In the last post I proposed that the key to going from being a good programmer to a highly paid developer was a change in behavior. In future posts I’ll get into the nitty-gritty detail of what to do, when to do it, and how to know what to do. Before we get into the tactics, however, there are still a few strategy points to cover. None is more important than this one, though:
You are now in the sales business
Most programmers view sales and marketing with suspicion at best and, more commonly, disdain. Forget the people you’ve met form these departments for a moment and focus on the departments goals. The best description of marketing that I’ve read came from Seth Godin who said, "The job of marketing is to get people to know, like, and trust you." The job of sales is, quite simply, to close the deal. There are lots of books about sales such as The Little Red Book of Selling and it will help your career to read at least one, I’ve read several and they all have one thing in common: The Ask. This is probably the most important aspect of sales ever taught and in its simplest form it says:
You are unlikely to get something unless you ask for it
If you remember nothing else from this blog, please remember the line above. There is, of course, more to the sales process than just asking for the sale. The reason The Ask is so important is that without it, none of those other things matter. The future posts that talk about specific tactics are all geared toward getting a response of "Yes" to The Ask, but without asking for something, there’s nothing to say "Yes" to.
Are you shy about asking for things? You’re not alone, but by the time we get deep into the tactics section you’ll feel more confident about it and you’ll realize why The Powers That Be will actually appreciate you asking (Hint: It helps them figure out what you need. In other words you’ll be doing the hardest part of their job for them.)
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