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All Business is Selling December 28, 2009

Posted by solutionsbconsultants in 1.
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We are fortunate to have a guest blogging this week. Business writer Laura Bell shares her wisdom. You can find Laura at her website, http://www.bellbusinessreport.com
or read her book, “101 Things You Didn’t Learn in Harvard
Business School,” on Amazon: http://tiny.cc/Ir4OC

All business is selling

I ran across a trade group recently who acted as if they wanted me to write for their publication. When I submitted info on successful ad campaigns, they weren’t interested. (That was to be the article topic.) In their eyes it didn’t apply to their clients. You see, their clients were financial planners. As such, they were service oriented, not product sellers.

The woman who wrote me back said that they had been debating the idea of whether or not their clients actually sold among their board members for years. This is another example that there are those in the corporate world collecting pay checks that haven’t got one iota of sense when it comes to business. Such ignorance finally takes its toll.

I have been interviewing top business leaders and writing my own business prose since 1979. In 1984, I did a lengthy profile on the first woman Dean Witter ever recruited for the sole purpose of being a stock broker. She told me that the first two years she had to work like the devil to build her name and reputation. After that, it was a virtual piece of cake because they all came to her. (Keep in mind that more people were pushing to invest back in that time. Nothing is that easy today.) Her adage was simple. “Sell yourself and then they will buy anything from you.”

If you run your own business, you are always going to be selling. It hasn’t got an anything to do with whether or not you are selling service contracts, investment plans, or the newest widget on the block. You are selling.

You are selling from the first day you decide you are going to launch a business. If you can’t convince someone else you have a valid idea, then you are going nowhere. You then have to either write a business plan or hire someone do it. You have to either convince a partner this is the new bonanza or you have to hire employees. Then there is the money to get the thing going, probably the hardest sell yet.

Some people are natural born sales people. The rest of us have to be pushed, myself included. To make it even harder, we try to convince ourselves we are just offering a service. Well, so is the guy down the street who has already paid his bucks to launch a great ad campaign. He paid someone to do the job he didn’t want to do.

I betcha if you could ask the ‘big guys’ they would probably admit they were tired of selling. I remember hearing Donald Trump on a talk show discussing his hard times. He was millions in debt. His task was to call the bankers he had dealt with in the past and convince them if given the chance, he would pay back his debts. He had to ‘sell’ them on the idea that he could do it. Without his faith in himself and taking that approach, that would probably been the end of Trump

I am sure that one thing Bill Gates and Steven Jobs have one thing in common, their dislike of presenting new products at conventions and exhibits. Gates is famous for showing products that fail to work properly when demoed. We know he’s Gates, but he still human and I can bet he can’t stand that part of his life.

No one ever said selling was fun. Of course, there are those few who seem to get their kicks from it. Think used car salesmen and high powered realtors. Other than that, it is a job that we are stuck with if we run our own business. If this idea sends tremors to the pit of your stomach, there are two options. You either find a partner who is brilliant at it or stay an employee. Yes, really. There is no way to sugarcoat it. That is simply a fact of business life.

If you are determined to have your own shop, but feel you lack these skills, then take a couple of classes. Spend the time to get this skill or as already said, stay at the starting gate. If you have children coming up, you might want to have in your envisioned business one day, let them spend times selling Girl Scout Cookies or get involved in a Junior Achievement program. The skills learned here will last a lifetime.

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