Sales and Marketing Lesson for Introverts

Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/h-k-d/3969908944/

“If you build it they will not come…”

It took me a long time to actually accept that phrase.  Coming from a software and engineering background, when someone would mention the word sales I would naturally think of a sleazy used car salesman.

“Who needs that?” as any good engineer would say.  “Why can’t these people see that the other product sucks and ours is way better?”

I always thought that I just needed to build cool product then I would have customers beating each other over to pay me money for it like on Black Friday.  After all, that is why I got into computers in the first place.  Build it and they will come.  I could hardly wait.

The truth is a product never sells itself.  Even Peter Thiel agrees.  People may get it and they may even love it, but IT WILL NEVER SELL ITSELF!

What about Google you ask?  They didn’t do any marketing in the early days.

Yes that is true.  But even though they didn’t market themselves it doesn’t mean that there wasn’t any marketing going on behind the scenes.  Google’s early users were marketing for them.  Viral marketing is still marketing.

Ok, so what is a honest guy to do? Marketing is not so evil after all; but I still feel like that used car salesman while selling my products.

Don’t think of it as being deceptive because that is not the goal.  In fact, if you are going to market a great product, you must deliver on that product as well.

Instead of thinking of marketing as shameless promotion, think of it as simply a pivot.

But instead of recreating the product, you are simply displaying it in a new light so others can better resonate with it.

Flickr, the photo sharing website (now part of Yahoo), originally started off as a online multiplayer game.  If the founders hadn’t noticed how people were actually using the site, and re-marketed it as something else, Flickr probably wouldn’t have been what it is today.

Marketing is simply discovering that angle that resonates the most with your target market.  Some businesses know it immediately.  Others search aimlessly for it.

So if you are like me and look at marketing and sales as deceiving.  Look again.  Marketing can and should be honest.

Marketing is necessary.  Learn to embrace it.  Zero users equals zero dollars.

 

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Eliot is a software developer by trade and a entrepreneur by spirit. He has built web software for the likes of YMCA, UPS, FedEx, Ford and Harcourt, and helped launch mobile apps like Coupon Policy, TourWrist, and Pocket Legal.

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