The Wall Street Journal just posted an extended article, actually the product of four interviews, with four start-up coaches. I won’t try to echo their advice, just give you the link.
The relevance here, to this site, Selling Face-to-Face, is that a lot of readers of the blog, and of my how to sell guides, are people who are already engaged in, or considering undertaking, new business start-ups. Reinventing your career (voluntarily or involuntarily)? Considering self-employment? Got a new better mousetrap– or better App– you think (hope?) the market really, really needs? You’ll find some savvy advice in this article.
Link to Wall Street Journal article “4 Low Cost Ways to Gauge Demand for your Start-up”
If you're thinking of going into sales, if you're already in sales, if you don't know what you want to be when you grow up (no matter your present age!) there's a top-rank article you need to read in the magazine FAST COMPANY.
It's "Why smart people should go into sales," by Andrew Yong, and among his accomplishments include authorship of the book, SMART PEOPLE SHOULD BUILD THINGS.
I'll leave the article to you, but add that "selling" is not just selling products or services, but it's also persuading, reading body language and other buying signals, pulling out objections and hesitations, presenting concepts, learning to find and fill needs (needs that often the other person isn't really aware of, so part of "selling" is showing the need and how you can best fill it). All of these abilities pay off many times over if you move from sales per-se to management, customer service — even to setting up your own business and marketing your skills, perhaps as part of career reinvention, or electing for self-employment as your new career option.
Link to article in Fast Company
As factors in your career success, it's not just how competent you are, and it's not just about the words you say: no less important are the non-verbal messages you send . . . and read in others. I cover some of this in my books, but let me recommend "How 'Power Poses' Can Help Your Career"– an excellent article with accompanying video from the Wall Street Journal.
The article is not–as you might suspect–about being a phony poseur, but rather about how to pay attention to the body-language and other non-verbal messages you are sending . . . and receiving.
Continue reading “How ‘Power Poses’ Can Help Your Career”–career tips from the Wall Street Journal
The Wall Street Journal just posted an extended article, actually the product of four interviews, with four start-up coaches. I won't try to echo their advice, just give you the link.
The relevance here, to this site, Selling Face-to-Face, is that a lot of readers of the blog, and of my how to sell guides, are people who are already engaged in, or considering undertaking, new business start-ups. Reinventing your career (voluntarily or involuntarily)? Considering self-employment? Got a new better mousetrap– or better App– you think (hope?) the market really, really needs? You'll find some savvy advice in this article.
Link to Wall Street Journal article "4 Low Cost Ways to Guage Demand for your Start-up"
"HEALTH navigator? Conflict coach? Pollution mitigation outreach worker? These
emerging jobs aren’t household terms yet, but they are a natural fit for older
people looking for new career opportunities, said Phyllis Segal, vice president
at Civic Ventures, a nonprofit research group based in San Francisco."
— That's the opening paragraph in Elizabeth Pope's article in the New York Times.
You might ask, "What does it have to do with the subject of this blog—Selling Face-to-Face?"
Continue reading “Matching life experience with new careers” — article in NY Times
As I mentioned here recently, this Selling Face to Face site is aimed at new business start-ups as much as at the sales training needs of experienced sales teams.
In that regard— new business start-ups and how-to — here's an interesting link to an article on
Wicked Start a free site designed by an experienced entrepreneur and management consultant. I haven't personally checked it out yet, just read the article and looked at the Wicked Start website, but it seems definitely worth your taking a look.
As I understand, when you sign up you get access to a series of how-to checklists and templates to hold your hand through each of the major steps of a new business start-up from scratch.
It's free, so I'm not at all clear on the business model.
Here's the article I read, which came to me via the "Small Business from the New York Times" weekly e-mailing.
A Start-Up That Automates the Process of Starting Up — NYTimes article
When I was starting-up on this blog, I expected the main readership would be among new business start-ups, consultants, new free-lancers, people new to selling and sales. Why? Mainly because the economy was begining to slide down, and a lot of people were going off on their own— some as involuntary entrepreneurs, others as self- reinventors in advance of getting laid off.
It hasn't been that way, so far as I can tell: most of the readership seems to be professional sales people, folks who already know their way around a sales call, and were looking for fresh ideas.
Yes, that kind of info is here, but also here are a lot of the basics of getting started in sales, or starting up a new venture, finding prospects, and making a convincing case. There are also a lot of free sales training articles drawn from books (Selling 101, How to Sell Face-to-Face Survival Guide, Sales Training Tutorials, and Sales Presentations and Demonstrations.
In any case, for the "reinventors" out there, let me recommend the article, "pulling off the ultimate career makeover" in Fortune, issue of July 4, 2011. Case studies include,
- An owner of franchises who sold them off and is setting up his own franchise operation, Yogurt Mountain. (Full disclosure: I have not, repeat not, received any free samples!)
- A sales executive formerly with the likes of Intel, Dell, and NetApp who, after being down-sized, first became a free-agent, then was hired as director of marketing of a social media operation.
- A lawyer, downsized after the media burst bubble burst in 2000, who turned around to become a contractor with the same firm. That led to a further reinvention as she set up what's best described as a legal firm of part-time lawyer contractors, many of them women juggling work and school-age kids.
- A director of strategic development and communicaitons who got cut when that company was acquired. He then did what any good consultant and strategist does, develop his "brand" after an analysis (which makes very good reading) of his passions and skills. Now he's consulting full-time.
- Another lawyer who left the practice (good for him!) to become an author of mystery novels. (First reinvention.) Then when the market for paper books started sliding, he moved into the e-book field and took on self-publishing his backlist for Kindle and the like. (Second reinvention.) By the way, as a "reformed" lawyer myself, I can't resist giving a plug to another lawyer who found "real work," hence this: his name is Paul Levine and you can read more about his mysteries at Website of Paul Levine
Fortune article: Pulling off the ultimate career makeover, by Douglas Alden Warshaw
Sales tip: silence is one of the essential communication skills . . . and a powerful selling skill, as well.
Think of the questions you ask in a sales call as seeds. It's crucial to give the questions time to grow, and the power of silence gives that time. After you ask, be silent, even if it means letting the silence hang in the air. That gives the prospect time to think and respond.
Ask a question, then let it "grow" in the silence and listen closely to the response. In some cases, you'll need to rephrase the question so it's clearer, or to focus the Decision Maker's response so it's more on target.
But those are exceptions. As a rule, once you've asked the question, bite your tongue and let the prospect talk. Listening well is at least as important a communication skill as speaking confidently.
There are other good reasons to ask fewer questions and allow more silence: constant interruptions to ask new questions may irritate the prospect.
Besides, if you let the prospect go at her own pace, and in the general direction she thinks best, you may find other potential needs opening up in ways that you wouldn't have anticipated.
Above all, don't be so busy asking questions (and thinking of what your next questions will be) that you neglect to listen to the answers you do get. That's another benefit of the power of silence: silence gives you time not just to listen, but also time to think ahead.
"Faced with bruised nest eggs and high unemployment rates, older Americans—ever resourceful—are becoming entrepreneurs, " begins this Smart Money article by Anne Tergesen.
The core of the article is a Q and A with Eric Ries, Entrepreneur in Residence at Harvard Business School, focusing on his forthcoming book, The Lean Startup.
Here is one sample, making a point that I think is very much on-target with what we speak of in this blog. Notice how there are elements of making cold calls, using a consultative selling model to find prospects' real needs, and then crafting a brief, focused message making the case of how he can best fill those needs expresssed:
Q: What if you are offering a service, such as carpentry work, and you know there is a market. How can you go about testing whether your business will succeed?
A: I know someone who started a home interior design company. He knew that people would spend money on home refurnishing, but would they want to buy it from him? He spoke to prospective customers, to find out why it was that they wanted to remodel. It turned out that many potential customers in the place where he was based were women. He had the realization that they were not just buying home remodeling, but the sense of control a designer could create for them over their environments. He tried out tag lines for his business until he found a hit—which enabled him to market himself as offering something they could not get elsewhere. The tag line he chose was “unlike your husband, we listen.”
Link to that Smart Money article, "Older Americans fuel entrepreneurial boom."
"OVERCOMING OBJECTIONS: WHY PROSPECTS DO NOT BUY" is now a short E-book, available via Amazon.
You can read it on a Kindle, or in various other E-reader formats, including your PC. Amazon offfers free apps to enable you to do that.
Order e-edition of Overcoming objections: why prospects DO NOT buy