The Solo Age

Wall Street’s Article in today’s paper, Succeeding in the Age of Going Solo, has some great thoughts for sales people.  The article is really written for all of those professionals who at some point in the last decade faced a layoff and ended up on the street with a resume and no openings.  I am seeing this on the sales side more and more as sales get harder, margins get thinner, and companies are putting projects on hold (although there seems to be some warming on high-tech spending right now).

Here are a few key points:

  • “Waiting for business to find you is not something successful consultants (sales people) do.  Clients know a halfhearted attempt when they see one.”
  • “The consultants (sales people) who are most successful offer a technical skill or expertise that is too expensive or infrequently used for companies to keep in-house. ” (Do you sell one of these?)
  • Cutting edge expertise is vital to long term professional health. Successful consultants don’t let their skills coast, even for a short period.  There are simply too many consultants waiting to take their work” (this goes equally for sales people.)  This means investing in yourselves – getting training, coaching, reading, etc.
  • Bad service warning: “with social networking and the constant contact of email and texting, word or a perceived violation spreads rapidly.”
  • “Think like an entrepreneur” (a quote from my Making Money with Security Part 2 Class).  This means a lot of things…remember most entrepreneurs don’t actually succeed; probably because they are not thinking like entrepreneurs.
  • Entrepreneurs – “need a business plan and a mission statement.”  Sales people need this too – don’t rely on the esoteric statements coming out of corporate or through partners and vendors.
  • The author writes, “Interview after interview, I was also shocked by how unprepared so many new “consultants” were in organizing their businesses.”  I echo this!
  • “They lived in the moment…a business recipe for disaster.”

© David Stelzl 2010


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