Being a Salesperson Sucks (Think Like a Farmer Instead)



Do you feel like that on Mondays?

You wake up, take the kids to school, and off to the office you drive.

After downing several cups of coffee, you muster the inner strength you need every day to make a living.

You start with the emails to prospects, make a few cold calls, and zip off to an appointment … all with the hope of “closing the deal.”

Some days the tedium wears on you like a musty coat. Other days, days when a sale is made, the “thrill of the kill” makes it all seem worthwhile.

But that momentary exhilaration is replaced with the thought that tomorrow, it starts all over again.

Day in and day out, it’s the same. And yet you know that there has to be a better way to make a living selling.

There is.

The death of a salesman

Long before I joined Copyblogger, I was a senior executive at a local ad agency with the euphemistic title of “Head of New Business Development” — otherwise known as a salesman. (At least I think that’s the word the guys were using when they were talking about me….)

I would spend my day cold calling and even going door-to-door in office buildings to gather leads that I could turn into appointments.

And while I was very good at my job, and closed some major accounts for the agency, I hated the life of a salesman.

Don’t get wrong. I like people. And I liked helping clients solve their problems. But I hated the process of being a salesman. I hated the grind of lead generation and prospecting, all in the hopes of getting a meeting that might result in a sale.

So in my frustration, and out of sheer boredom, I created an email newsletter — sending it once a week to everyone I had ever met who had an email address.

I shared my thoughts and observations about trends in website development and the role of marketing on the Internet.

Months went by with only the occasional complimentary reply.

But then something interesting happened.

Email triumphs again

At the time, I had a lot of contacts at Verizon. A senior executive I had never met was forwarded the email by one of his staff members.

His reply was simple and to the point: “I like the link you shared about that website in your newsletter. Can you come in and present to us about building a new eCommerce site for Verizon?”

Just like that, my newsletter led to a large six-figure project.

It was the year 2000, and my perception of marketing online would never be the same because I had experienced the power of what would eventually be called content marketing.

Are you a hunter or a farmer?

Traditional sales people are analogous to hunters. They stalk their “prey” in hopes of a “killing” that they can return back to the tribe as food (or more to the point, revenue).

In contrast, content marketers share the traits of farmers. They plant seeds and nurture crops that will eventually grow over time into food.

Both hunters and farmers have the same objectives and their own set of challenges.

But the farmer has a major advantage over the hunter.

While the hunters must go into new territories each day to stalk their prey, farmers stay in one place, planting new seeds and reaping the fruits of their efforts on the same ground they have toiled over already.

In return, the land they till becomes infinitely more valuable because it can consistently reap a harvest without the hits and misses of hunting.

It’s no different in business.

Sales people and content marketers share the same goal: generating revenue. The difference is in the tactics they use.

Smart content marketers take the time to lay the groundwork for sustained success. They educate themselves on the tactics and techniques of persuading their audience to act by building their own authority in their space.

(Granted, some sales people do this too … the smart ones who think like content marketers.)

Smart content marketers realize that they cannot be digital sharecroppers on someone else’s land. So they spend the time to build their own online presence on a reliable web host — perfecting their website designs, content optimization, and landing page conversions.

And most important, they will perfect their skills as communicators, listening to their audience and building relationships with them online.

Wen it comes time to harvest, the rate of return for the smart content marketer far exceeds the results of a traditional sales person.

Content marketing creates long-term value

There aren’t any short cuts. Content marketing, like farming, is hard work and takes time. But it’s worth it.

First, generating revenue becomes easier over time. Instead of hunting for prospects, you are growing them organically.

Second, the online presence you build has real monetary value and becomes and financial asset of the organization.

And finally, the reach, influence, and results you achieve through your efforts are exponentially larger than any traditional sales person could hope to achieve.

But for all its benefits, content marketing does lack one important thing: it can be a lonely pursuit.

You’re not alone (anymore)

At least if you were in a traditional sales role, you could interact in-person with people and build social camaraderie through the shared experiences of your mutual pursuits. For content marketers, this hasn’t always been available, convenient, and affordable.

It is now.

This is one of the reasons why we at Copyblogger created a community for content marketers just like us … and just like you.

That’s what Authority is: a content marketing training and networking community designed to accelerate your skills and success.

When you sign up for Authority, you gain immediate access to more than 149 hours of online marketing education, and weekly webinars and seminars on the topics that are most important to you.

You also gain access to an interactive forum with like-minded people who share your goals and objectives. There, you can receive personal answers to each other’s questions, make relationships, and even discover new professional opportunities, and receive feedback from the Copyblogger team.

Join the Authority community now.

So … what are you?

Have you answered my question from above yet?

Are you a hunter … or a farmer? Join the discussion at Google-Plus and let us know.

Obviously we’re farmers here at Copyblogger.

We believe in playing the long game, and we value building long-term trust and credibility over a one-time sale that satisfies today but may be gone tomorrow.

We want repeat sales by repeat customers who know us, like us, and trust us.

That’s how you build a business that lasts.

If that sounds like what you want, join us.

Then maybe you can start looking forward to Mondays instead of dreading them.

Like I do.

Did you like this article?

If this topic interests you, here’s what we suggest you read next: Are You Losing Business When You Hunt for Customers?

About the Author: Sean Jackson is CFO and Partner in Copyblogger Media. Get more from him on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+.

The post Being a Salesperson Sucks (Think Like a Farmer Instead) appeared first on Copyblogger.

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