Q3 is over. It's been over for a day already but it seems like it was a week ago. This has been one of the busiest Q3's in my career as a Sales Engineer and I'm off to Montreal again. I'm visiting customers and turning some prospects into new customers. Q4 is going to be even crazier, but I enjoy this.
The Sales life is strange when you think about it. You can't make anyone buy anything they don't want or need. Remember that scene at the end Wolf on Wall Street? Where Jordan Belfort comes out after being in prison and tells the audience to "sell me this pen." He goes around to the audience and they're completely clueless.
If you watched the entire movie, you'll remember this scene.
Selling pens is about creating a need or a want. It doesn't matter if it's a commodity like a pen. Pens coming 100's of colors or brands and theirs nothing unique about them until you need one. Ever needed to fill out a custom's form at 30,000 feet minutes before you land? Ever been in New York City during a rain storm without an umbrella? You get the idea.
Open Source Selling
The same goes for selling software, especially open source. How can you make money if you give it away for free? After all the creators spend time maintaining and building it. What makes it so valuable? It's not the free part, it's the enabling the user to turbo charge their results.
It's quite simple but usually overlooked. You make the software bleeding edge innovation and give it away. Then you keep innovating, making it faster and better. You keep giving it away. If it's what people want, they'll take it. Use it. Comment on it. Then build infrastructure around it. Then you sell support. You support people putting your open source software in production. You show them how to save time, make money, or save money through efficiencies. You become an extension of their innovation arm and their strategic partner.
That's how you sell open source. That's how you sell something free.
Learn this lesson because software is eating the world.