TL;DR – Lots to learn from the veteran getai singer cum recovering problem gambler who’s created a second career peak after 75 days straight of zero income.
Over 1.2 million views with more than 30,000 shares in less than 24 hours.
Yeps, this interview clip is clearly one of the most viral contents in recent days. Why are Singaporeans so fascinated with this veteran-getai-singer-turned-fish-selling-bro, Wang Lei (王雷)?
In the past, he’s mostly known in the getai (歌台) circuit. Some people really love him, for how intimately and deeply connected to the ground he is, very “grassroots” (in the non-PAP way, hurhur).
And some of us may have caught him in some local movies or even watched his gamble-habit-kicking video.
Yes, Wang Lei is a recovering problem gambler who turned over a new leaf at the age of 52 with the support from his family.
But these days, Wang Lei is not only extremely popular in Singapore, he’s also very hot property in Malaysia and even China WTF.
All cos he started to turn to live selling on Facebook when the COVID-19 pandemic put a stop to all the physical getai activities as well as all sorts of shows and events that might have engaged him as host.
I had a quick look at one of his recent Facebook live selling videos, and OMGGG, it commanded some 350,000 views.
Even more pops than S-hook zehzeh liao, surely.
Here are the 9 lessons!
The pandemic has affected the whole economy. The magnitude of the impact is global, and of course, has also affected the getai industry negatively.
Wang Lei shared that his last getai show was on 4th February, and for a total of 75 days, he had zero income.
Yeps, he emphasised the zero income, not even a dollar came in.
Lesson 1: COVID-19 is a global pandemic. Nobody is spared.
With the rules around large scale events and the subsequent circuit breaker measures that saw most Singaporeans staying home, Wang Lei was already doing Facebook Live (FB Live) videos then.
Back then, Wang Lei’s live chats were only for chatting and mostly “rubbish” (废话), and not many people were following and watching his FB Live.
Then he ran into his kelong friend who was lamenting about how COVID-19 had affected his business to the extent that he could not hold out anymore, and was seriously considering freeing all the fish back into the sea if there’s still no or low activities for another two months.
The kelong friend then suggested Wang Lei help to promote and sell his fish on his FB Live.
Wang Lei was at first skeptical about the idea, and also not really confident since he did not have high viewership online. But he decided to just try.
In his own words, 好啦，敢敢跟他冲啦! What did he have to lose from trying, right?
Lesson 2: Very few people are truly confident when they’re starting out. We all need to grow thicker skin and just chiong.
Even the biggest brands and hottest influencers had a first day too. Very few brands and people are famous and enjoy huge following from the get go. Most start from a small base, work diligently at it and grow.
Likewise, Wang Lei started to see 6,000 views grow to 8,000…
He was already super happy when he saw he had 10-000-strong audience. He had thought it’s record-breaking already.
It continued to grow and hit 30,000 in less than a month of his FB Live selling. And it just kept growing.
When it hit 62,000, Wang Lei thought to himself WHOA, that’s like 6 times the size of our indoor stadium!
Lesson 3: It’s OK to start from ground zero. Even the most successful CEO had a first day at work.
Wang Lei started off FB Live selling to help his kelong friend and did not earn from his first three to four rounds.
But as he started to see hundreds of sales from each FB Live selling, he started to see the opportunity. That was when he discussed with his wife and they decided to start taking in products to do their own FB Live selling.
Keep your eyes and ears open, and don’t miss out on opportunities. 危机转成商机
Like during this period, Singaporeans are cooped up at home and many turn to online entertainment to kill time. So there, opportunity’s there. If you have a good product/service and you’ve great salesmanship, you can actually get a captive audience.
Lesson 4: Opportunities are everywhere. Even in a crisis, not every trade dies, some can thrive.
In the interview, Wang Lei marvelled at the power of digital technology and connectivity.
When he first started FB Live selling, he and his family were manually copying down order details, names and addresses by hand.
Each time the FB Live ended at 10ish at night, they would spend hours doing this, order by order. The first time, Wang Lei and his wife copied until 5 in the morning.
Subsequently, they enlisted the help of their two children, but still, they only finished at 7 in the morning. Even his children asked to be let off from the frightfully manual chore.
Eventually Wang Lei roped in the help of his son and his nephew who’s in computing and the two helped him build an online ordering system. That’s the real game-changer.
Wang Lei said they no longer had to do the tedious copying with the new system.
Now, in a matter of seconds, orders could be sent to them, complete with the necessary details. He did not use Paynow or Paylah before, but now he’s totally captivated by the magic of how payment can be made so instantaneously and conveniently over phones.
What’s even better was how with the online shopping system, his customers would then be exposed to the other items he’s also carrying and yes, cross-selling and up-selling can happen online too!
He gave this example: A customer got interested to order Package A from Wang Lei’s FB Live selling, got to the online page to order and saw the other items available for sale. Since he liked codfish, he easily added an a la carte order of codfish to his Package A. Very good!
Lesson 5: Go digital to transform lives!
Another important lesson Wang Lei’s taught us is about professionalism.
In case you think he just goes FB Live to sell fish with dirty jokes and vulgarities, stop there. In the video, Wang Lei revealed that he does his homework before his FB Live sessions!
He was talking about how as a senior Singaporean caught in this pandemic, he’s learnt to use his handphone better.
Other than learning how to use his smartphone to download apps, he’s also learnt to Google for things.
Before his FB Live selling, he would go online to search for information about the particular types of fish or whatever it is that he’s selling, you know, to gain as much knowledge as he can about his products.
This helps a lot when he has to answer questions. It clarifies things for his prospective customers, and it also builds credibility for him. Very good.
Lesson 6: You must know your products inside out in order to be able to use knowledge appropriately in your sales conversations. Be a professional and be fluent in your own product!
Heard of the saying, survival of the fittest (适者生存)?
It’s a term made famous in Charles Darwin’s book, On the Origin of Species. Darwin suggested that organisms best adjusted to their environment are the most successful in surviving and reproducing. It’s about adjusting and adapting.
Only people who are sensitive to changes in their environment and are able to adjust to adapt to the ever-changing environment will survive.
Just like how Wang Lei did.
After 75 days of zero income, instead of ranting about the situation or griping about how the Government’s measures are killing livelihoods, he chose to look out for other ways to survive.
On top of the e-getai that he’s been doing every week under the SGUnited initiative, he started to experiment with FB Live selling which bore fruit for him.
Was he confident in the beginning? No. Did he know much about FB Live selling in the beginning? No. Did he know anything about fish and all in the beginning? No. Did he know how online transactions and Paynow work in the beginning? No.
Did the fact that Government is helping Singaporeans with various grants and schemes stop him from trying to find new ways to generate income? No.
But did all these stop him? No.
Lesson 7: Don’t stand in our own way of adjusting to fit the environment. We must find our own ways to surive.
Even in a pandemic or a crisis, or both in the COVID-19 case, there’s still some positive vibes or silver lining if we look hard enough.
Wang Lei reminded us all of how during this period, families are made to stay home and spend time with one another.
Think of pre-COVID-19 days. How often did grown-up children go home to eat with their parents? How often did husbands sit by their wives to catch their fave TV shows together? How often did kids sit next to their dads to watch Wang Lei sell fish on Facebook?
While the pandemic is not something we’d wish upon our worst enemies, but we can still try to make the best of the situation by really spending quality time with our loved ones during this time.
Lesson 8: Family is love.
Singaporeans ask the stupidest/cutest/lamest questions on Wang Lei’s FB Live!
- Is the fish male or female?
- Does your prawn wear shoes?
- Can the fish be freed back to the sea?
- Has the fish eaten?
- Can the prawns lie down?
- How old is the fish?
- How many legs does your prawn have?
- Does sea cucumber have eyes?
- Can your mushroom talk?
- Is the chicken from Geylang?
- What kind of chicken does not have feather?
Lesson 9: If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.