Saturday, December 20, 2014 12:10am
North Adams, MA now: 25 °   
Send news, tips, press releases and questions to info@iBerkshires.com
The Berkshires online guide to events, news and Berkshire County community information.
SIGN IN | REGISTER NOW   

Home About Archives RSS Feed
That feeling in the pit of my stomach
By: Allen Jezouit, @BerkshireCountyBusiness On: 08:00AM / Tuesday August 03, 2010
Important
0
Interesting
0
Funny
0
Awesome
0
Infuriating
0
Ridiculous
0

You know the feeling. The, "Oh boy ... I hope this works." Or, "Whoa ... we better get this contract." Or any of a thousand other variations of that same sensation. One word. Doubt. The entrepreneur's worst enemy. Heck, our economy's worst enemy. Doubt. Because, doubt is ultimately what stops us from taking risks, and what keeps our economy stagnant right now.

My company, in cooperation with our printer/partner, recently published our first catalog and started mailing it this week. We worked on it for two months including building a website that complements it in look, feel, colors, etc. There is some fear involved when you are small business and you are investing in a marketing campaign like this for the first time. But, how else do you grow?

1) If you stop marketing, you stop selling.

2) If you stop selling, you stop growing.

3) And, if you stop growing, you start dying - it is that simple.

Knowing all that, there is still doubt. Amazing, isn't it?

I've been fortunate to work for some great people over the years, people I really admire. The ones I admire the most are the ones who - in their own way - have rolled the dice. Some have been corporate types, who rolled the dice by earning promotions and accepting relocation after relocation in order to move up the ladder. In a lot of industries, that's the path people must follow to become C-level executives. Nomadic. But, for some, the benefits are reaped when retirement comes in early to mid-50's with a 7-,  8-, or even 9-figure nest egg in stock and options accumulated over a lifetime spent in airports and hotels. That takes a certain type of commitment, and plenty of opportunities for doubt. Do you move when the kids are in high school? Do you go to work for this particular manager, who has a bad reputation? Do you leave one company to move to a competitor?

That said, true doubt can only be found in entrepreneurs. The kind of doubt corporate lifers experience as described above is troubling, but pales in comparison with the doubt entrepreneurs experience. Entrepreneurs have that much doubt before breakfast. To paraphrase that old recruiting commercial, "Entrepreneurs ... we have more doubt by 6am than you have all day."  Doubt about making payroll. Doubt about hiring. Doubt about the economy. Make it or break it sort of doubt.

I think back to a prior job of mine. Whenever a new real estate project was going on the market, I'd wake up shaking on the mornings that the advertising was supposed to start. Maybe a million piece postcard mailing was due to start showing up in people's homes that day. Or, a two week radio and television blitz was starting. Did I pick the right newspapers? Did we buy the right mailing list? Did we put the right phone number on the postcard? I'd be on pins and needles until I got a call from the sales manager saying, "The phone is ringing off the hook here!" The anticipation was incredible. When I think about the risks that the developers were taking when they laid out the money to pay for the land, the permits, the roads, the amenities, the marketing ... well, you've got to have cast-iron guts to be in that business.

Doubt is working against our country right now. Companies have doubts about their customers, their vendors, their banks. Bankers are leery to extend credit even to each other. People are leery to borrow, fearing for their jobs. Corruption and conflict in DC coupled with national mid-term elections that are less than 100 days away further fans the flames of doubt. Wall Street teeters and totters, bullish one month, bearish the next. It is an ugly, visceral thing, this doubt. Yet, there are signs we are shaking off this doubt. The American spirit is not easily quashed. Some of us must still love that doubt. Revel in it. New companies continue to spring up. New business relationships are formed and new technologies are designed and marketed. And, new catalogs are put in the mail ...



Write a comment - 1 Comment       Tags: berkshire direct, marketing, economy, doubt      
Did I Just Say That Out Loud?
By: By Allen Jezouit On: 12:27PM / Saturday July 17, 2010
Important
0
Interesting
0
Funny
0
Awesome
0
Infuriating
0
Ridiculous
0

Every now and then, I will say something completely inappropriate out loud — and on purpose — and then follow it up with, "Did I just say that out loud? That was just supposed to be my inside-my-head voice." It gets some laughs. Maybe not. I like to think it does.

Anyhow, as a salesperson with tons of experience selling high-tech products and services, there is one situation in particular that I frequently find myself in:

"You have no idea what I'm talking about, do you?"

Ever been in a meeting with someone where you are presenting an idea or a concept that you have a really good grasp of and you realize that the decision-maker you are presenting to has no idea what you are talking about? You understand the math of it, the science of it, the language of it, etc., at a high level, and he or she hasn't a clue. Maybe some of the decision-maker's minions who are in the meeting get it, but the guy or gal who will write the check is not feeling warm and fuzzy at the conceptual level, much less at the "how do we implement this" or "why should I buy this" level.

Well, what do you do about it? Do you punt and say to yourself, "This meeting is going to be a total waste. If he or she doesn't get my brilliant presentation, I'm hosed." Or, do you face up to the challenge at hand and try to make the best of the opportunity? As a small-business owner, I know that I can't miss chances with too many decision-makers. If I've worked hard to get myself that meeting, I must make the best of that situation.

What can you do? Well, for starters, don't say something like, "You have no idea what I'm talking about, do you?" Or, act in such a way as if to imply that is the case. Adopt the role of trusted advisor or teacher and earn your customer's trust. You've worked so hard to be in this room with this person for this meeting. A little patience can go a long way. Some things to consider:

• Don't assume that they will make even an obvious connection or draw the right conclusions on their own. Explain everything in great detail. Leave nothing to chance. Connect the dots. If you're going to succeed, you will find yourself saying variations of, "And, that's important because ..." a lot during the course of the meeting.

• Use open-ended questions to figure out the customer's personality quickly. Is he a "numbers guy"? Is she going to be sold with a "3rd party anecdotal story" approach? There are ways to communicate just about any concept with anybody. Don't give up.

• Remember that you are not expert at everything either. Begin a relationship built on mutual respect in that first meeting.

If you're like most entrepreneurs — chief, cook and bottle washer — one of your titles is "salesperson." And, if you've been selling for any number of years, you've probably encountered similar situations. Regardless of how you may have handled it in the past, in the future, recognize the situation for the opportunity that it is and take full advantage. For, truth be told — if you learn to recognize and capitalize on the less-than-optimum opportunities, too, your sales pipeline shall be full.

Let's face it. While total ignorance on the part of a potential buyer of your goods/service/concept would never be confused with an outright "buying signal," it is in fact a "how to sell to me signal" that is being shared with you. Don't miss out! Anyone can sell the lay-downs (or lay-ups, if you prefer). Great salespeople can close anyone. In this economy, if your small business is going to thrive, you need to become a great salesperson.

 



Write a comment - 0 Comments       Tags: sales, small business marketing, marketing      
Page 1 of 1 1  
News Headlines
Battalion Falls at Danville
Berkshire County Arc Receives Workplace Wellness Grant
Cultural Pittsfield This Week:Dec. 19-Jan. 4
Groundbreaking Ceremony Held at New Williamstown Senior Housing
Shakespeare In the Park Will Resume At Pittsfield Common
Park Street Reconstruction Will Be Completed In Spring
'Exodus: Gods and Kings': And Frogs, Too
Hotel on North Construction Third Complete
Waynick, Cappadona Have Big Games in Youth Basketball League
Adams Police Foresees Full Staffing, Adds North Adams Officer


Categories:
Economy (11)
Finance (4)
Marketing (17)
Sales (4)
Archives:
Tags:
Williamstown Search Engine Optimization Financials Deficit Small Business Marketing Chamber Of Commerce Custom Business Solutions Berkshire County Seminar Budget Civil Liberties Social Media Cash Flow Analysis Marketing Advertising Books Sales Bigcommerce Massachusetts Election Facebook Economy Seo Education Berkshire Direct Public Safety Security Nobel Prize Ecommerce Measure Web Security Survey Cnbc Unemployment Entrepreneur
Popular Entries:
JC Penney and "black hat" SEO
Why does "Tea Party" have to equal "Right Wing" or "extremist"?
Easier and easier
Holy cow!
Nobel Prize in Economics Awarded for Theory on Why Unemployment Remains So High
What will the Berkshires look like in 20 or 25 years?
Chamber Seminar: Email Marketing
Is anyone else feeling this way?
Leadership
WE HAVE TO BE BETTER, WE LIVE HERE.
Recent Entries:
Chamber Seminar: Email Marketing
That didn't take long
Holy cow!
JC Penney and "black hat" SEO
Easier and easier
Chamber Seminar on eCommerce
Gotta love 2011 so far!
Mass., NY could lose more seats in Congress
The 12 Days of Holiday Revenue Maximization for Your Online Store
5 New Online Services Perfect for Small Businesses


View All
Girls BB: S Hadley vs Hoosac
Friday night girls BB game final - Hoosac 65 South Hadley...
Girls BB: Mount Greylock vs...
Greylock beats Wahconah 52-46
Hotel on North Construction
Media and local officials got a tour of the under...
Hockey: Wahconah vs Taconic
Andrew Beaudoin scored two goals and added an assist to...
Swimming: St. Joe s vs...
Emma Whitney and Jesse Tobin each won two events to lead...
Boys BB: St. Joe vs Drury
The annual Gene Wein Boys Basketball Holiday Tournament got...
Boys BB: Monument Mountain vs...
The annual Gene Wein Boys Basketball Holiday Tournament got...
Girls BB: St. Joe's vs McCann
McCann Tech girl's win over St. Joe's, Monday night at...
Cheshire Church Christmas...
Cheshire residents walked or traveled by hayride to...
Sen. Downing's Holiday Open...
State Sen. Benjamin B. Downing held his annual holiday open...
Crane Winter Wonderland 2014
Santa's Winter Wonderland at the Crane Mansion.
Boys BB: Chicopee Comp vs...
The Drury boys basketball team recorded its first "W" in...
McCann LPN Graduates 2014
McCann Technical School's Licensed Practical Nursing...
MCLA Honors Adams Scholars
MCLA recognized the achievement of high school seniors who...
Wahconah Falls in State Title...
Wahconah never did get those points in a 43-0 loss in the...
Pittsfield March for Justice
More than 200 Pittsfield and county residents marched on...
Girls BB: S Hadley vs Hoosac
Friday night girls BB game final - Hoosac 65 South Hadley...
Girls BB: Mount Greylock vs...
Greylock beats Wahconah 52-46
Hotel on North Construction
Media and local officials got a tour of the under...
Hockey: Wahconah vs Taconic
Andrew Beaudoin scored two goals and added an assist to...
Swimming: St. Joe s vs...
Emma Whitney and Jesse Tobin each won two events to lead...
| Home | A & E | Business | Community News | Dining | Real Estate | Schools | Sports & Outdoors | Berkshires Weather | Weddings
Advertise | Recommend This Page | Help Contact Us | Privacy Policy| User Agreement
iBerkshires.com is owned and operated by: Boxcar Media 102 Main Street, North Adams, MA 01247 -- T. 413-663-3384 F.413-664-4251
© 2000 Boxcar Media LLC - All rights reserved