Warren Buffett, Mark Cuban, Howard Schultz, William C Weldon, and Gary Vaynerchuk: Besides being successful CEOs, all are members of the same club: successful CEOs who started out as salespeople. Everybody loves the idea of entrepreneurship but very few people actually want to be a sales person. If you want to become an entrepreneur, you must learn how to sell.
The young Buffett sold securities for three years. Cuban was a sales rep who taught himself programming, Schultz sold copiers at Xerox, Weldon started his career as a Sales rep at Johnson and Johnson, Gary was a Sales Rep way back who sold baseball cards and earned thousands of dollars from it.
To be a great entrepreneur, you must possess the skills of a sales person; those same skills that are essential to leading a company: communications, strategic thinking, ambition, integrity, passion for the business and, last but not least, persuasive skills. Entrepreneurship is all about sales. Aside from the great ideas and the passion, it is important for aspiring entrepreneurs to understand that entrepreneurship is basically 80% of sales and marketing.
If you intend to become a founder/CEO and find yourself not obsessed with marketing and sales business, that turns out to be more of a liability than an asset. You can have the best product and services out there on the market but it will be a waste until and unless people realize it’s worth. Having sales strategies is very important. It is important to have a strong handle on the basic sales strategies as they are the ones that are going to bring in development of the products and services ongoing in your business.
Talking about the founders’ first campaign that they go through, to them selling is the basic concept of the business to let potential investors find interest in their prospects. Entrepreneurship is not about programming or sweeping people off their feet, it definitely is one of the toughest aspects to deal with. How many times have you seen entrepreneurs on Africa’s Young Entrepreneurs (AYE) TV show fail because they were unable to convince them to invest in their enterprises? Many of these young entrepreneurs had great ideas and great products, but were unable to pitch them in a way that made the investors willing to put their money into it?
If you think sales isn’t an important skill for an entrepreneur to learn, watch a couple episodes of AYE TV show and you’ll quickly change your mind. Think of the blood, sweat, and tears these aspiring entrepreneurs gave to launch successful businesses. It’s almost heartbreaking. You see them crash out just because they didn’t know how to sell their dreams properly.
Just so you know entrepreneurship is not about quitting your job, having a great idea, building product/services and a team. It is all about having the major strategies that can lead you to selling your products or services to the person you don’t actually know. It does not end here. You have to continuously repeat the process so as to get the best possible results.
So, if there is just one thing that you should be looking forward to when starting your own company then that is to proceed further with sales and marketing. I am telling you; this is not a joke and you really have to be passionate about it once you look forward to investing in it. Entrepreneurship is not a child’s play.
It is a thought of some entrepreneurs that if they can create a very good and attracting product, then it will be the customers who will be reaching out to them. If we look at the statistics, it never works out that way. The smart entrepreneurs look for the other way around. The basic strategy is to first look and find customers who are willing to have your interest. After that, you start building up your killer products. You do so only when you see that the customers are willing to pay.
Entrepreneurship is just a game of sales. If you don’t start selling out as soon as you start your company, it can turn to days, this can further lead to weeks, and weeks can end up in months. Well, you never know, it can even go around for a year. Isn’t it? That is why it is a bad idea to start a business without an actual sales strategy. If you can’t push out your products or services and bring it out in front of the world so that they know about you, it’s more or less like your business does not exist. Being able to sell will help you gain more customers for your product. Even when you hire a sales force, you will still need to sell your product to the employees you hire. You will need to sell it to investors. You will need to sell it to everyone you meet.
As I have mentioned several times that entrepreneurship is all about sales and if it is the thing that you lack the most, trust me, being an entrepreneur is one of the worst ideas that you have ever had.