Somewhere along the line, “sales” became a dirty word.
When you think of a sales rep most people imagine a door-to-door salesmen shoving a product down your throat or the vultures waiting to pounce at a used car lot. You can probably already see the greasy hair and the cheap suit in your mind, right?
And even though I never like referring to what I do as “sales”
After hours and hours trying to redefine it, I had a realization.
There’s just no better word for it.
I do sales.
But so, do you.
Everyone is in sales.
No matter what you’re doing in life, I’m willing to bet there’s a sales angle.
- When you’re chasing a promotion at work, you need to sell yourself for the position.
- When you’re renting a flash new apartment, you need to sell yourself to the landlord.
- When you’re looking for the love of your life, well, you’re selling them on you too.
Whether we like to admit it or not, sales is actually a big part of life.
Even more so for entrepreneurs.
If you want to have any sort of success in your business, you need to be able to sell.
Selling is the gatekeeper
You don’t need to be able to sell ice to the Eskimo’s, but if you’re not even trying to sell that’s a major red flag in your business. Selling is the gatekeeper to everything else.
“Without sales, you don’t have a business. You’ve got a ticking time bomb”
Sales brings the money in, the revenue, the new clients you need to be adding to your roster so you can actually start building a business. It doesn’t matter if you’ve just had a massive investment or are bootstrapping like crazy, without sales, your capital will eventually run out, and your business will be dead in the water.
Selling pushes your boundaries
You know what’s funny? When I started putting a focus on selling my business grew faster. Selling pushed me out of my comfort zone, in more ways than one.
“If you’re not getting uncomfortable in your job, you’re not pushing hard enough.”
Whether you like it or not, being in business often means getting uncomfortable. You’ve got to learn new skills, push your boundaries, and do more. Otherwise all your efforts, everything your working on will be for nothing, once the competition takes over. If you’re not a step ahead, you’ll be one of the 9 out of 10 businesses that just don’t make it.
Selling builds loyalty
Done right, good salesmanship is all about building relationships, and with good relationships comes one of the most critical aspects of running a business, loyalty.
“When customers love you, and love the work you do, they’ll beat a path to your door.”
I shouldn’t have to tell you that loyalty is a stepping stone to a sustainable business. For one, it’s far cheaper to keep a past client happy than it is to convert a new prospect. But the kicker here is trust. Loyal customers, they trust you’ll do right by them. And they’ll keep coming back to you, spending their money again and again, because of that loyalty.
Selling entices investors
Watch any episode of Shark Tank, ever, and you’ll see this one in action. Of course, a good idea will get your foot in the door, but sales is what gets an investor to cut you a check.
“If you can’t sell an investor on your business, you don’t deserve their capital.”
Getting people to part with their heard-earned cash is one of the hardest tasks you’ll face as an entrepreneur. You need to convince hardened sharks, people who know the business world like the back of their hands, why you’re worth investing in. Not being able to sell is why so many aspiring entrepreneurs struggle to get the capital they need to grow.
Selling opens doors
I’ve found that when I truly believe in the products I’m selling, and my heart is in the business, it opens doors. The people you’re talking to you can see it.
“If you wouldn’t buy your own product, why the heck should anyone else?”
But not just for customers. New suppliers and new vendors are often taking a roll of the dice with a new partner, and many will rely on their gut before signing a deal. Why should they trust you if your heart isn’t in the game? Put yourself behind the products your selling, and doors will start opening to bigger and better opportunities.
Selling fosters engagement
But it’s not just partners and vendors this works for, being able to sell is fundamental to creating a strong team, aligned to achieving your vision for the company.
“If you can’t sell your team on the vision, you’re up a certain creek without a paddle…”
Your job is to sell your staff on your vision for the company, the goals you have for the business and get them motivated. Otherwise why in the hell would they get on board to start with? Why would they continue to hang around? Forget clients for a second here, the first people you need to sell are your team. That’s where too many people go wrong.
Selling is contagious
When you truly believe in what you’re doing, it creates an energy. A force that is almost contagious, as everyone you know simply wants to be a part of it.
“Tap into your enthusiasm and passion, and sales will happen naturally as a result.”
As people, we want to be on the winning team. Clients can almost sense everything you’re doing, and they want in. They want to be a part of something. If you create a company that centers around sales, selling becomes very easy. You won’t need to rely on pushy tactics or outdated techniques, instead, clients will be beating a path to your door.
In closing, I leave you with a simple thought.
Sales is key, the heart of a business.
Your job is to push yourself to do what’s required to grow your business, whether you like it or not. I may not have always considered myself a “salesman,” but if I hadn’t figured out how to sell, I can tell you this with certainty. I wouldn’t have a business anymore.
If you want to build a successful business, you need to master sales.