I love entrepreneurs. My dad was an entrepreneur, and I work with entrepreneurs every day. The more complex and expensive the solution that you’re selling, the more time and effort you should be prepared to spend on making that sale. Lots of entrepreneurs learn how to code or learn how to manage accounting; sales is the same way. Sales script: Once you get on the phone with a prospect, what will you say to them? Sometimes called the “sales funnel” or “sales cycle,” the sales process is a multi-step evolution of taking sales leads from initial contact to final deal closing. Learn how to move prospects through this sales process, or one like it. It sounds simple, but it’s profoundly complicated: Selling is all about building trust and getting people to trust you. Fortunately, entrepreneurs are often charismatic people who believe in what they’re doing; learn how to project that confidence into your sales conversations. Don’t assume that selling is something that only sales people can do.
Selling is not something just for the sales staff, nor is it some automatic phenomena. It’s a skill any founder can and ought to acquire.
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Entrepreneurs are some of the most passionate, inspiring, quick-thinking and hard-working people on Earth. I love entrepreneurs. My dad was an entrepreneur, and I work with entrepreneurs every day. However — and again, I say this with nothing but love and respect — lots of entrepreneurs are simply not natural sales people. The skills that you need to start a business and pursue a strategic vision are not always the same as the characteristics you need to close deals.
Fortunately, it’s not too late. Entrepreneurs tend to be curious, self-motivated people who love to learn; you can learn to be a better sales person. Having managed hundreds of lead generation programs for entrepreneurs and small businesses, there are key points that entrepreneurs should keep in mind to help them get better at sales.
1.) Sales aren’t automatic.
Many entrepreneurs, especially in technology or complex B2B verticals, tend to be technical types. They have developed great solutions, and they’re passionate about their technology, and they know how all the moving parts, bells and whistles work, but they don’t understand much about the sales process.
Too many entrepreneurs mistakenly believe that sales just happen automatically. They think that you just call or email someone, and next thing, you have just sold a $50,000 piece of business. The truth is much more complicated.
The more complex and expensive the solution that you’re selling, the more time and effort you should be prepared to spend on making that sale. In major account B2B sales, the average time to close a new account is typically six to 18 months.
Be prepared for the long haul, both in terms of patience and of the impact on your company’s finances. Everything depends on the timeframe of how soon your buyer is willing and able to make a purchase decision, how soon you can establish credibility and build a relationship with that buyer, and how soon you can get in the room with all of the key decision makers and stakeholders who have an impact on that purchase decision. It’s complicated. And it takes time. So don’t assume that you can just pick up a phone and rack up big sales numbers.
2.) Read up on your sales skills.
Lots of entrepreneurs learn how to code or learn how to…