By Kyle Strickland
This is not a typical business column. It’s not a business blog, a sales site or a dry advice column on self-motivation. I’m not here to tell you what a textbook might, ladling terminology and tactics over you and promising, “If you plant them, they will grow.” I don’t have that level of expertise yet. Instead, you’ll be shadowing a novice on his plucky path towards entrepreneurial-level sales.
Watching a young paladin start his quest, much like the soft and innocent Frodo in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, probably sounds like a huge waste of your time at first: Pft, I don’t got time to listen to this newb rant about his shits and his giggles. He hasn’t even started! There are hundreds of books by people who already made it, and I can get all of their secrets for cheap (instantly, nonetheless)!
Good point, italicized voice, but have you ever heard of context? Sure, you can instantly learn the methods successful people employed to make their millions. In fact, I am starting to read all of those books, and highly recommend the practice. But you won’t get to see the reality of how they did it; what they were up against; when they struggled, crying deeply into their high-thread-count pillows in their lonesome high rises. Once somebody has made it, they can’t go back and recreate the feeling their challenges wrought upon them and explain just what they did to get over them. But I can. Reading me, coupled with those professional books on business,sales and branding yourself, is a winning combination that will fill your veins with tiger blood.
Henceforth, you will find a log of the things I encounter, learn and apply in the business world, with special focus placed upon my newfound determination towards fast-paced growth in the career of sales. Trust me, it becomes addicting once you’re inside of it and can see your own potential. Just about everything in life is based upon sales, when you think about it. Like an Indian gazillionaire once told me: “Kyle, every day you are selling yourself,” (not for dollars on the corner, mind you).
It’s a very simple but true statement. Think about it – if nobody believes in you, how many people are going to do what you want them to? How will you accomplish anything if nobody will stand behind it? It’s not about coercing or manipulating; it’s about having an idea and showing everybody that it’s the best one going. Of course, if you don’t have any ideas or even a plan, sales is clearly not for you. Go learn accounting and punch numbers to eternity.
Here is one of my favorite scenarios to illustrate the everyday necessity of selling yourself: asking for money in college. I had to convince my parents to give me more money all throughout college whenever it would surprisingly run out mid-month. Did I use brute force or whine? No. I convinced them of the value their money would have on the level of grades I achieved. I showed them how it was an investment, and, let me tell you – I sold the crap out of it all four years. Even though this strategy bought me more beer than it did A’s, I was unwittingly living the valuable lesson that the Indian salesman put into perspective for me: everything you want to do hinges on how well you sell it to the people who can make it happen.
Visit S T E M every so often for more on the musings of The Professional, including the endless list of extremely successful entrepreneurs who started as sales guys, and the historical aspects of why my enthusiasm for business is surprising.