David Risley is one of the bloggers I read regularly, and if you’re not completely familiar with his site you should get over there and subscribe right away…if you’re interested in marketing yourself effectively online that is 😉
I run this “make money online” blog from a very different angle than David and most other writers in this space. I’m not a media guy. I’m not a marketing guy, and I’m CERTAINLY not a tech guy. I’m a sales guy.
I’ve spent years in the field selling and training others to make money for themselves. I’ve spent the last three years adapting all that experience to internet marketing, and it’s been a beautiful journey. That’s my angle…direct sales. It’s what I do, and it’s what I teach.
An article David Risley posted a couple days ago speaks to how essential direct sales is to blogging. I highly recommend you check it out. I love seeing a well-known blogger like David Risley talking about this, because it makes me feel like this very important idea is catching on. Unfortunately it has a long way to go before being mainstream though.
Stuff is Changing, but Not the Way You May Think!
I am convinced a fundamental truth is coming out more and more, and it’s essential to pay attention to it…here it is:
The WAY people search for information and buy things is changing. This is a permanent, global change. However, the REASONS people buy things haven’t changed at all…and aren’t going to.
What does this mean to you…the business owner or professional who wants to thrive throughout this economic downturn and all these paradigm shifts that we’re witnessing? It’s simple. It means you need to become a competent sales professional. You’re in sales! You need to become very good at engaging people and selling to them.
Social Media is a Tool, Not an Excuse
As a sales trainer, I’ve trained over a thousand people to go out and make more sales. What do you think is the biggest obstacle I’ve had to overcome?
- Lack of sales talent?
- Time management?
- Teaching others how to “close, close, close”?
It isn’t any of these. Fact is, sales is pretty damn simple. And you know what? It still is. There are absolutely some things to learn, but it’s not rocket science.
The biggest obstacle I’ve had to overcome with my sales training clients is EXCUSES. Here’s the brutal truth: people avoid sales like the plague. Even sales professionals avoid it. It’s called “call reluctance”. They come up with all kinds of creative ways to avoid selling.
In fact, people pride themselves on their aversion to sales! CEO’s talk openly about how they hate to sell. People talk about how they avoid selling as if it’s a good thing. This is such a misplaced mentality, and it shows clearly how misunderstood the art of selling is.
But here’s the rub…more and more people are realizing they HAVE to learn how to sell. Because if you don’t sell, you’re out of business. You have to make sales to stay in business, yet most business people hate sales. See anything wrong with this picture?
Here’s something I hope will offer some comfort: It’s not sales you’re afraid of, it’s BAD sales. Good sales is simple, natural and fun. And high-paying! You have to learn how to do it. It takes training, and it takes practice, but anyone can learn it. People misunderstand what sales is because they’ve spent their whole lives avoiding it…they’ve never learned it.
As Risley mentions in his article (if you haven’t swung out to check it yet, please do), many bloggers out there are still fixated on making money with advertising. Thing is, that works to a certain degree. If you’re getting a lot of traffic (I mean a lotta lot of traffic), you can make some scratch with advertising. But there is SO much more opportunity out there. The bottom line is that not all niches are high traffic niches. So if you’re niche isn’t a high traffic niche, are you S.O.L.? Well, if you aren’t willing to learn direct sales, then yes, you’re S.O.L.
There is No Such Thing as “Selling Without Selling”!
So many gurus and “experts” out there are touting social media as a way to “sell without selling”. Screw that noise. If you don’t sell, you don’t make sales! Let’s call a spade a spade. Sound fair?
“Selling without selling” is another way of saying “making sales on accident”. When it comes to my business, I want to know what the heck I’m doing. I don’t want my success to be accidental, because if it’s accidental, then I can succeed one month and totally suck the next month, and I won’t know why. That’s no way to live.
Here are three steps every business owner or professional needs to make right now:
- If you don’t have passion and excitement for what you do, do something else.
- Embrace that you’re in sales. Take your excitement and passion for your business and use it to put yourself out there and get good at selling.
- Study with a professional who knows how to teach you to sell (ahem), and get good at it. Sales is your lifeblood. Always has been. Always will be.
Highest Paying Hard Work; Lowest Paying Easy Work
We’re entering a new era at full speed, and it’s an era where job security is non-existent, opportunity is huge and risks are high. More and more people are coming online to market their wares. Business is highly competitive. To succeed you have to be good, period.
That’s the world we live in. If you are willing to do the work, you can thrive and live very well here. All you bloggers out there looking for a quick buck or some turnkey “automatic” or “automated” solution to making money…go on and keep looking; let me know how that works out for ya!
Almost 10 years now I’ve been in sales and training/coaching people to make more money. Most people are looking for a way to chillax. Why would you want to kick back and chill when you have a BUSINESS that excites you? You wouldn’t. You’d want to go out a raise hell every single day. That’s why I consider it so vital to absolutely LOVE what you do. Because when you LOVE what you do, you can’t wait to get at it every day. You push hard every day for results, because you just really like what you’re doing. That’s where you want to be. That’s where you have to be!
I read in a book years ago that sales is “the highest paying hard work and the lowest paying easy work”. I’m pretty sure it was Brian Tracy who wrote that, but I’m not positive. But it’s true.
I’ve known sales people (in all different kinds of fields) that are barely getting by, and I’ve known sales people who make an absolute killing. What’s the difference? I know many people are still convinced that successful sales professionals have a particular sleazy charm that just comes naturally to them, and in order to be good at sales you need to be born with the “shyster gene”. But it’s not true. First of all, selling is not sleazy…at all, when it’s done well. Second, sales can be learned. And it can be taught. That’s what I do.
The difference is not some innate talent or ability. The highly-paid, successful sales professionals of the world all employ an ancient and proven technique that works every time. They work their tail off, and they love every minute of it!
There is Stuff to Learn
So, quick recap:
- The way people buy things is changing, but the reasons people buy things are NOT changing. You need to learn to engage people and sell to them.
- Social media (blogging, Facebook, Twitter, etc) is a tool for selling. Don’t use it as an excuse for avoiding sales. It’s not “selling without selling”. It’s selling.
- Embrace that you’re in sales. Study sales. There are a million books. Plus, subscribe to Next Level Blogger.
- Make sure you’re in a field you love and that excites you.
- Get coaching.
- Work hard, every day.
Sales comes naturally to very few people, but it can be learned by anyone. It is the art of engaging people on a personal level and helping them to solve a problem. When done well, it is a invaluable service to others.
Of course when used poorly or maliciously, sales is the same as any other powerful weapon. It can be used for both good and evil. It is the evil use of sales that everyone fears and wants to avoid. The solution is simple. Don’t be evil. If you’re not evil, then learning to sell will not make you evil. It will just enable you to help you customers on a much deeper and more meaningful level. It will also make you rich. Nice secondary benefit, no?
At the end of the day, sales is nothing to be scared of. It is simply a skill set you learn. You learn it through training, study and practice. And when you learn it, it makes your income and livelihood impervious to any changes in the economy. A good thing!
How do you feel about selling? Do you avoid it? Does it scare you? Do you think I’m full of it and that learning to sell is not necessary? I’d love to hear your thoughts!