Think of the most amazing coder you know.
He’s able to build brand new tools or apps in days or hours. A world class person that could pull in a six figure salary at any startup in the country, and he probably is.
What separates him from the CEOs that are able to raise millions in funding or connect with hundreds of customers?
It’s not coding skills. If coding were the reason why startup founders are successful, there would be a lot more successful single person companies. And yet you always see these dev staffers paired with a businessman – think Steve Jobs/Steve Wozniak.
The thing that marketers and CEOs have that coders don’t is sales skills. Creating a product that people actually want to buy, and then having the gall to go out there and sell it to them.
Here are some reasons you should learn how to sell if you’re a developer:
Makes it very simple to launch side projects
Once you learn how to sell, you’ll get a better idea of what the market is asking for – and it’ll improve all of your side projects.
For instance, a few weeks ago Wilson from Inspire Beats wanted to build a tool that goes around the web and finds software projects to send to development agencies. That tool would have taken multiple days to put together – time he’d have a hard time justifying if it didn’t have a some sort of profit tied to it.
He asked me to find some customers – and 200 emails later we had enough people signed up to the list to make his tool worthwhile.
You can do the same thing at your job – if customers already want what you’re building and you can demonstrate value, you can basically build whatever you want (even while at work) and the bosses will love you for it.
It’s cheap and a lot simpler than you think
If you talk to most marketers they’ll complicate the entire sales process and mention acronyms like PPC, CPC or CPM. All of those cost a lot of money up front and might not pay off in the long run.
If you start selling over emails, all you need is your time. A few minutes to find a potential customer, a few minutes to come up with a good value statement for them.
Then hit send and wait for the money to come in.
You learn your value as a coder
Ever wonder why coders are able to make so much money in SF? It’s because you guys deliver so much value to companies. Having one good piece of software could save millions of dollars.
Take a company like Yesware. It’s simple email tracking – and yet the tool allows salespeople to follow up more efficiently and close more deals. Meaning more money for the company.
Once you’re able to see how much value you can generate even with a simple tool – your whole life will change.
You’ll get paid more
Even if you don’t want to be an entrepreneur, knowing how to sell a product and how to frame your services and pitch will help you in job interviews. Having a side business gives you options which makes it easier to negotiate pay raises, and learning your value will allow you to ask for a higher salary.
You don’t need to rely on “finding a good sales guy” to start growing your startup. You have all the skills you need, but it’s going to take a few new skills to get there.
Original blog published in the InspireBeats Blog section by Alex Berman. Copyright 2015. Used with permission
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