Sell or Starve

To get a job, you have to sell yourself.  To start a business or run it successfully, you have to sell a product or service – every day.  Gone are the days of “build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door.”  If you are going to be successful in any way you have to learn to sell, and do it well.

Here are statements I’m hearing from people who have not learned how to sell:

  • “I’ve applied for lots of jobs but no one’s hiring.”
  • “Everywhere I go they tell me I’m over-qualified.”
  • “I’ve got to just stay on unemployment since the economy is so bad.”
  • “No one can afford to engage a career coach right now.”
  • “I’m not expecting any new customers for my landscape business as long as we’re in this recession.”
  • “I’d love to start a business but I don’t have any money.”
  • “I’ve been rejected by 10 publishers – I guess I’m not an author after all.” 
  • “I started a church but it turns out we were in a poor location.”

The cover story in the current issue of Success magazine profiles George Foreman. (Big Business with Big George) Of course we all know George because of his boxing success – or do we?  No, there are lots of boxers, but we know George because he learned how to sell.  He says his athletic ability was less a factor in his success than his selling skills. “If you learn to sell, it’s worth more than a degree,” he says.” It’s worth more than the heavyweight championship of the world. It’s even more important than having a million dollars in the bank. Learn to sell and you’ll never starve.”

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6 Responses to “Sell or Starve”

  1. John Sanchez Says:


    I wholeheartedly agree! But my next question to you is this – How does one go about learning to sell?? I am a CPA, number crunching and analysis is my Forte. But selling I have always hated. I’ve tried numerous times and failed. (Which is why I hate it)
    I agree with George Foreman, if you can sell you will succeed.

    So how does on go about acquiring these skills?

  2. David Says:

    John, you can learn those skills! I am sitting here wishing that I was a lot better @ the numbers side of business! But to answer your question, I would recommend a book called “How to Be a Rainmaker” by Jeffrey Fox. It’s small but powerful and will be of immense help to focus you in on real world skills. Next I would say, stop trying to sell and start to see it as educating. It’s hard if not impossible to get people to do something that they really do not want to do. But you can make your product or service attractive by educating others about how it helps THEM. People also buy from those that they like and trust. Being friendly and doing all that you can to convey trust, will take you far. Hope that this is a help. Blessings and best wishes!!

  3. Carrie Says:

    I’ve heard that network marketing (Avon, Mary Kay, Arbonne) is a great way to learn how to sell. Is this true?

  4. Dan Miller Says:

    Carrie — network marketing is a great way to develop your selling skills along with learning about business in general — IF THAT BUSINESS MODEL FITS YOU! What I mean is that you have to already be a person who meets people easily, is outgoing and a cheerleader. If that describes you then MLM may be a good approach. If you are more introverted and shy, or more of an idea person rather than a people person — it will be a frustrating nightmare.

    I have spoken at lots of MLM events and have lots of friends who make tons of money. But personally, I know it is not a fit for me. So I would never try to make it work for me.

  5. Carrie Says:

    Dan, are there ways that introverts can be taught to sell–that don’t fit conventional methods?

    Even though I can barely look strangers in the eye, I’ve been successful at my workplace because I listen to my customers and try to get them what they need. They know they can count on me. Because I see the same people every day, I’ve learn their individual likes and dislikes well.

    Would introverts do better to focus on their strengths or their work quality, rather than trying to sell like an extrovert?

  6. Integrity is a practical virtue | Systems, procedures, and processes for small business Says:

    […] in the small business sales process By Brian Phillips Dan Miller has a very good blog post on selling. Everyone, and especially the owners of small businesses, is (or should be) adept at […]

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