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Between unread cold emails, low conversion rates, and the never-ending struggle to book even a single meeting, a salesperson has to hurdle many different obstacles before they can close a lead.
While people talk about communication and persuasion skills when it comes to sales, another set of traits can help bring in more paying clients.
Thinking like an entrepreneur encourages salespeople to go the extra mile for their prospects. Changing the way you approach outreach and conversion can spell the difference between success and failure.
This guide will look at ten reasons every salesperson should think and act like an entrepreneur.
Salespeople typically have specific sales areas assigned to them. They are responsible for bringing in clients and boosting sales in their region. In a way, they are like entrepreneurs as they become the main point of contact between the business and potential clients. They have to convince people to give their products a try and to maintain client relationships after a sale is made.
Because their role is customer-facing, they have to be creative when they approach customers. Successful salespeople have a unique way of looking at consumer problems and the possible solutions they could offer. In this section, we will look at some reasons all salespeople should develop an entrepreneurial mindset.
Imagine if salespeople were not motivated by the mere pursuit of money, but by a desire to see their business grow. Changing the way your employees look at their sales job and reassessing their motivations will have a significant impact on their career and your revenue. This is one reason top companies pour a lot of time and resources into employee engagement.
Employee engagement has been proven to help businesses achieve their sales goals. It has also been a challenge for many companies. When salespeople do the dirty work of cold calling, and following up but end up getting rejected, having a strong sense of belonging and engagement with the company gives them a strong reason to hang tough and keep plugging away.
One of the defining features of a successful entrepreneurial mindset is social confidence. Most people who encounter an entrepreneur and decide to buy from them are more invested in the person making the sale rather than the business itself. The passion and enthusiasm you have for your job will tend to rub off on the people you come across.
Social confidence is everything when it comes to sales. While there are many salespeople who sound good on the phone or write excellent marketing emails, meeting your prospects in person is an entirely different animal. A really good salesperson with an entrepreneurial mindset is able to make a sale anytime, anywhere.
This is why there is such a concept as an elevator pitch – you have to know your product inside-out and be confident enough to deliver a convincing message in a few seconds. The best salespeople prepare long and hard for that accidental minute-long encounter with a CEO, and make their pitch sound off-the-cuff. That’s confidence for you!
Entrepreneurs create detailed plans before they set out to start a business. These plans have a set timeline and goals that serve as a roadmap for their efforts and help them stay on track. Tools like scheduling software can help them organize their activities and monitor their performance.
Like launching a new product, attracting new customers requires a lot of planning. From creating a list of prospects to cold-call to expanding your network, there is a lot to keep in mind. Creating blueprints for your salespeople can help them stay on track. These can range from daily schedules to quarterly goals to yearly sales targets.
An entrepreneur who has built the business from the ground up has in-depth knowledge of their product or service. They know why it was invented and how it works. Because they are heavily involved in the evolution of the product, they are the most credible people to ask about it. Business owners are expected to be experts in their own domains. Now, imagine if your sales team also had this kind of knowledge and credibility.
Buyers want to talk to someone who can answer their questions when they’re considering a product. When your salespeople are able to answer potential buyers’ questions, people start trusting them, and this results in more sales.
When your salespeople are familiar with the product as if they were directly involved in developing it, they can answer customer questions more accurately and confidently. This leads to customers trusting them more. They cease being just someone who sells products and start being someone who can provide answers and solutions.
An entrepreneur is always looking for ways to expand their brand’s range. It doesn’t always have to involve launching new products. You can also provide new offers or explore new markets. Looking for new ways to reach your customers and spotting potential markets for your products are skills your salespeople should possess.
If salespeople look beyond their usual list of potential clients, they can cover larger markets. Adopting this mindset will allow them to look for new ways to reach out to customers. Identifying areas or sectors that your products haven’t reached will allow your salespeople to close more deals, especially if your brand gets to the market ahead of the competition.
When you start a business, you may encounter many different constraints. A limited budget, small client list, and working with a remote team can prove to be challenging. Entrepreneurs often have to get creative in finding solutions. They are quick on their feet and can put out fires every day.
Most salespeople also deal with more than one client at a time. Each client has their own set of needs and concerns. Since there are only a limited number of hours in a day, salespeople cannot keep running between clients and their management. They are forced to come up with solutions on the spot to keep their customers happy.
This kind of pressure results in a high degree of creativity among the most successful salespeople. A good salesperson looks at their prospects’ needs and matches them with the right product. They can also apply their creativity to situations that aren’t directly related to selling, such as scheduling meetings.
When you have a new business to grow, you rely on allies within the industry to help you find cost-effective suppliers and introduce you to the right people, such as investors or influencers. Successful entrepreneurs often have a strong professional network that helps their business expand steadily.
Similarly, a salesperson’s network is one of the most important ways to attract new clients. Most prospects tend to trust sales reps that have been recommended to them by their friends or colleagues. An extensive network helps a salesperson get an introductory call with the client. In return, the network expects the salesperson to deliver on their promises.
Referrals can come from satisfied clients or from people who have heard about your product. Successful salespeople use social media platforms to expand their network. According to a study by LinkedIn, about 90% of successful salespeople use social media in their marketing strategies. Using a social network where people can see your mutual connections helps pave the way for an introduction. This is particularly important when you try to contact top-level executives.
Starting a new business is a real test of patience and determination. From securing funds to hiring the right people to finally getting clients on-board, you need to be persistent and focused on your goals. Even if it looks like you won’t see any profits for the first couple of years, you need to keep working and hustling to get your product out on the market.
A salesperson encounters a similar set of challenges. A Marketing Donut study claims that around 92% of sales reps give up after the fourth call to a prospect. However, 80% of prospects say yes after getting the fourth call. It’s not enough to initiate contact with a client. You need to be persistent in reminding them of your product’s potential to change the way they work.
In this context, though, persistence doesn’t mean taking the same approach with every call. Real persistence involves taking what works, removing what doesn’t, and modifying your approach so that your message resonates with your audience. Sales is often a long, drawn-out process, but the rewards are great for those who persist.
Every sales team has a broad pitch to reach out to potential clients. While it is a great idea to have general talking points, personalization is vital to closing a deal. It is only possible if you identify the critical problems the prospect is facing.
Your salespeople might have a standard script to follow. However, when you encourage an entrepreneurial mindset among your sales personnel, they aren’t afraid to customize their strategy to focus on their prospects’ unique pain points. They are in a good position to know what their customers need and come up with concrete solutions to their problems.
One study reveals that even if potential users of complex solutions communicate a specific need to sales reps, around 70% of these reps get it wrong. An entrepreneurial salesperson will be able to recognize the situation and make helpful recommendations.
In the initial stages of a business, an entrepreneur requires the help of vendors and customers. They also need to get the support of the local community. They find ways to engage with the people in their region and build relationships beyond closing a sale.
Your salespeople can benefit from similar interactions. One of the ways to build a network is to create and maintain relationships with people in your neighborhood. Potential clients value personal relationships when deciding on a purchase. They prefer salespeople who are focused on helping people achieve their goals over those who are just trying to make a quota.
Even if you cannot physically meet people in your community because of travel restrictions, you should keep yourself updated about what’s happening in your salespeople’s territorial assignments. Being aware of the news will give you useful insights into what people might need in the future and places your brand and salespeople in a position to enter the market early.
Adopting an entrepreneurial mindset offers many benefits for a salesperson. It helps them take ownership of their region, make them feel like they are part of something bigger than themselves, and drives their creativity.
An entrepreneurial mindset allows a salesperson to know their product better to provide useful answers to customer questions. As their knowledge base grows, they can also expand their network and become a trusted source of information and solutions.
Training your sales force to think like entrepreneurs will help them develop a culture of continuous growth and development. It will also help them realize that sales is about more than delivering revenue to the company. It’s also about creating long-lasting relationships with customers and establishing your company as the solutions provider of choice in your niche.
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