What’s your personal brand? Are you your own best cheerleader? These are two characteristics of successful entrepreneurs from Gallup’s CEO Joe Clifton’s book, “The Coming Jobs War.” According to Clifton, successful entrepreneurs have 10 learned traits that make them successful. Sales professionals function like entrepreneurs, even though they have jobs and work for a company. Like entrepreneurs, they have to develop leads, bring in new contracts and customers, and make appointments, deliver proposals and close sales. They have to be persuasive speakers, marketers and deliver what they promise. They have to be good listeners and customize their pitch to the customer.
Instead of trying to be just like Zig Ziglar or Harvey MacKay, or any one of a number of famous sales people, identify your personal brand. You’ll never be as good as someone else. But you can be better, more successful, by being you. It’s a tough, stressful and losing activity mimicking someone else, hoping to get the same results.
Successful entrepreneurs take risks and creatively solve problems. They are their own biggest cheerleaders, even when the risks don’t result in the results they expected. Sales are a series of risks. From the first phone call, there is the risk the prospect will say no to an appointment. Or later, say no to a proposal and a lucrative contract. A salesperson can spend days or weeks working a prospect and putting together a deal only to have it fall apart when the customer’s needs or fortunes change. Or if a competitor comes up with a better deal.
Successful sales people have to be problem solvers and think fast on their feet. Like entrepreneurs, they have to be flexible and able to change direction quickly.
In the current business environment, one characteristic of entrepreneurs stands out. They never stop learning. What you knew six months ago about sales, marketing, digital communications, social media and your prospect’s business is different today. Prospects and clients won’t always tell you what they need or want. But they will leave clues on their website, Facebook page, Tweets, and comments to all the above. They may use software or websites to do business that you have never heard of or know how to access and use. If you don’t keep up, you can lose their business.
One way entrepreneurs multiply their effectiveness is through delegation. Solopreneurs can’t afford to do it all themselves, and can’t afford to hire staff to do it for them. The most cost-effective way to get more done is to delegate. With technology and virtual expertise available anywhere in the world, delegation doesn’t mean hiring bodies and adding office space. They also partner with other entrepreneurs, sharing skills and experience that benefits all involved. Who can you partner with that will add mutual value? What technology is suited to your sales needs and those of your clients? What’s new in your industry? By delegating, you can take on more while spending less.
Sales is a tough business. Success as a sales entrepreneur depends on how well you master the demands of the job. You may become the next generation Superstar that others will try to emulate.
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