BlogHer PRO '13 Speaker Interviews: Joanne Tombrakos on Being a Salesperson

BlogHer Original Post

For our BlogHer PRO '13 Speaker Interview this week, I bring you Joanne Tombrakos, a storyteller, consultant and digital evangelist. She is speaking during our BlogHer U: Business Development Intensive on Day One of our conference, during a panel that makes various people nervous for many reasons: "If You Want to Make This Your Business, You Have to Be a Sales Person." Gulp. But don't be nervous. You probably know more about sales than you already realize. Read on for what Joanne has to offer.

BlogHer PRO '13 Speaker Interviews: Joanne Tombrakos on Being a Sales Person

You’re speaking on “If You Want to Make This Your Business, You Have to Be a Sales Person” panel during BlogHer U: Can you share a story with our readers as to how that fact became a reality for you? When did you realize you had to become a sales person to make it?

When I walked out of my corporate office for the last time in August 2008, I thought my days of selling and marketing were behind me. I didn’t know exactly what was next for me -- only that writing would be at the cornerstone of whatever "that" was. And writers -- I was certain -- did not sell. They did not market. They had "people" who did that stuff for them.

But the world was changing fast. We had arrived in the Age of Digital and as much as I tried to deny I was wrong -- I was. Then I decided to self-publish my novel. That’s when I knew for sure.

All the stuff that was second nature to me was what everyone else was trying to learn. Everything I thought I was done with was now a distinct advantage. Even getting your point across in 140 characters or less. Salespeople were doing that long before the first Tweet was posted -- except then it was called an elevator pitch. Everywhere I turned it became increasingly clear that in today’s brave new world we were all marketers. We were all sales people. To succeed you needed to be good at it.

My next question will be familiar to you if you caught our previous interview with Erica Lee. I ask this question so you might get a feel for what you need to know on the topic of the speaker's panel -- and maybe why you might need to register for BlogHer PRO '13!

2. If you could only tell readers or panel attendees one thing about being a sales person to advance their businesses, what would it be?

The one thing I would suggest is : Learn how to network. On line and off line.

Additionally, Joanne recently wrote a post perfectly on task with this topic. The title -- "Selling Is Sleazy -- or Is It?" -- speaks volumes about how many people view the task of selling -- whether it's your book or your blog or your idea or your brand or even yourself as a professional woman. I pulled this quote from her piece which pretty much nails why you need to attend her panel:

The word 'sell' continues to conjure up images of inauthenticity and old school marketing tactics.

But not for me. I know better. I know that learning how to sell - especially in today's new economy - is essential if you want success.

That quote right there makes me want to be first in the door for Joanne's panel. You too? Good. Register now and join us in October for BlogHer PRO '13.


Family & Events Section Editor Jenna Hatfield (@FireMom) blogs at Stop, Drop and Blog.