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Lemonis Touts Vulnerability As Key To Success

In the first five minutes of his keynote at ASI Orlando this morning, Marcus Lemonis shared details about himself that the public simply doesn’t know. “You don’t hear this stuff on my show, you won’t read about it in interviews I do, but this is who I am,” he said. “I was fat as a kid. I was bullied. I had an eating disorder. I was molested by a relative. I’m telling you all this because my number one asset is vulnerability. It is the key to success.”

Lemonis, the star of the CNBC series The Profit and the chairman of RV-servicer Camping World, then spent the next 45 minutes asking people in the audience to talk about their own vulnerabilities, challenges and fears. His goal was straightforward: to get attendees to be their true selves, and in turn, be better at relating to and connecting with others – especially co-workers and customers. “It’s OK if people know the truth about you,” he said. “You need to get comfortable with being yourself and doing it at the risk of being criticized.”

Lemonis went on to stress relationships. “People are the most important thing,” he said. “Your responsibility as a person and as a business owner is to help people find their way even if it doesn’t benefit you.” Lemonis gave specific advice to one person in the audience who was frustrated by an employee who could be doing more. “Go back and say you want to start over,” Lemonis said. “Say that you’re taking 100% responsibility for the way you feel. Take that person out to lunch and say ‘this might not be for you, but I really, really want it to be.’”

Empathizing with the audience, Lemonis also admitted that being a salesperson is “one of the hardest jobs you can have. You have to stomach rejection.” But, Lemonis said, if you can truly connect with customers, “people will, for the most part, stop shopping on pennies.” He closed with this: “If you can be more human and more vulnerable, I’m telling you that you will do more business.”

Counselor caught up with Lemonis this morning for an exclusive interview. Click here to watch.