From marketing to sales
This past month I've been putting a lot of my attention on Blocks Edit on the sales process. Just how marketing is a way to present ideas, sales is essentially trading those ideas with each other and goes hand in hand with marketing.
Our misconception of selling
A couple of books that I read during this time that have a great philosophy on selling are: How to Win Friends and Influence People, the infamous book by Dale Carnegie about how we can better understand and interact with one another in both business and life; and, To Sell Is Human by Daniel H. Pink which talks about how selling is the exchange of what we have for what someone else has — from advice, to ideas, to products and services — and is a natural part of who we are. (His previous books, Free Agent Nation and A Whole New Mind, which I read years ago, were also great and helped convince me to continue down my path of freelance creative design work.) Both books show that selling isn't the slimey, creepy tactics that we are often shown in movies.
And as I've been driving around town to meet with people and put into practice what I've been learning, I've also been listening to a bunch of podcasts on marketing and selling. My favorite one is Seeking Wisdom by the guys at Drift (a sales tool), David Cancel and Dave Gerhardt, which ranges from topics related to running a business, product development, marketing, sales insights, and growth. There's also Marketing School with Neil Patel and Eric Siu which has some good practical techniques for online marketing.
Finding the approach that works best for you
What I've learned is that sales is really a matter of seeing things from someone else's perspective and providing a solution for them. The rest are processes, tools, and techniques to meet those ends. Finding your product/services's audience, researching their pain points, and ensuring your product/service is the right fit. Then it's a matter of measuring the results and using that information to fine tune your process.
Like with anything, it's a matter of diving in, trying stuff out and learning what works and what doesn't. And what you're comfortable with doing. There are a ton of resources and approaches to sales and you shouldn't feel like you have to do all of them. Just because something may work for someone else, doesn't mean it works for you and your business. One thing you should do above all however, is listen to your potential customers. It's the running theme in all I've learned about sales – the best way to make a sale is to listen well so you understand your customer.
My final recommendation on sales-related things to check out would be the movie Joy, an inspirational story of perseverance when it comes to getting a product out into the world. And as the movie shows, selling is also a way for us to connect with others and help each other create something that can change the world.
Marketing and selling doesn't have to be complicated and confusing. I'm working on Webspace, a book on an integrated way to market and sell a product or service in the digital marketplace. Sign up to get updated when it's ready.