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
Amazon has recently upgraded its Kindle software, so what appears on the Kindle comes out closer to the visual quality and layout of the printed version.
I took advantage of that opportunity, and cleaned up the electronic typography of SELLING 101, and at the same time entered it in the Amazon Prime program. Here's the link: Selling 101: Essential Selling Skills for Entrepreneurs, Consultants, Free Agents
What Amazon Prime means to you as a reader is that you can borrow it free, from Amazon, for however long you want. As I understand it, if you're a Prime member, and own any version of Kindle, you can borrow up to 12 books each year. Only catch, only one book at a time.
And if you borrow a book and find it so indispensable that you just gotta have it? Just "return" it, virtually, buy it, and borrow another.
If just want to buy Selling 101 in e-format, not borrow it, same link gets you there.
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
Here's another heartwarming, uplifting story (in Washingtonian magazine) of a lawyer who left the field of First Class travel and lots of dollars in return for lots and lots of billable hours , then reinvented himself into a happier field. "… what I wanted to do all along was tell stories. and play rock n' roll.")
His name? Ron Liebman. His core point: if you're a practicing lawyer, ". . .to make it work you have to live the job. and if you live the job, there goes the rest of your life. It took me a while to get that."
It took me a while, too. Like him, I (also) was a Washington lawyer. And a New York lawyer. And a Virginia lawyer. And, to paraphrase the old saying about boats, "The second happiest day of my life was when I finished law school and got admitted to the bar (s), but the happiest day was when I walked away from law and lawyering."
Why am I including this story: because this blog is about (beyond sales) career reinvention, going off on your own, career change, and self-employment as a career opton.
In any case, for more on Ron Liebman and his books
For his article in Washingtonian: "I was a Washington lawyer"
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
"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."
First the good news: "President Obama's proposed 2011 budget includes funding for 100 additional federal staffers [within the IRS]. . .
Who says this country isn't creating new jobs? Well, look at that! Yes, it's true! The IRS is creating new jobs: 100 jobs IS 100 jobs that can be added to the labor statistics.
Continue reading IRS creates new jobs! Really!
That's the title of Laura Petrecca's article in USA Today, but actually it's by no means just about "older" Americans: the stats indicate it's "just-plain American" (of all ages) who are starting new businesses, electing self-employment, and otherwise going off on their own as consultants, free-agents, and the like. Here are some of the key numbers on self-employment from that article:
Continue reading “Never too late to start a business,” USA Today
The Wall Street Journal runs a regular section, "Career Journal" — nowadays often focused on career transition, and getting started in your new life.
"You Just Have to Do It," by regular Alexandra Levit, points out that "people in the midst of a career reinvention
Continue reading Your new business venture: getting started
Career transition rebounders such as those profiled in a Business Week article (and the related on-line slideshow) are examples demonstrating that you can leave the corporate nest and go on to successfully "sell your better mousetrap" or yourself. (Not explicitly mentioned is the very real issue of how to sell your newly-rebounded self, or your new venture. No matter: we cover that how-to-sell in this blog.)
The 29 people — career transition rebounders — profiled in the video/slide-show include,
Continue reading Career transition: After layoff, starting a new business from scratch