Monday, October 02, 2006

If you're in business for yourself, you're in the sales business

I got this piece of advice from a consultant friend I know. He's my hero, as he's been in business for himself for more than three years. The same advice holds if you own a law firm, a child-care service, even a startup IT business. You're in the sales business, too.

No customers, no business. While your prowess in your chosen field is critically important to your success, unless you can convert that prowess into sales (whether that be click-throughs, contracts, software sales or even venture funding), you will be working for someone else again in a hurry.

This is important because most all people who start their own companies are not sales professionals. They are web programmers, bioresearchers, students, moms. In many cases, they consider themselves "above" selling.

Don't get caught in that trap. When you're a startup, you must stay humble. No job is beneath you--especially not selling. And if you're the top person, you have what my father-in-law (who owned his own law firm for twenty years) calls the "fear factor." If it's your company, and you don't make sales, your family doesn't eat. That fear can help you make that difficult phone call or customer visit. It can make you ask a prospect for the business.

Getting a group of customers (whether that be one, ten or ten million) to use your service or product is the single most important factor to ensure success. If you don't think you're a salesperson, think again. Then go get some tools--they are everywhere. The "Landing the Deal" blog is a good place to start.

End of today's lecture. Go out and sell!

, ,