I’ve been chowing on a book called Endless Referrals and I think it holds the key to “sales” for many entrepreneurs. Sales is a misunderstood concept by many people; it has negative connotations in large part due to the unfortunate behavior of many sales practitioners.
This book turns the notion of sales on its head. It’s a refreshing look at commerce as an exercise in giving. In fact the author (Bob Burg) wrote another little jewel called “The Go Giver” which is a modern-day parable of a salesman hopelessly lost in his self-absorption. The essence of Endless is that people buy from people they know, like and trust. According Burg, the way to generate this kind of goodwill is by sacrificing your own ends and dedicating a good portion of your time to giving.
This may sound trite (and perhaps obvious) but precious few salespeople and even fewer entrepreneurs have learned this little secret of business success (and endless referrals). It may very well be that most of us are not prepared to handle “endless”. We haven’t structured our business so that we have the excess capacity to handle the deluge that would surely come if we had the business development function properly sorted. But that’s a topic for another post.