Wallace Lim Tuan Jin shares his struggles and success as Coway Malaysia’s Senior Sales General Manager with BusinessToday
When the going gets tough, the tough gets going. The saying matches well with Senior Sales General Manager of Coway Malaysia, Wallace Lim Tuan Jin, where he now leads the sales force of around 11,000 people in Coway Malaysia.
Wallace’s journey to become the person he is today was not an easy one. Hailing from a middle-class family, he shares his story of struggle and success with BusinessToday.
“When I was young, my dad brought us to have a meal at a fast food restaurant. Fast food restaurants were very rare back then and considered expensive. It was then I started to think about repaying my parents and to make life easier for my family,” he says.
The Mechanical Engineering major tried multiple jobs as a tutor, a ‘kuih’ vendor, an office boy in an architectural company bearing the strong pungent smell of ammonia in the printing room, an operator in a factory where he had to work 24 hours in order to earn extra, as well as joining a Multi-level marketing (MLM) company as a salesperson as his study loan was not enough to cover his living expenses.
“I didn’t want to burden my parents who were living in Penang.”
While juggling both his studies and job, Wallace managed to recruit up to 3,000 members, including some lecturers to join his sales team. At the young age of 23, he got a branded car. Unfortunately, the MLM business did not go well, and he accumulated a debt of RM100, 000 as he graduated.
“I always joked with my friends that I went from ‘Jurutera’ (Engineer) to become a ‘Jurujual’ (Salesperson),” he says.
Wallace then found himself in Coway Malaysia in 2007 as a Health Planner (sales agent). “I could have started off at Coway as a sales manager with my past experiences and the team members that I have brought along with me.
However, I decided to start from the very fundamental level as a Health Planner, to master the know-how of sales for the products as well as to experience by myself if Coway Malaysia is able to provide a fast, stable and promising income to the salesperson if we are determined and willing to work hard, this is the most important aspect of a company for me,” says Wallace.
His parents were against his career move and had to be negotiated with to grant him a year to prove himself.
“I worked very hard, went on duty at countless malls, roadshows and door-to-door sales from early morning until late night every day. Approached so many customers but to no avail. Many customers made empty promises which made me feel very sad and discouraged.
It was a challenging time, however, with the will to change my living condition and also my family’s life; I did not want to give up so easily,” he adds.
The first few months were pretty challenging for Wallace but in the 4th month, he got the hang of it and decided to challenge himself to sell one Coway product each day. He would not go home if sales were not made.
“I couldn’t even afford to add a sunny-side-up egg to my meal, felt so anxious about having to pay toll charges every time I passed through highway tolls in KL. A friend allowed me to sleep in his living room, for 4 months, as I didn’t have money to pay rent,” Wallace shares with BusinessToday.
ROAD TO SUCCESS
Wallace was turned down 74 times before successfully closing his first sale the 75th time – proving once again that hard work and determination pays off.
Besides successfully closing his first sale, Wallace also met the love of his life, someone he now calls his wife. He says that it has taught him to keep trying and to keep going as there will be unexpected turns.
At one time where he did not manage to get sales despite meeting people throughout the day, a lady invited him to her restaurant to have a rest and a glass of water. After a long wait, Wallace stayed patient and respectful, he shared details and features of Coway’s product with the lady and restaurant owner, he then finally managed to close his 30th sale for that month.
HOW COWAY CHANGED MY LIFE
“Coway’s top management and the team are very supportive. They believe in teamwork, care, and respect for each other, and to always support each other to be the better version of yourself. This eventually gives way to positive growth and the ability to empower others,” he says.
For a Coway’s sales agent, when you are promoted to managerial level, you get to enjoy both EPF and SOCSO. Which was another reason why Wallace’s parents agreed for him to join Coway Malaysia.
He managed to clear his debts during his 1st year in the company, and bought his first landed house during his 2nd which was then sold at a price that doubled its purchase price shortly after. Wallace had gone on to buy a house and a car for his parents when he was in his 3rd year with Coway and eventually started to invest in residential and commercial properties by the end of his 4th year.
As he promised his parents, Wallace worked towards his goal and within the same year, he was promoted to become a Sales Manager then shortly after that, he became a Senior Sales Manager.
Coway’s healthy and fair payout system allows not only the sales managers to benefit, but beginners (Health Planners) too. They are able to enjoy a promising income as well.
“Coway basically encourages the four types of income mentioned in the book ‘Rich Dad, Poor Dad’, ESBI: Employee, Self Employed, Business, and Investor,” Wallace highlights. He goes on to share that Coway has helped so many people from all walks of life.
“Some were teachers, cleaners, people who once declared bankrupt or youngsters with very good attitude but couldn’t get proper education due to family backgrounds. However, they all have one thing in common, the strong will to change and provide a better life to their loved ones.”
“I want to touch more people’s lives, connect the disconnected,” he adds.
Notably, the company has also produced more than 200 millionaires within the short span of four years, from 2015 to 2019. During this four years, Coway Malaysia’s annual sales revenue has grown from RM200 million to RM1.5 billion.
Wallace and the team envision to build a 100-year company, “rental subscription business and healthy lifestyle are the future trends. The health-conscious community is rising and the demand for affordable health-related products and services are growing rapidly as well. We will continue to bring innovative and affordable health solutions to more people.”
ADVICE TO THE UPCOMING GENERATION
Wallace emphasises on the growth mindset (fighter) versus the fixed mindset (survivor). “It will be slightly more difficult for people with a fixed mindset to adapt to Coway or any MLM companies as a sales agent.
‘Sales’ is the key business unit to bring revenue back to any company. It might be tough but if you like to connect with people, bring values into their lives, it would be a very meaningful and rewarding profession. If one is willing to learn from their mistakes, commit to working hard with a growth mindset, nothing will stand in your way to success. Never give up easily, you will never know the gift you will stumble upon.”
Besides passion, integrity, and self-discipline, Wallace also focuses on the eagerness to learn. He feels one should be willing to go the extra mile, be goal-oriented and push themselves forward. From good to great, there is still so much space for improvement. He also encourages gratitude and to constantly respect both parents and family. “Do not forget about your parents and loved ones. Be bold to take your first step, the choices you make today can change your life.”
“Last but not least, I have proven it with my own experience, that it is possible to close one sale per day, and that the foundation of the sales team can earn a 5-figure income,” he says. He recalls his first commission at Coway and says it was a very emotional day for him. “My bank account balance went from a 2-digit number to 5-digits. I truly believe that with the right attitude, continuous actions, and ability; we can achieve greater heights,” he concludes.