Some people are natural salesmen (or saleswomen). I am not one of them. I don’t have a single fiber in my body that wants to be a salesman. However, that’s not an option when you run a company. Running a successful company requires you to understand sales and even be pretty good at it. The ability to make money is absolutely necessary for any small business owner. If you don’t make money then you won’t be in business long; pretty straightforward and unavoidable. You have to be able to make money, and a large part of that is figuring out what makes customers want to buy and learning how to lead them to a buying decision.
For me, the ability to make money has been a learning process. I’m pretty good at a lot of things naturally, but making money didn’t come naturally. I’ve learned a lot over the last few years about marketing and how customers think. That experience has been invaluable in helping me to hone my abilities.
My Key Learnings Over The Years
- Consumers tend to be skeptical, especially of online companies. You have to really make yourself appear trustworthy to gain any consideration. Potential customers will read reviews about your site and any other information they can learn about your service before deciding whether or not to buy. This is the rule, not the exception, so be prepared.
- Marketing and advertising is an iterative process. Much like A/B testing on your website, you have to continually test and improve your sales, marketing, and advertising strategies.
- Sales strategies will evolve over time. Markets change quickly, so you have to constantly be looking at long-term trends to determine where 1) your industry is going over the next few years and 2) where your site is going relative to your industry. Just because a particular strategy or market segment is profitable for you today doesn’t guarantee its future success or viability.
- Try several different approaches. Depending on what you need to sell you should try as many different ways as possible to reach your potential customers. Try cold calls, cold emails, handwritten letters, anything you can think of.
I started a question on Quora – What Are The Top 5 Must-Read Sales Books?
Jason Fried’s Inc. article about How to Get Good At Making Money