The day you start your business is also the day you hire your first salesperson. The good news about this hire is she works for no money and you know everything about her. The downside is that she has little to no sales experience and isn’t exactly sure where to start.
Unfortunately, you are stuck with her. And whether you like it or not she is going to be the sole reason that your business succeeds or fails.
In case you haven’t guessed it already—your first salesperson is obviously you.
All entrepreneurs must sell. And the great entrepreneurs just happen to also be great salespeople. Think Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, John Wanamaker, Ben Franklin.
The best salespeople 100%, without a doubt, believe in what they sell. I mean truly believe that they are going to improve the lives of their customers. You must also.
And here’s where that can be a problem.
If it turns out you lack the undeniable faith that what you are selling is worthwhile to the world—or worse, you lack the ability to communicate that message—then your business is doomed to fail.
You may say, “I’m just an engineer. I can hire people to do sales”. But this approach rarely works out well.
Much like a tree falling in the forest, if an engineer builds an amazing product but doesn’t know how to tell people why it’s great, will anyone buy it?
If you struggle to communicate the ironclad value proposition of your product to the people you hire to do your sales, then how do you expect them to communicate that message to your prospects? And be effective?
You can’t. So what do you do?
Lucky for you there is a wonderful thing called the internet. It’s filled to the brim with every conceivable piece of knowledge about the sales process you could ever want. But, you need to be careful of wasting your time heading down rabbit holes of potentially unhelpful—or worse, harmful—information.
Lucky for you again, I know a few excellent books to start you on the path to sales success:
New Sales Simplified by Mike Weinberg
Influence by Robert Cialdini
Proactive Selling by Skip Miller
Snap Selling by Jill Konrath
The Challenger Sale by Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson
How I Raised Myself From Failure To Success In Selling by Frank Bettger
Pitch Anything by Oren Klaff
Predictable Revenue by Aaron Ross & Marylou Tyler
And go listen to anything that Zig Ziglar has said…
Above all, remember: cash flow is everything. Your main concern—especially in the early stage—is to get paying customers in the door. Even if you seek funding, you’ll want to prove that you have a sound, revenue-generating business model.
Now go out there and sell some shit.