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
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
If you're a reader of this blog who is selling services, particularly consulting or other kind of contract work, then — alas — one of the objections you need to be prepared to respond to is this one: "The IRS (and state tax people) look very closely over our shoulder when we try to work with contractors. The IRS prefers that we just put people on the regular payroll, so it is easier for the tax people to be sure we've paid all the taxes and such. So, sorry, we just can't risk buying your services."
So, given that objection, how do you respond? My suggestion: read this article in the New York Times Small Business Guide section. It's by Katherine Reynolds Lewis, and it links to some other comments and related articles.
Link to the article: "Hiring contractors without getting into trouble"
The article is written to advise the businesses that may take on contractors; that tells you the concerns and hot-button issues, which you can turn around to your own situation.
One comment: I can't find the reference right now, so am relying on memory, but seems to me there was an article not long ago that the IRS was in the process of hiring 6,000 new agents, mainly to police this issue, of firms seeking to take on contract employees as the economy was so weak they couldn't risk taking on payroll employees.
The good news? That's 6,000 new jobs!Great news in the headlines!
The bad news? Let's not even think about all the contractors, consultants, free agents and free lancers who are not working because of the shadow of a potential IRS audit hanging over the process.
More bad news? Let's not think about the work and productivity that could flow if businesses didn't need to "invest" so much in fighting and avoiding audits.)
The New York Times this past weekend ran an article on Sam Palmisano, who is retiring after about a decade as CEO of IBM. Particularly interesting to me were the four questions he devised as a tool to help get key people thinking in productive new ways.
"The four questions, he explains, were a way to focus thinking and prod the company beyond its comfort zone and to make I.B.M. pre-eminent again. He presented the four-question framework to the company’s top 300 managers at a meeting in early 2003 in Boca Raton, Fla."
• “Why would someone spend their money with you — so what is unique about you?”
• “Why would somebody work for you?”
• “Why would society allow you to operate in their defined geography — their country?”
• “And why would somebody invest their money with you?”
Seems to me those questions — especially the first — are equally useful for business ventures a lot smaller than IBM, including those of us who are setting up new businesses or consulting ventures, reinventing careers, or taking a fresh look at whether we're as effective as we could be.
Further, a savvy sales person could incorporate them into a consultative selling approach, adapting these questions into a form to be asked of potential prospects … thereby establishing the need for your product or service.
NYTimes article on Sam Palmisano's four key questions
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 presentations– I'm doing my homework before branching into Squidoo, and part of that homework involves seeing what's out there.
This "lens" on Squidoo is titled "Best presentations ever" . . . and it's very good. It's actually a sampling of what the author thinks are the best.
Maybe most interesting is a young Steve Jobs, wearing suit, white shirt, and long hair(!) doing the introductory presentation for the first Mac, back in January 1985.
Anyway, here's the link to "Best presentations ever," via Squidoo