Growing up as a kid, The Sally Starr Show was a not-to-miss on my parent’s TV every weeknight. It used to come on the tube right around 5 o’clock, and often Mom would let me watch it, with a good kid-size portion of Sally Starr beans and ground beef or hot dogs for supper. Mmmm, that was some stuff! The show would have The Three Stooges’ short films and plenty of cartoons: Bugs Bunny, the Road Runner, Mickey Mouse and Popeye The Sailor Man!
Eventually, these things were put aside for more contemporary pursuits: baseball and paper routes, cigarettes and cars, then girls. But, things have a way of recycling themselves. Many companies who are just starting out, and who DESPERATELY need a way to expand into their markets, are unwilling to shoulder the costs of sales. They think that Sales is more of an afterthought, something that just happens. They think that Sales is something done in a veil of secrecy and when you pull back the veil…VOILA…there is a bonafide sale! Nothing can be further from the truth. Unless you have been sleeping under a rock, or are a fully-fledged member of The Earth Is Flat Society, Sales is THE single, most difficult skillset to engage and engage successfully. It takes strategy and perseverance. It takes time and money and relationships and contacts and more time and more money. But many startups would prefer to engage sales people, without pay, and only compensate them with commission after a sale is made. Kind of like selling life insurance. “Oh, we will gladly compensate you on a net percentage of the first-year revenue realized after the sale, for your free, hard work to make that happen….” “After the sale…,” which translates to an event horizon that can take maybe 8-12 months to complete.
This practice reminds me of the Popeye character Wimpy, who is always hungry, always bumming and always approaching the other characters with, “I would gladly pay you Tuesday, for a hamburger today.”
He never really got the hamburger. Don’t be a Wimpy.