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Some tips on selling

Tom Garfield

Co-founder & MD, brand new notebook

The first digital marketing job I ever had was a commission only account manager role and it was HARD.

I’d trudge around town and walk into salons, restaurants, estate agents, and offices armed with a borrowed laptop and a few printed materials.

I got told no thanks 100 times before I got an interested person.

I also spent hours going through the yellow pages (the actual yellow pages), calling businesses to introduce myself.

Bzzzzzzzzz hung up. 100s of times a day.

But I got better at it and became super resilient and confident at selling.

Over the 15 years since I started, those sales skills have been everything. I’ve never had a dry spell (touch wood), and I’ve never felt nervous or afraid of reaching out or cold approaching people.

Your mindset on selling is all wrong

A lot of people don’t like selling. Especially kind and clever people. Selling is easy for stupid people. That’s why there are so many estage agents.

But selling isn’t about making people buy stuff they don’t want to buy. The best sales people are completely detached from the sale. They aren’t desperate for it.

What selling actually is, is helping people find the right service or product for them, whether that’s yours or not.

That bit is very important – to sell with integrity, you need to 100% be sure that if you don’t find a good fit with your potential buyer, that you’re willing to walk away.

Because when you do find someone who’s perfect for you, you can basically say “You need to hire me” with such conviction, because you know for sure you’re right. You’re not selling to make money.

Some tips on selling and your mindset

I originally wrote these tips on LinkedIn. The post did really well, and I even had a quote made for Instagram from someone that loved it. Very honoured! It got talked about a lot.

I think there’s something here. Selling for people who don’t like selling. See what you think…

  • going in all guns blazing doesn’t work.
  • selling isn’t persuading, it’s finding the right people. Move on quickly and don’t hassle people.
  • you have to do way more than you think you do. If you’ve never done it before, triple your estimation of the kind of time you need to put into it.
  • if you’re good at what you do, and you only sell to people you know need what you do, then selling isn’t icky, it’s your duty.
  • focus on getting as many no thank yous as possible rather than the yes pleases.
  • be selective and personalised. Never spam or blanket pitch people.
  • inbound is good, but it’s not fast enough if you need work now.
  • confidence is inspiring, neediness is offputting. Don’t beg for work, don’t coerce. At all times you need an attitude of “I am the prize”. You’re not looking for hand outs, you’re looking for people who need what you offer.
  • it’s hard work, it’s often not pleasant, it’s often disheartening – but you’re running a business that’s not bringing in enough money – go sell, or get a job.

Since I wrote the original post, I’ve added a few more.

  • Specialising and niching helps you sell, not because you’re better at doing it, but because it gives you more confidence to know that you’re the right person for the job. You can look your prospect in the eye and say “I’ve seen this problem before, I know exactly how to solve it, you should hire me”.
  • Sales is about power. Whoever has more power in the salesperson/buyer relationship will win. But…don’t abuse the power. If you get it, use it for good. Again, that integrity thing.
  • Rejection is horrible, there’s no getting over that. But you can work on understanding that they aren’t rejecting you. They don’t know you. They couldn’t possible be rejecting you. It’s never personal.

So there you have it. A few thoughts and tips on selling.