|Things I've Learned.|
First of all you must make sure your customers (or prospective buyers) are fully aware of your company, trust in it and have confidence in the product or service you are selling.
Then, if you have employees, you’ll probably have to make sure they feel confident and well supported while collaborating with you in your business project. And if you look around, you may also have noticed you need to capture your industry’s attention, your market and especially that of the audience you’re aiming to, which is the ultimate reason why you are in business, right?
And if you have business partners, then things get a bit more complicated because you have to secure their full support at all times, making sure they know you have the ability to take the ship to safe harbor and, if any difficult or unexpected situation should arise, you'll be perfectly able to make all decisions required without further compromising the future of the project itself.
As you can see, at all times you are using a very powerful set of business skills you may not even know you had, or even never associated with something related to selling your own ideas to people.
Because, after all, and at all times, we're all selling something to somebody.
What have I learned, as a professional sales representative for many years, that could be helpful to you during your journey as an entrepreneur?
Good sales people develop a strong moral.
And although many people believe that to be a good sales representative one must be a mischievous person with bad habits, or from time to time dive into "the dark side of the force", really professional sales representatives who considered themselves valuable and worthy (or at least do their best for it), have a strong moral.
Why is this?
Because professional sales people strongly rely on their reputation, and also understand they won’t ever be able to develop a strong professional reputation just living their lives doing things they shouldn’t do at all or the kind of things that might be considered not completely right, especially when it comes to their professional roles.
A successful entrepreneur must always be a morally strong person and build a solid reputation.
One of the things I have learned throughout my career, regardless of those huge economic results I might get from a client, is that it’s much more important to remain an honest professional who does the right thing whenever possible, even when it might involve walking away from a good deal or even quit working with a client whose practices are openly questionable.
As an entrepreneur, don’t ever take the risk of having your whole professional and personal integrity being put in the spotlight just because, one day, you decided to cross the line and go into the shade of unethical, questionable behaviors. It’s not worth it.
And being a morally strong professional, you’ve a greater chance to earn your prospects’ trust.
One thing takes you to the next one: Who doesn’t like to do business with someone who proves to be a real professional, respectable and always acts with honesty? Your integrity and your ability to gain other’s people trust go hand in hand, and is a skill that real good, professional sales guys learn to develop.
Because at the end we’ve come to understand it’s useless to have a customer who will only buy from you once. We understand the real value of any business relationship is to last for many, many years, developing customers who truly trust in us and the business we represent.
They should also feel confident enough as to buy your products and services whenever they need to, knowing they will never be disappointed at all.
As an entrepreneur, you must learn to earn the trust of the people around you, both customers and employees, suppliers and partners.
Trust, for sure you already know, is a very precious gift you cannot earn overnight, but can be destroyed in just a couple of seconds with greatest ease.
That is why you must put every grain of sand in your side to build your customer’s trust, the same thing with people around you. You have to become a morally strong person and build a strong reputation.
Good salespeople will always have a plan to achieve their goals.
And though those plans may not be as formal as the word itself implies, any good salesperson understands it will never get the best results if it’s not guided by a plan, even the simplest one.
Starting by your need to understand your market, competitors and customers, to designing a way to reach out for the largest number of well-qualified prospects, particularly when it comes to the sales area, you must develop a strategic kind of thinking that is not casual at all.
As an entrepreneur your ability to plan the development of your business is crucial to achieving its goals.
And this is a kind of thinking that comes really handy when you are an entrepreneur or are running your own business because, after all, you want to take your business and project to a specific place and achieve certain goals, and for all of this you will alway need to have a road map to guide you.
You can not inspire confidence in your project if you do not believe it yourself.
Hundreds of times I have seen sales people engaged in selling products they do not trust, trying to memorize a sales pitch that doesn’t make any sense in their minds, trying to make presentations to their clients when, at the end of the day, they are just thinking about when it will be time to get back home.
It never works and never will. You can only sell something you believe in, something you’re confident with, something you trust. If you don’t believe in the product or solution you are offering your client, they will notice it before you can realize and the whole sales process will go down the drain.
If you as the entrepreneur don’t believe your own story, how can you inspire others to follow and cooperate with you?
My best years as a salesman were in the United States, as advertising sales director for an international interior design, architecture, and home decor publication specifically aimed to the Hispanic market.
Our arguments as a product were so strong, that backed us up as we started slowly earning the trust of larger customers, until we could finally do business with big national advertisers.
Which was our strength? That we all, as a team, were deeply convinced we were delivering a compelling value proposition, and we were able to clearly transmit such confidence to our customers.
Be sure to always convey how much you believe in your project and all the confidence you have put into it and why. Thus, both customers and employees, along with your partners, will reward you with their trust.
And best of all: the ability to stand up again and again, after every failed attempt.
It's certainly the one I consider most important of all the things I’ve learned: the ability to get up every morning knowing I have a full day ahead to accomplish new things, knowing that whatever happened yesterday belongs to the past, and that the important thing is all I can do today to get closer to achieving my goals.
In sales, you often feel you are running around blind, working hard with the hope of one day achieving the results you expect, but you can only confirm that when your customer finally says yes, signs the purchase order and makes corresponding payments. Days with many phone calls with little results, days with fewer phone calls and more results. It’s all about going up and down, day after day.
Your life as an entrepreneur is also plenty of ups and downs. Some days are certainly better than others and even if today you can be celebrating the signing of your biggest customer yet, tomorrow you can be down to the ground, devastated after finding out your biggest customer changed his mind and decided to do business with your closest competitor.
The important thing is to have the ability to wake up every day knowing you’ll always have the opportunity to grow your business and move forward.
And it’s probably the best advice I can give you after all these years: Never stop fighting, never give up. It doesn’t matter if things appear to be going against you, give yourself time to analyze each and every situation, draw from it the very best lesson you can, and take what you’ve learned as a foothold to change course and move on.
Always move on and always for the best.
It is for all those things that I believe having experience on the sales side of life, is one of those sources from which you can learn many positive things that will make easier your life as an entrepreneur and leader of your own project.
Although no one can guarantee anything to you but yourself, counting always with your own effort, I am sure that if you take this advice into consideration, you will see positive changes in your way of doing things, and the results you get from those things that you do.
That’s a promise.
Picture credit: Sergey Nivens | Ver portfolio
I recommend you reading the following post in this blog:
4 attitudes you can learn from a professional sales representative.