Sex Sells? – Photo by Klaus Klee / photocase.de
I am often asked what I think is the important skill of an entrepreneur and my answer remains the same for the last 10 years: It´s SALES.
Many founders somehow like the idea of hiring a sales intern and let them do the “dirty work” of cold calling or persuading new customers. Sorry to tell you – but this is not how it works! From my experience picking up the phone and being the first sales person on the front line will remain throughout the different stages of your company. No matter if you are 2 or 200 people. It´s just the customer that changes a little bit when you grow – no matter if it´s a business partner, direct customer or potential investor. It starts with you – it ends with you. And there are no excuses. That´s why my passion for sales, influencing and winning negotiations remains the same throughout the last years.
One of the greatest salespersons was Steve Jobs. Starting Apple Computers by making hundreds of phone calls. Sometimes even calling the same person a hundred times until they´ve reacted. It´s about pushing the business forward. Generating the first momentum that will help you to get things going. Jobs was also a natural negotiation talent and influencer to business partners and his employees. He used all three areas of sales not only the pushiness of a sales rep cold calling and being refused most of the time but also the people skills that are needed if you want to build a really successful business.
These three areas are:
1. Essential Sales Skills
Opening a sales talk, building sales arguments based on buying needs, reacting to objections and most important the Sales ABC – Always Be Closing!
2. People Skills
Reading expressions, listening to small subconscious details and using them, influencing by sympathy and building trust for a longterm relationship. We are not in the 80s and todays sales does not work like “Wolf of Wallstreet” anymore.
3. Negotiation Skills
Remaining calm in stressful situations, especially when the business is new, your minimal/maximal demands, price conditions and knowing when to terminate a negotiation and most important: never ever enter the Bazar Price Ping Pong.
So it´s not only about cold calling and being a pain in the ass. It is fun and challenging to become a master in these skills. You as an entrepreneur and your sales team will need these skills every day throughout your whole career and even your people that are not direct sales persons can learn how to turn every call into a sales call. This is how business are built.
I could write a lot more about this stuff. But if you want to learn more you can find more details on this page about the People Academy. Or you can give me a (sales) call.