Fit to Pitch

Does selling stress you out? Banish your fears and get in the game.
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This story appears in the February 2007 issue of Startups. Subscribe »

Never sold before? Fear not. For those of you who are new to the world of sales, we've got some great advice. "Know one thing, rookie: Get out there," says Don Farrell, founder of Signature Worldwide, a customer service and sales training provider in Dublin, Ohio. Being a business owner gives you a sales edge: "People love to see owners and key individuals [selling]," Farrell says. The most important part of sales is getting started, and even as a newcomer, you shouldn't be afraid to make some mistakes.

As far as cold calling, Farrell suggests you simply "jump in the water. Try some smaller accounts first." Cold calls are a critical part of sales success--Farrell still spends 30 per-cent to 40 percent of his time making cold calls. "It's sometimes the only way you can find out what's going on out there," he says.

Where should newbies look for their first clients? "Start in your own neighborhood and work your way out," Farrell says. "Get out there physically, and start really close to your location."

When making your sales pitch, remember that your focus should be on the customer and not on what you're trying to sell. "Too many times, we want to tell customers about our product and our service, and we don't know enough about the customers," Farrell says. "It's the biggest mistake that veterans--as well as rookies--make."

And how do you focus on your customers? "I try to shut up and listen for a long time, because often customers will tell you a lot of [revealing information]," Farrell says.

Also, be in tune with the personalities of your sales prospects. "If they're happy and expressive," says Farrell, "you should be happy and expressive, too."

Edition: July 2017

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