During my many years of reviewing and analyzing inventions, new products and service offerings I have been amazed by the innate fear of selling expressed by so many otherwise capable entrepreneurs. There exists a palpable fear of selling that mimics vertigo, arachnophobia or a fear of snakes. This fear should never stop a project from successfully entering the marketplace.

Ponder the daily aspects of life virtually all of us experience. We seek out, and interview, for jobs. We seek out, then court, and marry our mate. We compete in sports, lobby for promotions, seek support for church and charities, and support causes. Each of these, and so many other activities, require us to utilize some portion of a sales experience.

In reality, sales are nothing more than asking for a preferred result. The seller wants to receive consideration in return for placement, or acceptance of their product or service. A selling situation almost always requires an equal transfer of benefits. A simple example is selling a car. If book value of a car is $5000, and the seller asks $7500, the sale will almost never happen unless a witless soul arrives and can be hustled.

Nevertheless, many people get the sweats, can’t sleep, or hyperventilate at the mere thought of an imminent sales presentation. No matter how confident they may be in all other situations, standing, presenting, selling their opportunity before a stranger is a chilling experience. There are affordable alternative options available to avoid this difficult hurdle for many entrepreneurs.

1. Utilize the inter-net. There are many web-sites specializing in specific areas of sales: technology, consumer products, hard-goods, giftware, etc.
SalesGenie.com is one, but a thorough search will turn up many more. These e-commerce sites specialize in matching sales agents with appropriate products.

2. Research trade organizations specializing in your product category. One example, if you develop a new hair care device, research the Barber, Beauty, Salon Institute (BBSI). This is an industry specific trade group that organizes expositions, lobbies, provides research and acts as a central clearing-house for the salon market. Sales agents are members and are always seeking out new products to represent, and they work on commission. From hardware to auto parts there are similar trade associations seeking the next hot new product.

3. Hire a consultant. There are many consultants specializing in sales and marketing within specific industry categories. The advantage of a sales consultant is that they will work more closely with a seller to customize the approach, strategy, the offers and promotions. This will result in a stronger opportunity to close a deal, and that is always goal number one. Search the inter-net using keywords such as sales consultant, sales engineer, sales strategy, marketing consultant, and hundreds of other search-word combinations. Remember to always get and check references.

4. Visit and utilize gift mart showrooms. There are huge permanent Gift Marts in Dallas, Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and Los Angeles. Millions of square feet are devoted to presenting a bewildering array of products in licensed showrooms. Each showroom also has a field sales force covering specific states. These territories are assigned by vendors (sellers) and are commission based. Again, most of these thousands of showrooms specialize in a product or category. From Christmas, to lighting, to tabletop, to clocks, and thousands of other product categories, you may discover a sales group potentially ready to handle your line of product.

5. Seek out expositions, fairs and trade shows specific to your commercial opportunity. I typically walk trade shows to network for clients. This is invaluable. Each category of product has an inside baseball aspect. Trade terminology, unique trade terms, assigned coverage territories, trend cycles vary greatly by industry. You need to learn what is going within your area of interest and there is no better place than shows to study, research and meet potential sales partners.

These are only a few ideas offering alternatives to fear of selling. There are far too many opportunities that never get off the ground simply because the creator believes, “I am not a salesman”. You do not have to be. There is a sea of experienced sales talent ready and able to sell their expertise.

Author's Bio: 

Geoff Ficke has been a serial entrepreneur for almost 50 years. As a small boy, earning his spending money doing odd jobs in the neighborhood, he learned the value of selling himself, offering service and value for money.

After putting himself through the University of Kentucky (B.A. Broadcast Journalism, 1969) and serving in the United States Marine Corp, Mr. Ficke commenced a career in the cosmetic industry. After rising to National Sales Manager for Vidal Sassoon Hair Care at age 28, he then launched a number of ventures, including Rubigo Cosmetics, Parfums Pierre Wulff Paris, Le Bain Couture and Fashion Fragrance.

Geoff Ficke and his consulting firm, Duquesa Marketing, Inc. (www.duquesamarketing.com) has assisted businesses large and small, domestic and international, entrepreneurs, inventors and students in new product development, capital formation, licensing, marketing, sales and business plans and successful implementation of his customized strategies. He is a Senior Fellow at the Page Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, Business School, Miami University, Oxford, Ohio.