How to Sell And Feel Good

The problem is that most software engineers suck at sales. I personally felt like it was never my job, and never bothered to learn it. Only to discover later that if I ever wanted to grow a successful business I would have to eventually take the bull by the horns and do it. And it’s not only business, being a great salesman can help to build a successful career as well.

Having lack of knowledge and experience in selling, it was very important for me to hear a real story from a person in software industry, who was actually successful at selling his or her consulting services. Luckily, I came across this great interview on The Eventual Millionare podcast where I learned about Ian Altman . He built and sold software consulting businesses before, and he has coined his own method of selling that actually made a lot of sense to me.

I’ve always had this bias about salespeople being sleazy and dishonest, but what Ian found out is that it doesn’t have to be that way. He explains that if you focus on FIT (Finding Impact Together) you actually become a problem solver who works together with the client rather than against him. You focus on results and impact, and if your service doesn’t bring value to the client you walk away.

Enter “Same Side Selling”

I was eager to learn more about his approach and I picked up Ian’s book right away. Since I never closed a sale before, I found Same Side Selling book very informative. Further, I learned that rather than explaining all the things that you offer, if you focus on actual problems, your client would not need to translate it into his own language. And if what you are describing is an actual problem that his business is having, he will be much more likely interested in what you have to say.

The book is full of wisdom on how to sit down with a customer to identify the problem, and figure out if it’s worth solving. Author brings up analogy of puzzle pieces where you need ask a series of well formulated questions to learn about the pieces that your customer has and see if yours fit. Unless you actually get to the underlying issue you won’t know for sure that your solution will bring the results.

Honesty and focusing on the outcome rather than a sale is the best way to get on the same side with a client, and it’s much more likely to benefit both parties in the long run.

This approach of problem solving fits my personality very well, and I will definitely practice it in the near future.

I will have to read this book over again, especially before a meeting with a client, so I can refresh and tune in on the same side selling method. I will let you know how it goes.

Honest Solution

This book has opened my eyes that selling doesn’t have to be adversarial. That figuring out a problem with a client and getting his business should be mutually beneficial. Honest selling helps building reputation and gets repeat business.