Entrepreneurship with its ebbs and flows and very non-linear thinking and methodology is a far cry from corporate sales that is systematic and amorous of the big numbers game.
Having been a Sales Professional for over a decade and now adding Entrepreneur to the mix; there is plenty excitement (smile*) but what I can say is that an Entrepreneur can learn a thing or two from a Sales Professional.
Now as an entrepreneur you wear many hats, but one of the most important is going to be salesperson. You must know how to effectively sell your service! No one is coming to buy if you leave it up to anyone. It becomes your responsibility.
With that in mind, below are the five lessons from a Sales Professional to an Entrepreneur:
- Process. Having a sales process helps the sales professional to understand where his prospect is at anytime in the sales cycle. What that means to an Entrepreneur is that after having someone show interest in buying from you, you can identify what you need to do to get them contracting with you or buying from you. Most Entrepreneurs that I have worked with usually need to still figure this out. Not having a sales process means that you are shooting in the dark and remaining hopeful that everyone who has interest will eventually buy.
- Hiding in the background. My corporate sales career forced me to always be a walking representation of the company I worked for. I remember the General Manager sitting with me when I first decided to enter sales and he said, “never forget that people will buy from PEOPLE, they know, like and trust”. Can your potential customers trust you with their problems and moreover your expertise? They will not be able to if you remain hidden and promote the business only.
3. Get over yourself. As a Sales Professional my prospects would often skirt over what I had to say about my company’s excellent features. They did not care one bit! This service was premium, and they were spending alot, therefore they always wanted to ensure that the solution presented was specific to their needs above anything else. As an Entrepreneur, spend less time talking and more time listening.
4. A CRM system is your best friend. If you are new to my blog, welcome but please be sure to check out the many resources that I have available on Customer Relationship Management systems (CRM). I provide Hubspot solutions to my clients and I often speak about its benefits in managing your time, keeping on top of client interactions, and knowing where you are at any stage with a customer. You get to understand your productivity and manage your customers all from one place. For an Entrepreneur, a CRM becomes a must have as your business starts to grow.
5. Handle objections like a boss. My first sales presentation with a critical new client used to be nerve wrecking because I felt the barrage of questions after presenting were almost like a full-frontal attack! With training and experience, I began to embrace objections. Selling can be like psychology, you need to get better at understanding whom you are speaking to and why do they want to buy and who or what is influencing their decision. After a while, I ditched the presentation for a conversation, and I did the research on my prospects before trying to convince them to buy from me. I transferred this to my own business. Always remember that your potential customer is already researching you, you can do the same.
I hope this week’s blog was insightful. As an Entrepreneur in an extraordinary time, your selling efforts must improve to meet the needs of a changed buyer. Let me know your thoughts on this by leaving a comment in the comment section below.