July 17, 2015
Yesterday was my first day of in-person cold-calling…EVER. Amelia dragged me out to show me how it’s done, and it really does work.
We got one good lead, another point of contact, and identified several businesses to target for additional follow-up. That’s a pretty successful day of cold-calling, in my book.
But in today’s modern world, we’re conditioned to believe that we don’t need to do old-school sales anymore.
We’re told we can get all our leads networking at the millions of Meetup Groups, mining our social media contacts, from SEO, or from marketing online.
While these methods do work, with enough time, money and perseverance, there still is no substitute for good, old-fashioned sales. That’s why we meet so many online marketing companies out selling in the real world.
“Sales” isn’t easy for me. Amelia says I’m a natural closer, but going out and drumming up business is not my forte.
Yesterday, Amelia was completely energized going in and coming out of those offices. She loved it! It’s like a good day of fishing for her.
She got a few bites and caught a couple worth bragging about. I’m thinking about having a bumper sticker made for her that says, “I’d Rather Be SELLING!”
Not me, though. I was uncomfortable. Walking into an office where I don’t know anyone, not knowing how I’ll be received, that’s not my idea of fun.
I would much rather be working, building, writing, leading and doing all the other things that must be done in order for us to have something to sell. That’s what energizes me. That’s my good day of fishing.
Unfortunately, my plight is shared by most entrepreneurs. We start our business because we like the work, not realizing we have to spend most of our time selling if we want any work to do.
A few months ago, I read an article (I can’t find it now) about what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur. The article stated that the vast majority of successful businesses were started by sales people, while the vast majority of failed businesses were started by operations people.
That’s a sad commentary for us “operations” people who prefer to spend our time ensuring everything works just right. We want to make sure our processes are defined and we have the right team onboard to do the work.
That’s all great, but without sales, we don’t need operations. It’s the story of Betamax vs. VHS. The superior operations team at Betamax lost to the superior sales and marketing team at VHS, even though the VHS technology wasn’t as good.
If you’re an operations person, you’re thinking to yourself right now, “Without operations, our sales people would have nothing to sell!”
Well, that’s not totally true. I’ve seen sales people sell things that didn’t exist (yet). And I’ve seen sales people sell complete crap by the truckload.
“Sales” is what drives a business forward, and what’s being sold isn’t nearly as important as us “operations” types think it is.
If you’re like me, this concept will be hard for you to accept. You’ll think of countless reasons why sitting behind your computer, counter or workbench is a better use of your time. But those are all just excuses to avoid being uncomfortable.
That’s why I’m taking a bit of my own medicine and playing a bigger role in the sales process. I’ve been avoiding it too long and relying on others to do it for me.
Now, I’ve put on my big-boy pants and I’m hitting the streets…kickin’ it old-school.
In sales, what’s old is new again.