The Selling Owner (workimus maximus sellimus minumus) is a breed in and of itself. Generally appearing at dawn and disappearing late at night, this is an active beast and one that wears many hats: Customer Service, Accounting, Delivery, Press/Bindery Stand In, and often, Janitor.
The one hat that gathers dust is that of Sales.
Very often, the Selling Owner lets that one sit undisturbed until it is absolutely, positively necessary. It certainly wasn’t in the job description way back when. Clients would come in, hand over a job, and chat it up in a Mayberry RFD kind of way. Good times. Today, sadly, it’s sell or die for the Selling Owner and yet too many sit frozen staring at the quiet phone, wondering when Opie is going to come in and order some copies of Aunt Bea’s new book: Things I Found in My Hairdo One Day.
Why won’t the Selling Owner sell? There are probably more reasons than these, but here are the top 11 that I hear in my conversations, both verbal and electronic:
- Don’t want to
- Don’t see the need
- No time (perception and reality)
- Don’t know who to call on
- Don’t know what to say
- Too many distractions—everyone and everything else comes first
- Lack of commitment
- No accountability
- Procrastination (“I’ll do it first thing” becomes “I’ll do it before lunch” becomes “I’ll do it before I leave” becomes “I’ll do it first thing” and the cycle repeats)
- “I’m not a sales guy” or “I’m not the type”
But, I must say, the number one reason why Selling Owners won’t sell is Fear.
Calling on the Unknown Customer is terrifying and it keeps them frozen. Necessity being the mother on Intervention, their shrinking profits might be the one thing that gets them out there, but hopefully they won’t wait that long.
Picture yourself as a child standing on the edge of a pool. You look at the water and think, “I’ll bet it’s cold.” You stand there for a while trying to talk yourself in to jumping before your Accountant or Spouse comes along and pushes you. Either way, once you finally do leave the safety of the edge, you find it’s not as bad as you thought. The water actually feels good and you remember how much fun you had the last time you were surrounded by water. You move your arms and legs and not only stay afloat, but actually do some laps, correctly asking yourself “I was afraid of this?”
Are you on the edge? Is Fear holding you back? Well, I have a suggestion: Take the plunge and come on in. The water’s fine!