4 tips on how to get started selling


Are you not a fan of making sales? You’re not alone! Most business owners that I’ve met are stuck in this paradoxical reality of:

“I want to have more customers, but I’m not a fan of sales”


A lot of people see it as difficult to get started selling. I’m here to tell you that it’s something that you can easily fit into your work day and find enjoyable as well!


Years ago, when Park Row Marketing was born it was just me. I had no clients and I was frantically looking for a sales campaign to get started selling.


I needed to find something to sell. Much like an accountant with no annual returns to file, it’s pretty hard to be a sales company with nothing to sell.


After a few days of looking, it became clear that I wasn’t going to get my 1st client as quickly as I’d like. It would probably take me about a month to find my first client.


What was bad was that I was burning through my savings quickly. It was important to get started selling something to cover the bills. One morning, I was walking home from a networking meeting and had this thought:


“To cover the bills, what I need is something to sell right now.


I considered buying or making something that maybe I could sell door to door. About 100 yards from my house, I found a pile of scrap wood. I then remembered watching Autumn Watch the night before. They talked about making your own bug hotels and how that’s great to attract insects and birds into your garden.


Then I had the idea, I could make bug hotels for my neighbours! I could sell them door to door around the area. What a great way to get to know the local area, promote local wildlife and cover the bills for a while. I was so excited about this idea as a way of covering the bills, so I picked up as much wood as I could and shuffled toward my front door.


We hadn’t long moved into our new house at the time, so I’m pretty sure anyone who cared to look must have thought it weird to see one of their neighbours in a suit, shuffling toward his door, performing a balancing act with a ridiculous amount of wood.


I spent 2 hours making 10 of the bug hotels that you see above. One evening later that week, I went door to door and sold them for £10 each. I got to chat with my neighbours about the area, introduce myself and if they also wanted a bug hotel then great. It was definitely a nice way to spend a couple of hours in the evening.


The following week, I found some more scrap wood locally and made some more to sell and so on. It covered the bills until we got our first client.


Not sure where to get started selling? Ask “who could I speak to right now about this?”


The sheer vastness of opportunity that is out there can sometimes be a bit daunting or make hard to know where to start. I’ll give you an example, one of the first questions I usually ask a potential client is


“Where do you want to get started selling?”


The intention behind this question is to find out a group of 20 or so companies that we could call right now to talk about your product. If you look too big too fast, sometimes you can find it a bit daunting. One potential client I spoke to replied with:


“We’re aiming at small businesses and there are 4.8 million of those in the UK. So we were thinking of going after the small businesses in the UK and then after that, going after the medium sized businesses.”


Hold on! That’s a pretty big bite you’re taking there. Do you know how long it’d take to speak to 4.8 million small business owners?


Don’t get me wrong, even 1% of those 4.8 million small business owners would mean a very Merry Christmas. But you’d need a fairly big sales team to have 4.8 million conversations in the next year.


4 tips to help get started selling


Sales can seem quite daunting sometimes. So if you’re a small business with a lot on your plate, it’s important to make it as approachable as possible for yourself. So here’s the tip: when you’re thinking of getting going with sales, think:

  • Who can I approach in my immediate area? Your local area is usually the best starting point.
  • Do my friends and family work for/know someone who works for your target companies? This is so often overlooked. Having a contact within a company makes the initial chat so much easier and you’d be surprised who your friends and family know. So make sure you ask around everyone you know, just in case. For the sake of a 5 minute chat or email to your friends, it could get you in front of the right person so much quicker.
  • How would they normally like to start talking about this? Try out a few different ways of saying ‘hello’ to your potential clients: phone calls*, try a personal introductory email* your first call, meeting potential clients at networking events.
  • Then get going! Set yourself an achievable goal each week, focused on the outcome that you’d like e.g. ‘I will go to 2 networking events and make 50 sales calls each week. The outcome I’m looking for is to have 5 quality business conversations with potential clients’