Small Business Advice
Nothing happens until a sale is made
Q: I have developed a unique software package that will be a hit if I can just find a way to locate and convince the client of its value to their operation. However sales and marketing are not my strong suits. What can you suggest?
A: It was Thomas Watson, Sr. that first coined the phrase “Nothing happens until a sale is made.” He was president of International Business Machines (IBM) from 1914 to 1956.
While your product may be unique, your problems with sales and marketing are not. If you are a one person start-up business, you must wear many hats. In my capacity as a SCORE counselor, I have met with many entrepreneurs who have a wonderful idea but lack the business acumen to achieve success.
We all have certain strengths and weaknesses. You sound like one who is very detail oriented and highly skilled in the field of technology. By your own admission you are less confident in your ability to develop a viable marketing plan and unsure of how best to present the concept to a potential customer.
While some people seem to have a natural aptitude for sales, it is not impossible for those who do not to develop the techniques and skill sets necessary to ensure success.
If you want to succeed at sales you need to stop making excuses for your personality and set your mind to learning and developing the skills necessary to be a successful sales professional. There is no greater teacher than the lessons learned through trial and error. After each unsuccessful sales call, critique yourself to determine what you could have said or done differently that may have resulted in a positive outcome.
When I first started out in the insurance business many years ago I was quite self-conscious about my youthful appearance and worried that I would not be taken seriously. A mentor suggested I join a local Toastmasters Club, an organization dedicated to develop confidence with public speaking. It was a turning point in my sales career.
The keys to becoming a successful sales person are to know your product, believe in your product and have faith that your product will be of benefit to others.
Gray Poehler is a volunteer with the Naples Chapter of SCORE.
A SCORE counselor since 2005, Gray Poehler owned and operated an independent insurance agency with 20 employees and two locations. He has earned the Certified Insurance Counselor designation and is familiar with both personal and commercial property and casualty insurance. Areas of expertise include: Business Finance and Accounting; Business Strategy and Planning; Business Operations; Human Resources and Internal Communications; Sales, Marketing and Public Relations.
To learn more about management issues of small businesses, contact the SCORE office nearest you.