This past week I had drinks with a salesperson who had recently started a new position in a company. It was a new type of role for her. Rather than being in an office, she worked remotely and independently. The majority of her internal and customer conversations were virtual, not face to face. She was involved in all the stages of the buying process, not just one part.
When I asked how she was preparing for the new role and how she was adapting, she replied “I’m really thinking more like an entrepreneur now. For example, next month I am taking a workshop on how to write a business plan. The more I can understand how business works, the better I will be able to have a meaningful conversation with potential clients.”
Smart lady, I think she could go far. Here’s why.
- Entrepreneurial salespeople are always learning how to be valuable to their buyers. Like the salesperson above, they seek out ways to learn more about their buyer’s problems, industry, role and become lifelong students.
- Entrepreneurial salespeople are lazy. They know that 20% of their efforts will be 80% of their results. Rather than focusing on making 177 calls a day to get one viable prospect, they look for better ways to attract buyers to them. As Mark Birch recently wrote, “Instead of trying harder and doing a lot of things that are minimally effective, we should be “trying easier.”
- Entrepreneurial salespeople are patient and take smaller steps. This isn’t just about making the sale to make their quota. The entrepreneurial salesperson’s focus is on helping their buyer make the right decision to solve their problem. They don’t need to sell, they just need to help someone buy. They are problem solvers first. Therefore they don’t jump to closing the sale, they focus on engaging and understanding first.
- Entrepreneurial salespeople aren’t afraid to do things differently. The way people buy has changed because the internet has handed the power over to the buyer. Entrepreneurial salespeople are embracing the change and changing the way they approach their buyer as a result. No one needs to tell them, they already know. To them, this is a huge opportunity, not a major threat.
- Entrepreneurial salespeople don’t wait for the leads and opportunities to come to them, they create them. They don’t have to be told to network, to create content that adds value rather than a sales pitch. Social selling isn’t a way for them to spam and stalk, but learn, listen and engage. They create the conversations that buyers want to engage with.
- Entrepreneurial salespeople dig deeper. They ask questions to understand the underlying problem. They don’t assume they know, they ask to confirm or question long held perspectives. They are curious detectives and have a drive to understand not just the problem, but the hidden problems and why they are an issue.
- Entrepreneurial salespeople have thick skins and strong minds. They will do what is right, whether their prospect or boss likes it or not. Their egos aren’t tied to their results and so they don’t shy away from challenging the status quo. They have mastered the fundamentals of sales and are able to adapt to any buying process as a result.
- Entrepreneurial salespeople are comfortable making their own financial futures. Not only are they ok with working on 100% commissions, they prefer it. Their finances are in their control and a direct result of their efforts. This is the kind of freedom that every entrepreneur thrives on.
Are the qualities something you either have or don't? Not likely. These can be learned. The question is, are you ready to learn them? Do you have a compelling reason to do so?
Are you an entrepreneur who needs to balance sales and delivery for customers? Or maybe you are a salesperson in a company and have the desire to be more than an order taker? Download the Roadmap to Unbound Growth and learn how you can become an entrepreneurial salesperson.