Paul Kenny at Business of Software 2008: How to Learn to Love your Inner Sales Person

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BoSdinnerlondonLast week, 18 of us gathered for the first ever London BoS dinner. It was a great reminder of how the pub, the pizza parlour and the coffee house – real-life interactions as old as beer itself – trump the web 2.0 pretenders of Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

Whenever I talk to other ISVs there are two recurring themes: pricing and sales. Pricing is hard, as much guesswork and art as science. And most ISVs – those set up by developers, anyway – don’t understand sales.

But help is at hand.

Firstly, check out the video of Paul Kenny at Business of Software 2008 (it’s embedded below). If you think that your software sells itself, or find sales distasteful and sordid, then prepare to be challenged.

Paul starts off his talk by asking the audience to agree or disagree with statements such as:

“I really love being sold to”
“Generally speaking, sales people disappoint me”

You can guess how that went. In response, he says:

“What you’ve experienced in your life are banal, mediocre, inappropriate sales techniques. Over the next hour, I’m going to make it my mission to put you in touch with your inner sales person. I’m going to help you love your sales people a little bit more.”

And, dammit, I think he pulls it off.

There’s no better time to watch this video: as the economy sours, persuading people to open their wallets will get harder. So selling will become more important. Here’s the video:

Secondly, Dan Nunan has agreed to host an online chat about software pricing. He’ll cover why you can’t sell you product for more than $1,000, the wisdom of free, and tricks for charging a higher price in a downturn without offending your customers. It’s at 5pm GMT (12 noon EST, 9am PST) on Tuesday November 18th. Go here to register your interest.

On the forums, Mark Dalgarno asks “Product managers – who needs them (and are they overpaid)?”, and John asks how do you promote software in its pre-launch stage? James Moore has, so far, got the best tenuous analogy between the US elections and the business of software with his comparison with HD-DVD and Blu-ray.

Got an opinion about any of these topics? Post it on the forums.

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