Beat the Fear & Learn to Sell in 2016

Business development. Sales and marketing.

Like many PWACers, I want and need to grow my business in 2016, yet I do everything possible to avoid do-it-myself sales, marketing and business development!

But in 2015, particularly the last quarter, the universe provided several massive motivational shoves:

  1. My 2015 revenue is down approximately 45%.
  2. My biggest client: “Effective January 11, 2016, we’re cutting your pay rate by 57%. Take it or leave it.”
  3. IT association: “Free sales seminar with Canada’s top sales training organization! Sign up today.”
  4. Steve Semple, a former client and business coach: “Hey, Kara. It’s been a while. Let’s catch up over lunch.”

I can live perfectly well on my 2015 income, but if my income drops another 45% in 2016, I will have to change how I live.

So I went to the IT association’s free seminar, where the self-described top sales training organization’s strategies made perfect sense but cost $10,000. Later that month, Steve outlined his new business model which sounded remarkably similar to the one pitched by Canada’s top sales training organization. 

Over the next few weeks, I thought long and hard about my issues with business development and marketing.

What was holding me back?

  1. I don’t know where to start.
  2. I lack the skills and a systematic sales, marketing and business development process.
  3. I hate feeling like I don’t know what I’m doing.
  4. I really don’t like rejection.
  5. Fear! Of rejection, not knowing where to start and looking like an idiot. 

Thirteen years ago, I’d paid off my house and knew I had to leverage that equity but I was petrified.

Steve asked me: “How do your circumstances and personality characteristics uniquely position you to be a successful real estate investor?”

When I stopped panicking and thought it through logically, I knew exactly how and why I’d be able to buy my first rental property.

So let’s look at why I’m well positioned to tackle my own sales, marketing and business development.

  1. I love learning because although I loathe the “Duh,” I adore the “Aha” that invariably follows when I’m smart enough to stick with it. 
  2. Coaching works for me, and Steve is willing to coach me through business development.
  3. I will not let the fear win or stand in the way of what I really want and plan to keep up – investment properties, a cottage and scuba diving with sharks
  4. I have a great life and I need to succeed at business development to keep living this life that I love so much.

My experience with investment property #1 built the skills, experience and confidence required for investment property #2 just three years later and finally a cottage 10 years after that.

Of course, there were moments I wanted to sell that triplex in Leslieville or my beloved island, but every time, I tackled the challenges and moved past them.

My heart pounded and my stomach did flip-flops when I bought those properties and right now, the thought of tackling the sales, marketing and development required to grow my two businesses, bizwrite.ca and b2bcasestudyexpert.com, is creating a similar physical reaction.

Later this year, I’ll share the lessons I’m sure to learn as I face my fears to embrace the duh to get to the aha as I grow my business in 2016.

Ask yourself: Do you avoid business development? Why? What do you plan to do about that?

Kara Kuryllowicz is PWAC Toronto Chapter’s blog editor.