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Why sales isn’t a dirty word

I’ve been a software developer for over twenty years.

I don’t know if you’ve ever spent time with software developers. To massively generalise, we tend to hide in darkened rooms behind big monitors. There’s a good reason for this – programming is hard and it requires focussed, uninterrupted, concentration for a minimum of four hours, or you just get nothing done.

But because of that, I always had a disdain for sales people. They flit around making promises they can’t keep, sticking their foot in the door, never shutting up, wearing really bad suits.

A couple of years ago, while I was trying to grow my business, I had a revelation. My best clients have been with me for years. We have long-standing relationships. So I should look for the same when I’m trying to get new clients.

My sales process became one of saying no to people. Why not do this instead? Do you really want to work with someone like me? It would be cheaper to buy something off-the-shelf.

And, while I put some people off, the contracts I won were better – higher value, with friendlier clients.