Taking the first step in sales

People do business with people they like…

This is the first rule of sales

Maybe sounds a bit old fashioned but, let me assure you it’s a powerful truth.

People do business with people they like

At a time where we do less and less business face to face, this is being forgotten about, but bear with me its important.

If you want to be successful, you have to build a connection with your sales audience.

Standing out from the faceless crowd

This is a huge challenge today, and one thats being embraced by influencers.

Transcending face to face business and taking those same principles and applying them to vlogging is a great example of how people have successfully reinvented older sales principles to make them work in todays world.

While their audience is a video camera as they present or talk about the product or service their selling, what you see on the other end of that is a face and what you hear is one side of a conversation, this builds a connection.

That connections leads to you liking that person (Or the person they project themselves to be on-screen), the result, your much more likely to buy something they recommend.

Not everyone is on social media or wants to be an influencer of course, but its a great example of standing out from the crowd and building a sales audience with probably the oldest sales rule.

In business day to day there are other ways that we can make those same connections without having social media:

  • Pick up the phone — Its amazing to me the amount of people who try to do business over email only and wonder why its not working. Develop that human connection with someone, if you can have that call over video phone even better.
  • Integrity and honesty — This means being honest about what your trying to achieve and how what your selling benefits the person or the business your selling to, if it doesn’t benefit them chances are they wont buy it so be upfront about that. If you are not sure, then use calls and face to face meetings to work out how it would benefit them, you will thank yourself later. The prospect will also thank you because you will actually understand their needs and can tailor your sales towards that.
  • Talk Plainly — Leave the acronyms and buzzwords back in the 80’s where they belong, this kinda ties back into integrity and honesty, no one talks like that in the real world so don’t talk like that in the business world, a natural conversation with the real you, builds that connection.
  • Don’t present, converse — Death by power point is horrible for both the presenter and the audience, so don’t go there. Instead adopt the corporate story telling philosophy. Just have a conversation with some visual only slides for context as you need them. Its a much more natural way to present and puts both the presenter and the audience at ease.

If you can do these things, it will help you to stand out from crowd, build an honest relationship with your customers and get you more business.

Never forget that people really do more business with people they like, this is what makes sales and business development such a richly rewarding career option.

Side Hustles

Probably not as complicated as you might think…

A grand idea or a simple way to make more money?

Maybe I’ve been reading too many side hustle stories online, watching too much shark tank, doing far too much overcomplicated research for a book idea or a combination of all three.

What I have concluded though is that there are so many people over selling, complicating, over glamourizing what a “side hustle” actually is.

I’ve written before and shouted from the rooftops about how fake “hustle culture” is online. I’m not saying people aren’t getting themselves out of debt and onto the road towards a financially future, of course they are. At the same time the idea that we need to work 24/7 flat out and trade or sell on shopify or develop some fancy new online ecosphere or even write our way to fame, fortune and a six figure living that lets us travel the globe with glamorous models driving ferrari’s is not real.

Its just not realistic and for most of us, we are not going to be able to spend 24 hours a day working, its not realistic. At the same time we all need more than 1 income stream. The almost constant disruption in the economy in the 12 years since the 2008 financial crisis I think has showed most of us that this is the way forward.

If you can get to a place where your making enough money to quit your 9–5 and have a business that then scales up, then great I really applaud you.

Look at the market, particularly in the States (too much shark tank again probably) and some of the great products primarily that people have developed that have gone on to make them millionaires many times over, simple stuff ideas that just went on to scale and sell such as sponge daddy or illumibowl, one of those the last time I checked was at over $ 140mm in sales.

If you look at those companies that have become just phenomenal successes, they were not for the most part an instant over night success. They took years of hard work to develop. This is where the falseness of the side hustle culture falls apart.

Ok so then what?

Well the good news, is that when it comes to starting a business on the side to give you another source of income on top of your 9–5, there really are no limits to what you can or how you achieve that as long as they are morally sound and legal.

Most people who do take the plunge start small and build up from there, they may work at it on a routine and dedicated basis, they may pick it up and drop it again when they choose to or when they need to, and then another thing you will find is people building out that source of income to fill a need they have, and then once that need is fulfilled they drop it.

These businesses, projects, ideas, challenges whatever you want to call yours come in all sorts of sizes and scales, from some that generate $10’s, $100’s or $1000’s in additional income at a pace that suits the people involved with them.

Some of them need some financing from friends and family, some from outside investors and some need less than $100 to get going, again all shapes and sizes. No one size solution fits all, and thats important to remember.

How do I get started?

Every first step is exactly the same, research, research, research. You need to find out what interests you, what the market for that is, how much its going to cost you and how much profit it will earn you.

At this point you don’t need an MBA or a fancy business plan document, notes in a legal pad for example will work just as well for your first steps.

You may even stumble into your business by accident or by need, if so again develop the idea through research and jot down your ideas.

The key details you need are:

  • What is the business or project going to sell?
  • Where do I get the thing im going to sell?
  • Whats it going to cost me (Buying, packaging, shipping, online seller fee’s) etc?
  • What can I sell it for?

For me the one that got me started was motorcycles, my motorcycle which wasn’t essential transport to me, broke down and wasn’t worth repairing. I didn’t want to take a loan to buy myself another bike so I decided my option might be breaking it and selling all the working parts, to get raise enough cash to buy another bike.

After doing research that evening, I got ebay and PayPal accounts on my smartphone (I was some what behind the times), and that was me set up.

I was then able to strip the bike for parts, using the tools I already owned, so no additional set up there, took photos and set up listings using the smartphone I already owned. The only cost was Packaging which I decided was going to be supermarket value black bags and cling film and shipping costs.

Looking back at my notes I think I bought the bike for $900, parted it out for $1900, took back $400 to reinvest in this idea of buying and breaking motorcycles and bought a far nicer for myself in the process.

That stream of income grew for 2 or 3 years and I moved into doing 2 bikes a month. What I got good at was buying stuff that was too far gone like it needed a new engine for example to make sense to repair, but had a lot of value to me in its component parts.

This was a good starting point for me and its a good tip for you as well, if the business involves one of your hobbies or its in an area your knowledgeable about, then its a great starting point for you to give this a go.

Once you’ve used that first one as a spring board, there is no limit to where you can go from there and in the years since, ive done all sorts of stuff, like phone covers, watches, used fountain pens, bankrupt stock, clothes.

You get the idea, if you can make money from it, its viable.

These were all side businesses separate from my 9–5 or sometimes my 28 day rotation, depneidng on what I was doing at the time.

None of them required me to work endless hours to chase the money, they required some effort sure, normally a 2–3 hour per day commitment. None of them required me to invest anything in new equipment my smartphone and tablet were all I needed to post the product online.

I didn’t invent this way of making additional income and wouldn’t claim to, all I did was look at what others were doing, get a sense of the market and work it as best I could to make as much money as possible.

Has it made me a millionaire well no, but that’s down to my commitment levels to it more than anything else, the more time you put to a certain point the more success financially you will get from your efforts.

Nowadays im working abroad and due to language barriers its not a dream that I can follow now and honestly my work schedule wouldn’t allow it.

However when its time to go home I know ill jump straight back in and double up my efforts.

Its all achievable, for less effort and less cost than you might think. If you are curious do your research and go for it, follow a clear path and you won’t lose. Just don’t expect it to be champagne and caviar overnight.