Selling Successfully (Your One-Stop Resource for Setting Up, Managing and Marketing)

5 Key Steps To Success

The following are excerpts from an article by Marketing Guru David Garfinkel.

I've found that successful clients have a lot in common with many of those who didn't do as well. They were all good salespeople. They had good, practical ideas. Each had a strong desire to succeed.

What was the difference, then, between marketing failure and marketing success? It rarely boils down to intelligence and ability, since it's possible to have those qualities in abundance and still fail. The difference between the winners and the losers almost always turned out to be skills, behaviors and attitudes. The successes learned to do certain things (skills), actually did them (behaviors), and approached their businesses from a different perspective (attitude), but the failures did not.

I've narrowed down these skills, behaviors and attitudes to fit into this checklist of five characteristics:

1. You must have a marketing budget. The best things in life are free, except for marketing. While good marketing pays for itself and then some, it does require an initial investment of money. Think of it like priming the pump. Along with a commitment of money, marketing requires a commitment of time. You must consistently make marketing a top priority to make it work. If you are only planning to do marketing when things start to slow down, this will only waste your money. But if you can truly make your marketing an ongoing priority, then go for it - you will likely attain success.

2. You must continue to execute after the marketing starts getting you results. That probably sounds silly to you - after all, if the marketing is working, you say, why wouldn't I want to continue? Here's why: you might want to, but suddenly you're dealing with the unexpected problems of growth. Namely, you don't have enough time to take orders, fulfill orders, and handle everyday tasks - much less keep up with your new marketing program. Be prepared for this. Growth isn't always easy, but hey - it sure beats the alternative.

3. You must be able to curb those creative urges and stick to a plan. The brutal reality: once you've made a decision to do something, you'll suddenly get a little nervous and think of a better way to do it. This is human nature. Successful marketers resist the urge to meddle at the last minute, and stick with their decisions until they have enough data to determine how well the original plan is working. Another problem: You'll get bored with your marketing long before your prospects do. Resist the temptation to change for that reason. The most successful ad in history - it has made over $1 billion in sales - is the Wall Street Journal's "Two Young Men" letter. This letter has mailed, virtually unchanged, for nearly 30 years.

4. You must be willing and able to delegate. There are only two ways I know of to grow a business: get more money from the customers you have now, or get more customers. When you get more customers, you will need help to sell and deliver to them. There's tremendous profit in growing by getting more customers, but it can't be done without delegating in some way, shape or form. Even if you don't want to have employees, you still need to be able to work with others and let go of some hands-on control in order to get the greater results you want. Letting go is one of the hardest things for many entrepreneurs to do. After all, the entrepreneurial personality is typically just the opposite of the managerial personality. But you must make this choice, because only if you can delegate can you grow.

5. You must be able to build a sales culture. This may be the trickiest requirement of all. It sounds easy, doesn't it? But closing the sale can be the hardest part of all. First, good salespeople - closers - are hard to find (but it's a technique that can be learned). Second, good salespeople are hard to keep. And third, they're often hard to manage. But the biggest challenge of all - if you're a good salesperson yourself (and you probably are) - is that you find yourself in a damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don't dilemma. Thatis, if you get someone better than you, that's unpleasant. But it's enormously frustrating to have people who aren't as good as you working for you. You have to resist the temptation to step in and do things for them. Nevertheless, once you understand that as the head of a fast-growing business, your role shifts from mainly closing sales to inspiring and motivating production in others, then you can create a great sales culture and grow a fabulous business.

(Ruby Lane Note: We know the majority of our shops don't have employees - but the same rule applies to anyone who helps your business run - such as vendors and others.)

Summing Up: The Secret of Marketing Success-

At this point, you could be overwhelmed by all the requirements for success. If I may give you some free advice about that: relax. Instead I say, "Don't worry. Nothing in life is perfect. We deal with problems as they come up."

What that means here is that you have to acknowledge your challenges and deal with them. If you don't embody all five characteristics, can you still succeed? Of course! No one is born having a marketing budget, or knowing how to execute consistently even in the face of - gasp! - awesome growth. But successful people who aren't where they need to be take note of their situation, and take action to fix it.

That's what I have found really separates successful businesses from the unsuccessful ones - the ability to acknowledge and deal with problems. Not just with good-sounding words and impressive gestures, but with true willingness to accept responsibility for the situation at hand, and to make necessary changes, no matter how uncomfortable that might momentarily be.

And remember - the rewards far outweigh (and outlast) the discomfort. It takes courage and commitment, but just the sheer joy of playing in a bigger league makes it worth it, not to mention the money and all the new options available to you as a byproduct of breakthrough success.