Learn To Sell!
I am frequently asked by entrepreneurs what is the best way to fund their business. Is it through friends and family, debt, equity, crowdfunding…or something else? Well, whilst I understand that many businesses need an injection of cash to fund early development costs and fuel growth, I have to say that by far and away the best way to fund your business is through sales. Yes, the hard graft of turning the products or services that you have conceived through blood, sweat and tears, into pounds and pence.
Sales is at the heart of any business – without it there is no business – yet I am truly astounded on a daily basis by the number of people who simply do not know how to sell. Fancy business plans – tick. Complicated financial projections – tick. Snappy investor presentations – tick. Yet when it comes to the art of actually selling the product to real customers – not a clue. Far too few people understand even the most basic building blocks of selling: the differences between features and benefits; open and closed questions; how to close the sale.
It often seems like sales is a dirty word, conjuring up images of snidey salesmen in shiny suits, when in fact sales is the life-blood of your company. Business is quite simple (although it may not be easy!) – make products customers want, sell them at a profit and repeat again and again and again…
As an entrepreneur you are the face of your business and you are always selling – your product, your ideas, your self. Basic selling skills also help you cope with the inevitable rejections you will face on a daily basis, which some female entrepreneurs in particular can find difficult to handle.
I accept it takes skill and intuition to uncover and meet a person’s desires, but it’s a skill that can be learnt…and when you genuinely understand and truly believe that sales is something you do “for” people, not “to” people, you will forever more sell with courage and conviction.
Be marketing-led and sales driven. Care about your customers. Selling well is the single most important thing you can do for your business.
Read a book. Go on a course. Shadow someone. Ask for advice.
But whatever you do…please…learn to sell.
Scotsman Article April 2016