Let’s face it: sales isn’t for everyone. Some people just seemed to be wired in such a way that they can walk up to a door or into a board room and jump right into a winning pitch. They seem to be born with some sort of “X factor” that makes them the perfect salesman.
Odds are, you aren’t one of those people. Not many of us are, and most of us struggle approaching people we don’t know. Most of us aren’t natural closers, because closing on a sale isn’t comfortable—it requires that you be willing to put pressure on others and not take no for an answer.
An aversion to sales often stops budding entrepreneurs dead in their tracks before they ever get a chance to get their ideas out into the world. The brightest ideas often come from introverted minds, but due to the thinker’s lack of natural salesman flair, they never see the light of day.
Ideally, we’d live in a world in which good ideas take precedence over good salesmanship. Whether or not that’s possible, we can figure a way to get those more timid entrepreneurs to effectively bring their ideas to the boardroom.
If you’re a burgeoning entrepreneur who’s hesitant to take a leap into the startup world, take the following sales guidelines into account in order to get off to the right start.
Related: 5 Tips for Closing a Sales Deal
Get rid of your definition of “sales”
Conjure up an image of a salesman in your mind. What are you thinking of? Likely, you’re picturing a combed-over used car salesman trying to convince you to overpay for a car you don’t need, or maybe a polo-sporting college student knocking down your door on a summer afternoon.
The truth is, working in sales is much more than being a cheap salesman. In fact, just about any job you’ll have in the world of business is, in some form or another, sales. You can be in marketing, human resources, recruiting or even customer service. In reality, if you’re doing your job well, you’re selling.
Once you get rid of the stereotypical salesman image, along with all of its negative connotations, you can begin to approach sales in a way that works for you and plays into your skill set. After you’ve realized that you’re already working in sales, you’ll be able to effectively turn your entrepreneurial ideas into an actual, tangible business.
Act on the assumption that people need your product
It’s probably safe to say that, if you’re an entrepreneur, you’ve had an idea or created a product that you believe fills a need in the market. Keep this in mind when you’re called upon to pitch your product in any setting.
Presenting a product under the assumption that there is a need for it will take you out of “sales mode” and get you into a productive and genuine conversation about the benefits of your product. When you can honestly present your product while believing that there is a need for it, you’ll find yourself having a great deal of success.
Make the most of your skill set
No two salespeople are alike. Don’t waste your time trying to fit into a preset notion of what sales should be. If you can’t get comfortable making a classic pitch, or you can’t quite make that final closing push, don’t do it.
As an entrepreneur, your product depends on your ability to sell it. Figure out what makes you tick; what interests you about your product or business, where do you see it being useful and what would you like to hear about it if you were the customer?
Get in touch with your strengths as well as the strengths of your product. Even consider taking a look at a business coach—Sterling Griffin, Grant Cardone and Mark Hunter are all great options—who can help you figure out what approach will complement your skill set the best. There’s no “one size fits all” strategy, but there is a strategy that meshes perfectly with your personality and style.
More than anything, don’t give up. Remember that even the best salespeople hear “no” far more than they hear “yes.” Regardless of whether selling comes naturally to you or not, perseverance will be key. By finding the approach that’s best for you, you’ll be able to find what you need. Remember, you’ve probably been working in sales your whole life without even realizing it!