Chapter 1

Defining Sales

To define sales, we first need to ask a simple question. Who needs to know how to sell?

The answer may surprise you... everyone. Yes, everyone. Regardless of what you do, be it owning a small business or cranking away as an aspiring artist, you need to know how to sell. As a small business owner, it's your job to get customers in the door. As an artist, it's your job to move your artwork. We are selling every day, we just don't realize it. Which means that we are deciding to be poor salespeople, in most cases.

If you're thinking to yourself,

"I'm not a salesperson by trade, so this doesn't apply."

You're horribly mistaken. Selling is all around us, from the billboards we drive by on the way to work to the idea that you just ran by your boss during the latest conference call. It's all sales. It's your decision on whether you want to make yourself more persuasive and more impactful, and this guide is a great place to start. The ability to sell is an enabler, allowing you to grow your business and your dreams.

What Is Sales?

When thinking about sales, a common misconception of the trade exists: The best sales professionals are those that "convince" most people to buy from them. The typical thought process of a failed sales process goes something like this:

"How do I convince the prospective customer that my product or service provides value to them or their business?"

This isn't how the most successful sales professionals think, however. Their intention is not to convince but to uncover the reasons why their prospects would benefit from their solution.

The key to a good salesperson is research. This commitment is what separates those that are coveted and compensated by the most lucrative industries, from the has-nots. Anyone can convince someone to try something one time, but growing a book of business that is filled with consistent and trusting customers takes a professional. A professional that loves their industry and views what their role as uncovering problems for their customers.

Knowing enough about your prospective customers' pain points, so that you can articulate them with precision, will put you leaps and bounds ahead of your competitors. Sales is being prepared to capitalize on that opportunity, through diligent research and preparation.

Researching and Data Gathering

We now know that research and data gathering about prospective customers is key, but where do you find it? For the technology world, few datasources are better than Crunchbase for pulling raw statistics on the company. Linkedin also offers a very comprehensive search for both people and companies that may prove to be helpful for your diligence.

The important piece of research is understanding the questions that matter to your prospective customers, and tailoring those answers to fit their needs. There's no such thing as a canned response in the world of effective sales.

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