Dan Miller has a very good blog post on selling. Everyone, and especially the owners of small businesses, is (or should be) adept at selling. Even when you are interviewing for a job with another company, you are selling yourself and your skills. As Dan puts it:
If you are going to be successful in any way you have to learn to sell, and do it well.
Dan references George Foreman, who initially gained fame as an Olympic and professional boxer. George has subsequently become even more famous for his line of cooking products. Success Magazine has a story on George that is both informative and inspiring. George emphasizes the importance of selling:
If you learn to sell, it’s worth more than a degree. 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.
But it isn’t all about selling. George also emphasizes the role of integrity:
You don’t want to lie about anything. And it’s something that people will be happy about once they get to know you. Because people count on you.
There are a lot of guys who are successful, they make a lot of big money, I mean millions overnight with a contract, and they don’t understand the evaporation. It evaporates. You’re always back to square one. I found that out, so integrity is how I do business. That’s my main asset.
As I have said many times, sales isn’t about manipulation or deceit. It is about education—learning the customer’s needs and wants—and then educating the customer how your company can meet those values. When you act with integrity you will naturally develop the trust and confidence necessary to make the sale.