January 22, 2013 by Robert Koci
I love airport living. I have every electronic device you can buy from Apple to stay in touch with work. I am fed if I ask and offered distractions like magazines, snacks and dramatic architecture. Everyone except the people working are happy because they are going somewhere and they generally feel special. There are aggravations, but there are solutions, too, that usually involve smiling people looking to make your life as comfortable as possible.
I am headed to Saskatoon for a trade show hosted by the Western Retail Lumberman’s Association (WRLA). I’ll meet with potential advertisers for Canadian Contractor and its sister publication Hardware Merchandising. With about eight months of selling experience behind me, I am at the cusp of feeling like I know what I am doing. Mostly, however, selling is disappointment punctuated by very short bursts of satisfaction. I mean to say it is very much unlike building, where the satisfactions are more predictable and last longer. Usually at the end of the day you can “down tools,” look back at the consequence of your efforts as you load up your truck and say with a smile, “I built that.” Selling, on the other hand, can torture you in the most unpredictable ways.
I can see why general contractors who are very good at building find selling so hard. People are much more unpredictable than lumber, concrete or steel. You cut a 2×4 one inch too short and it stays one inch too short forever. In selling, you can get a “yes” one day and a “gee sorry” from the same person in the same hour. They only close to a sure thing is a signature on a contract, and even that is subject to the vagaries of human frailty.
But sell we must if we are to be a successful, you at your building and me at my publishing.
It is in part why I am happy to be doing this. More than when I was the editor of Canadian Contractor, I am experiencing what you are experiencing and so I am much more connected to you. For all the fun of making a magazine, the work of convincing advertisers it is worth putting money into it is essential to the writing continuing month after month. The boys on site and the folks in the office all go away if you don’t sell.
That is why I can’t recommend enough that you take selling seriously. Take hold of the teaching Mike Draper has been doing in the Contractor U department of the magazine and here online. You MUST learn to sell and do it well if you are to enjoy being in business.
Go get ’em.