Customer Success

Jack Ma’s Top 9 Rules For Success | Why You Should Listen To Your Customers

Photo credits: Frederic Legrand – COMEO / and feelphoto /

Remember the gut wrenching heartache you felt the moment you realized you gave up on your goal too soon? That if you’d persisted, you would have reached success?

I know the feeling. It’s like the analogy where you’ve been drilling for oil for several months. You’re tired and disappointed, so you give up. But if you had just kept going for one more hour, you would have struck it rich.

Jack Ma, founder of Alibaba and now billionaire, always believed that today is hard, but giving up is not the answer. “If you give up tomorrow, you will never see the sunshine.” Those are wise words that apply to life in general, but especially true in business if you want to be successful with your customers.

I don’t follow too many other entrepreneurs, but Jack Ma is definitely one of a handful that I look up to because of how much his wisdom resonates with me. I have probably read every single book written by or about Jack Ma.

Maybe it’s his poor, English teacher background – I’ve always found him to be very compelling and persuasive. He’s also a very articulate public speaker and visionary. As a global educator, I can relate to his teacher’s heart.

Success is not easy to achieve, and both Jack Ma and I have been down that road to prove it. We can’t make your journey any shorter or any less difficult, but we can share Jack Ma’s nine rules of success to give you an advantage in business and in life.

Watch this video about Jack Ma’s nine rules of success.

1. Think Outside The Box

Let’s start with how people like to perceive you. They like to label you. So if you don’t make sense to them, they think you’re crazy.

When I was younger, people thought I was crazy because of my outside-of-the-box thinking and teaching style. People thought of Jack the same way when he came up with Alipay, an online payment platform.

When you don’t make sense to others, you’re a lunatic, but when you’re successful, they give you a different name. They call you eccentric and innovative because when you’re successful, all your ideas are validated.

Jack believes that being crazy is good. Why? Because Jack says that, “If everyone agrees with me and if everybody believes in our idea is good – we will have no chance.”

You wouldn’t be the one standing out from the crowd. If everyone thought the same way, you would all blend in together and succeed and fail together.

So what can you do to stand out and be innovative and be a little crazy? Jack teaches us to “Focus on the user.” As long as you’re focusing on the customer and they love what you’re doing, that’s all that matters.

2. Seek Opportunities Before Anyone Else

When it comes to opportunities, I do believe they are everywhere.

As an entrepreneur, we create our own opportunities but to be a good entrepreneur and visionary, you must see the opportunities before anyone else. You don’t want your competitors to see your vision.

I’m talking about the Blue Ocean. In business, you’ve found a Blue Ocean when you don’t have competitors and you’re the only one offering what you offer in your market.

When Jack Ma’s company Taobao became a market leader in the Chinese market, eBay withdrew from China. EBay, the competition, was like the shark fighting and making the ocean red. When competitors are gone, there is no more fighting, no more red. When they are gone, the ocean is clear and blue.

For me, founding the High-Ticket Closing program was a Blue Ocean. I offered a premium prices sales program that was new to the marketplace.

When you can create a Blue Ocean opportunity, you will have found something ahead of your competitors. To do that, identify what it is that no one else is offering and take advantage of it before anyone else.

3. Hire Women

Jack Ma’s secret to making a company excellent is to hire women. Almost 47% of the employees at his company are female. I strongly agree with this secret to success.

All of the bad business partnerships I’ve had in the past were all with men. All the ones where I’ve been successful were all with women. I wouldn’t be where I am today without my wife Jennie.

Really, it’s women who have all the major buying power. If a man wants to buy a new house, he has to talk to the wife. If he wants to buy a new car, he has to talk to the wife. Even if the husband is the one bringing in the money, it’s the wife that makes the buying decision.

In closing, in sales, I teach my students to sell to the wife. If the husband can’t move forward, he needs the wife to say yes. If the wife says yes, then it’s a done deal.

4. Think Bigger And Create An Ecosystem

Jack Ma believes that when you have a couple million dollars, that money belongs to you. But when you have one billion dollars, that money doesn’t belong to you anymore. When you have that much wealth, you have a social responsibility to other people.

He believed that when you have that much wealth, you can create a global economy, one ecosystem where people can buy and sell, make payments, and travel using one global system. We could create an economy that would generate 100,000,000 jobs in the world.

His way of thinking inspired how I set my own business goals. I started small, and kept dreaming bigger and bigger.

At the beginning of my career, I started my business because I wanted to support my mom. Once I had enough income coming in, I was able to support my mom, my family, and myself. At the next stage, I improved my lifestyle with a better car and a better house.

Once I accomplished that, I went on to larger goals. I started solving bigger problems while building my organization and my team. Then it wasn’t just Dan Lok organization, it became the students that benefited from my programs and services.

Over time, I was building an ecosystem where I was helping not just myself but the people around me to create opportunities, a better lifestyle, and more abundance for others.

Like Jack Ma, I was learning to think bigger, beyond my own needs and my own family’s needs. I was thinking at a global level.

Apple has created an ecosystem with its products. The information from our lives is integrated with the cloud.


5. Business Is A Team Sport

Business is not a sport that you play on your own. It doesn’t matter how talented you are.

As a leader, it’s not about you doing all the work. It’s about you having the vision, figuring out what the are most important critical drivers within your business, and then finding the team members that can execute your vision and turn that into reality.

Choosing the right team member is critical to your success. Jack Ma said that you should choose the right person for the job. If you don’t know technology, hire the best technician. If you don’t know finance, hire the expert.

6. Work With Small Businesses

Just like a business isn’t something you can build on your own, success isn’t something you can reach on your own. If you help others, then you will also rise up.

Jack Ma says, “I believe small is beautiful. We can use the internet to help the small guys. If you can help others to be successful, then you will be successful.”

I’ve approached building my business in that way. I’ve made most of my money serving small businesses, clients, and my students. Only a small percentage of my wealth is from big companies. The majority of my wealth is from small businesses.

As Jack Ma said, “In this world, if you want to win in the 21st century, you have to be making sure that you are making other people become powerful, empower others; making sure the other people are better than you are, then you will be successful.”

7. Traditional Education Is Important But Not Everything

Jack Ma advises us, “Don’t hire people because of which school they are from. Hire because of their learning spirit.”

I absolutely agree with this approach because within my company, we never hire based on resumes. Actually no one has ever submitted a resume! We look at your attitude, your culture fit, and what talents you can bring to the table.

Skills are something we can develop and train, but attitude and company culture are number one. It doesn’t matter if they have an MBA. I never went to university.

What matters is your learning spirit, the fighting spirit, the hunger. Any skill, if someone wants it badly enough, they can develop, but I cannot teach them culture. I cannot teach them to share the same values and beliefs that my company has. I cannot teach them the desire to succeed.

8. Focus On Value, Mission, And Value Training

Jack Ma taught values, the mission, and professionalism. After that, his company got more managers and leaders than other startups. With that change, his company started to do better because he believes it’s about creating value for others.

Technology might change. Your product might change. Your service might change. But if you have the right people, the right culture, you can work together as a team, and you can innovate. So it’s definitely people driven and customer centered.

When you are focused on the customer, on the people, and your team, that’s what makes the company grow. That’s what makes the company stay and sustain the growth.

9. Follow The Customer To Business Model

Of all of Jack Ma’s rules for success, is the most important tip of all.

You may have heard of B2C and B2B, but Jack Ma believes the future of ecommerce is C2B, consumer to business, because we have a large number of consumers. The focus won’t be on businesses to customers (B2C) or business to business (B2B), but the power of the customer.

They can ask for things to be tailor made on a large scale, and businesses will need to addresses their demands because consumers are now more demanding than ever.

They want to consume content exactly how they want, where they want, from whatever technology that they want. For example, they may want to watch a show without interruption. Or they want the option to watch a show from their iPad, their iPhone, not just their TV.

They want to buy and consume on their own terms and organizations need to be able to fulfill that need.

The model of “this is what we have and you should buy some” won’t work anymore.

Even Coca Cola has personalized bottles with people’s first names as one of their campaigns. Consumers made demands, and the largest companies are listening. They are custom tailoring to the needs of their customers.

Summary: Jack Ma’s Top 9 Rules For Success

If you want to be successful, never get too comfortable. Always be thinking outside the box, looking for new opportunities that will keep you in a Blue Ocean. Business is a team sport, one that you cannot play on your own. So work with small businesses and focus on creating value. And most importantly, listen to your customers and their needs. It’s your responsibility.

Which of Jack Ma’s rules for success do you like the most? Comment below.


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