Every entrepreneur would agree that if you cannot sell, you won’t be in the game for long. It is seldom heard that an entrepreneur does not know how to sell a product. Give an unused pen to a successful entrepreneur and they’ll find a creative way to sell it.
Product + Sales = Entrepreneur
As Abraham Lincoln once said, “Whatever you are, be a good one,” and a good entrepreneur has to be good at sales (or find someone who is). There is really no alternative.
Why sales skills matter for entrepreneurs
Being an entrepreneur is not just about having an idea. You are a leader and influencer; and as your business grows the scope of your influence does too.
Sales is similar to influencing people around you to listen, get inspired and buy your products. Some sales are easier to close than others, but all sales conversations will involve some degree of persuasion and influence.
Here’s a look at 3 reasons why you should brush up your selling skills today.
1. You’re probably starting up solo
As an entrepreneur you don’t always have the luxury of starting out with a power-packed team. Finding co-founders, if that’s your path, can take time. You’re often alone in the initial seed stages and motivation wanes. If you have selling kills from the start, the road to on boarding the right partners, landing your first customers and selling your company to the general public will be much easier.
2. Sales experience is a startup fundamental
If you have sales experience it means you have been successful in past roles that involve selling things. This also means you’ve accumulated a certain level of business and technical skills. All of this means that you’re capable of handling buyer objections, the word “no” and you know what to do next. In all likelihood, those skills just need refining.
3. Raising capital requires sales skills
Do you need to raise capital for your startup? If so, you are the fundraiser here. Your innate capabilities to sell will pay off.
You’ve likely seen investors (a.k.a. sharks) say no to a number of businesses on the hit ABC show Shark Tank and thought to yourself, “Why wouldn’t they want to invest in a product that looks great?” It’s simply because, despite all of the great packaging, the founder failed to convince and influence the investors.
In a nutshell, your sales experience and skill level will help you sustain growth in the early stages of your business. Sales skills can transfer over to almost everything else in your life.
If you aren’t great at sales, but still want to start a business, does it mean your doomed from the start? No. If you don’t have sales experience, then it is time to start practicing. Get connected to great salespeople, read as many sales books as you can, get a part-time sales job, etc. The art of selling is a skill that will truly pay dividends today and tomorrow.
This article has been edited and condensed.
Suddan Shanmugasundaram is the founder and CEO of HR CUBE, an Indianapolis-based tech startup that connects jobseekers, mentors and employers to solve the current skill gap problem globally. He comes with 10 years experience in consulting and earlier worked on building 3 other startups. He is a speaker, a motivator and a technologist. He is also an active startup ecosystem enabler in Indianapolis. Connect with @hrcubellc on Twitter.
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