Think of the top three skills you think every entrepreneur needs to master to be successful. If being a good salesperson is not on your list, then you need to look at it again. Selling is an essential skill all entrepreneurs must master because it is present in virtually all aspects of an entrepreneur’s life. Think about it for a moment: right from the first day you commence business operations, – and sometimes, even before – you’re selling. Whether it’s pitching your idea to potential investors or showcasing your latest innovation to prospects, the success of your business depends on your ability to sell. Daniel Pink says in his book To Sell is Human, “We’re all in sales now.” Pink found that we spend about 40 percent of our time trying to convince others to do one thing or the other. If you say you are an entrepreneur and you can’t sell, then you are at the mercy of someone else who can. This post will give you three reasons why being a great entrepreneur means being a great salesperson.
You will move more product: If you’re building a company, there will always be need to sell your product. As a young entrepreneur, just starting out on your entrepreneurial journey, you may think that a sales force will do the selling for you, but even when you hire a sales force, you will still need to sell your idea to investors and virtually everyone you meet. The question “what do you do?” never stops being asked and you will need to effectively communicate what your business is about and why people should pay for your product or service. Marketing also requires that you know how to sell.
You need to raise funds: The reality show Shark Tank perfectly showcases the importance of knowing how to sell and the disaster that is an entrepreneur who isn’t a good salesperson. You have probably seen several business ideas that sound great to you, but still get a no from the investors. The product might sound useful, but the entrepreneur’s inability to sell the investors on the idea meant that no investment was gotten. Keep in mind that investors don’t just grant funds to a good idea. A good idea without a capable entrepreneur to drive it forward is as good as dead already. Because of this, investors look at both the product and the entrepreneur before making the decision to invest or not. So, when you see entrepreneurs crash and burn, it’s not just the product, but the entrepreneur’s inability to sell properly.
You will become a better leader: “Leadership is influence. Nothing more, nothing less.” – John C. Maxwell. In short, if you cannot influence people, you cannot lead them. Sales is basically influencing people to take a particular course of action. Therefore, you can’t be a good leader if you don’t know how to sell. You need to be good at selling to motivate your team and make them see the same vision you see. You must clearly communicate your goals to your team and convince them to follow you. When your team sees your goals the way you do, they will be willing to do all they can to help you achieve it. If your team isn’t convinced by your pitch, you will have a handful of workers who are just obeying your requests. Entrepreneurs need followership, not obedience.
In summary, being a good salesperson is required of every entrepreneur, but this skill is even more critical in the early stages of your business. If you don’t have sales skills, it isn’t the end of your entrepreneurial journey. There are several ways to learn how to sell. Get connected to great salespeople, read as many sales books as you can or get a part-time sales job. Sales skills aren’t just limited to business, they are applicable in virtually every aspect of your life.