This is the type of article that will either send you to the “Unsubscribe” button or will finally wake-and-shake you into action. The right action.

I’m seeing a disturbing trend in stores, restaurants, among business owners, and even in our Virtual Mastermind forum.
There’s a lot of action and a lot of “busy work”. But not as much real progress and revenue driving as there should be.

Kind of like the old saying about the man down in Texas who is “all hat, no cattle”, a lot of businesses are “all activity, no action”.
The disturbing trend that I see is people doing this and that and the other thing but forgetting the most important action of them all.

Selling.

Take this example. In the last six months I’ve bought several pairs of running shoes. Each time I couldn’t make it any easier for the staff. I walk in, go to the rack, and point to the brand that I want. I give them my size, try them on, whip out my credit card, and make the purchase. This doesn’t take more than ten minutes (I’m a master of efficiency).

Once the initial sale is made, I wait in expectation (and hope) that they will try to sell me some socks. I need socks, but I don’t want to look for them. I want the store staff to recommend the socks to me. I’d say yes to whatever they suggested. I’d spend another $30 on socks if they put even an ounce of effort into trying to sell them. But nothing happens. There’s no suggestion of socks, or shorts, or shirts or even the sports supplements that sit idly beside the cash register.

After a few moments of awkward silence, I, like a girl expecting a good night kiss after a great first date, slowly shuffle dejectedly away, having been denied any further opportunity to enjoy the moment.

Think about how much money is lost every day because the sales staff has not been properly trained to offer more value to the customer. This goes on in clothing stores, furniture stores, and high end luxury stores.

But at least they made the first sale.

Too many business owners, particularly those starting Internet businesses, find all sorts of ways to avoid making any sales in the first place. But if you want to have a business then at some point you have to sell. Otherwise you just have a hobby.

Yes, you can spend months setting up your store, designing logos, creating mission statements, creating brochures, making your website just right, and even studying more and more content from the experts, but none of this makes you money until you finally ask someone to buy.

As ETR Publisher, Matt Smith said at one of our 1-Day Mastermind meetings,  “None of these things make any difference whatsoever unless they specifically help you sell, because selling is the only thing that matters.”

You only get paid for done. Specifically, that really means you only get paid for selling. If you have a website business then you must get your product done as fast as possible, you must get your website sales page online as soon as possible, and you must started sending targeted traffic to the sales page as soon as possible. Oh, and you cannot hesitate in giving your visitors a call to action with a clearly visible, “Click here to order” button on your page.

Likewise, if you’re a salesperson, you need to stop fiddling around with organizing the pencils on your desk and start making your prospecting calls. You need to have your phone sales scripts done, and you need to start dialing for dollars. Nothing else matters.

“Every activity that is on your ‘To Do’ list right now, I want you to ask yourself if it directly contributes to a sale. If this thing isn’t one step removed from a sale, then you probably should put it off, maybe for today, maybe for forever, because a lot of those things don’t matter…You have to be the revenue driver. It must be the thing you think about every day,” Matt said (with great urgency) to our Mastermind attendees.

If you’re just starting a business, then you need to make that first sale. You need to experience the momentum shift that comes from proving that it is possible for you to make money in your business.
Stop messing around with anything that does not involve selling. I want you to focus on nothing else but making sales this week. If your product is 80% done, sell it at a discount price. Tell them they will get free updates when the final touches have been done.

This is what I did in September of 2003. I sold my Turbulence Training fitness product for $9.95 even though it wasn’t 100% done. The next month I raised the price to $19.95. And it still wasn’t done. Then the next month I raised the price to $29.95, and it still wasn’t done. Finally, five months later it was done and the price settled at $39.95. But instead of waiting five months to make money and build momentum, I got my product out to the market and made money and built mental momentum that spurred me to take more action – and more importantly, more action that mattered.

Wouldn’t your product even at only 80% complete still help the majority of your prospects solve a BIG problem in their life and make their lives better?

Unless the answer is a big fat no (and I don’t see how it could be), then stop waiting and start selling.

If your product is 100% done but your sales copy isn’t, then glue yourself to a chair and finish it. And then email your list and tell them to go to the site. It doesn’t matter if you have 10 people or 200 people on the list. You need to start selling.

“Get your idea out there as fast as possible even if it’s not quite ready. Set must-hit deadlines. Let the market tell you if you have a winner or not. If no – move on and fail forward fast. If it’s got potential – then you can make it better.” – Yanik Silver, Maverick Business Rule #10.

Selling is the #1 action item in any business. If it isn’t, then be honest with yourself and admit that your “business” is really just a charity or a hobby.

But if you are here to build a business, a real business, than accept the fact that you must sell something and that you must make the selling of that something your number one priority. And your number one priority must be, as you learned recently, the first project you attack on each morning when you get to work.

As my friend Bedros Keuilian once said, “All the marketing and lead generation in the world means nothing if you can’t convert that prospect into a paying client. If you want to instantly increase your income then learn how to close more sales and how to get more from every sale.”

Stop puttering around like an old retired man in his garage, dinking around with signage and technical mumbo-jumbo. Get focused on what really matters – delivering value to a person that has a problem and convincing them to pay you for your solution.

Stop forgetting to sell.

Instead, start selling and start making money. That’s why you are in business.

[Ed. Note. Craig Ballantyne is the author of Financial Independence Monthly, a complete blueprint to helping you take control of your financial future with a web-based business that you can operate from anywhere in the world – including a coffee shop, your kitchen table, or anywhere around the world where there is Internet access. Discover how you can achieve the American Dream and your financial independence here. You’ve never seen anything like this before.]

Craig Ballantyne

Craig Ballantyne is the author of The Perfect Day Formula: How to Own the Day and Control Your Life. Craig has been a contributor to Men's Health magazine for over 17 years. Today he teaches his gift to high-performing entrepreneurs how to squeeze more out of their days, increase their income, and make more quality time for their families in his Perfect Life Workshop and Work-Life Mastery programs. Craig used his own advice to overcome crippling anxiety attacks in 2006, and he'll teach you his 5 Pillars of Success so you can increase your income, decrease your work time, and live the life of your dreams. Learn more about Craig at craigballantyne.com

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