There is only one reason small businesses fail — NO SALES.
Without sales there is no cashflow and without cashflow there is no business. Most small business owners and entrepreneurs are not professional sales people, they are better at doing what they are selling, not selling what they do.
Smile n Dial
My wonky career path has included professional sales, the smile and dial numbers game sales. I was kicking butt good at smilin and dialin, finding the decision maker, and getting in the door to meet. I had no problem making 40-60 dials a day, regardless if the product was Advertising, Online Review Platform, Financial Planning products, or Chinese Pump Jacks and Oil Pipe. I built qualified lists, found business, and even closed sales.
Today, I am standing on the cliff edge knowing that the only way my business will succeed is if I get on the phone and make appointments to talk to people about their personal branding to help differentiate them from their competitors. I know what my target market looks like, I know where to find their contact information, I know how to build a CRM database to manage these cold leads and guess what —
It’s not the sub zero temperatures that have gripped the Vancouver area that have me covered in ice… It’s fear. OMG – I’m scared to pick up the phone and ask someone to meet me.
How did I go from a kick butt cold calling appointment setter to frozen solid on a cliff’s edge? What’s different?
Well, the product I am now selling is – me – and I’m not confident enough.
Selling myself, sounds so dirty, like I should have a 1-900 number or be working some corner in DT East Van. I know I’m not the only woman to have an issue with self confidence and selling her services in a crowded marketplace. It’s one of those things we were taught not to do as young girls – “Don’t be too loud.” “Don’t toot your own horn.” “Don’t be so full of yourself.” Little boys were to cultivate confidence, we were to cultivate coyness and virtue.
My confidence has taken a hit from all the rejection, broken promises, disappointment, and crap life has heaped on me the last five years.
I know I’m good at what I do. I know I’m smart enough. I know I’m qualified. I know I have the credentials. I know that I work hard to ensure my clients succeed. I know I have a service Independent Professionals need at a price they can afford… I know all of this and more – However, I don’t want to hear “no” when it comes to selling myself. I’ve heard you aren’t good enough too often the last five years.
The Big Thaw.
Time to get over myself and stop coming up with excuses about why I can’t get on the phone and start calling my target market. It’s the only way small businesses can start, by knocking on doors and making calls.
The only way to cure myself of this affliction is to do it. To create a list of targeted Independent Professionals, pick up the phone, and dial. Once I’ve made the first appointment, I know I will be back, kicking butts and taking names.
All I need
My time is limited and what I sell is my time, so, I only need the following:
4 Monthly Marketing Management Clients
5 Personal Branding Consulting / Coaching Clients
12 Grape Peel Marketing Group Clients
The odd project management client would be nice too
So, I won’t have to smile n dial for long.
The time is now and now is the time.
UPDATE: I did not cold call… I advertised free brainstorming sessions on certain days and people came to me. My confidence is increasing and soon I’ll be back to kicking butt while smiling and dialling.
Shannon Peel is a Professional Marketing Manager and Storyteller. Her company, Shannon Peel Marketing, helps Independent Professionals and Small Businesses define their personal brands and tell their story through different channels. Click to find out more: Shannonpeel.com