A Texan Web Developer

Your First Digital Sale

We had a choice: sit uncomfortably close and talk over our shoulders to each other or sit the furthest distance away from each other that the semi-circle booth allowed. Seating was limited in the restaurant we chose so we took what we could get. We picked spots in between the two extremes and started chatting after we placed our lunch orders. Mark is a lifetime mentor and friend. He’s known me almost 15 years and he and his wife mentored Amanda and I before we were married. He wanted to meet and catch up on my career changes. I was six months out from quitting my bank IT job to be a freelance web developer. It was mid-2008.

A different way to do business

Mark is a successful sales executive with a company that manufactures large scale printers with price tags in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Along with the very high price tag the sales pipeline for these products was very long and very high-touch. I explained to Mark how my new job would be working from my house and on the internet. He looked at me quizzically when I described how I had never met any of my customers in person nor talked to them on the phone, and sometimes didn’t even know their full name. Mark was supportive, encouraged me and our lunch ended.

The first digital sale

Back then I wasn’t selling products, but doing project and hourly client work. After switching to products the same was true about customer interactions, but there was a higher chance that I would have no interaction with the customer. They could just ‘find’ me and give me money. September 3, 2012 08:04:51 PM That was the first sale to someone I never met nor interacted with before. This product had taken me about 80 hours to build; much longer than previous plugins. I didn’t know if it would sell or would sit idle and collect digital dust. Getting that first sales email was exhilarating!

I had been selling plugins on WooThemes.com for 10 months, but this was the first purchase on my own site. It was exhilarating, and at the same time uneventful. The customer found my site, bought my plugin, and we never communicated afterwards. Today I know that there are ways to keep the customer engaged and it’s important to do follow up after the sale, but back then that didn’t matter. I had cleared the hurdle of the first sale and I was hooked! I was hooked on products and motivated to make more.

Do you remember your first digital sale? Has the excitement of receiving orders changed for you?