One of my coaching clients called me this week, asking for advice on where to find a great sales rep. She’s launching a start-up that has been in the works for months, and is obviously anxious to get her product to the market. My advice to her was to look in the mirror. That’s where she would find her best sales rep.
If you’re a business owner – especially a bootstrapping, start-up business owner, listen up. There is no one more qualified to sell your product than you. The amount of sales training and experience a person has had is irrelevant. No one will have the passion, and understand the “why” behind a solution, like the Founder.
Her answer to me was, “but I’m not a salesperson. I’m an engineer.” If you’ve gotten so far as to create a product that fulfills both your vision and a void in the marketplace, don’t stop now. Now is the time to tell the world about your solution. Now is the time to meet with prospective customers, prospective partners, prospective investors, and anyone else that will hear your story.
No matter how great a sales person is, or how engaged they are in the organization, they are still simply filling a job. They don’t have skin in the game like the Founder does, and they aren’t as emotionally invested in the success of the vision.
My client’s dilemma is not uncommon, especially in today’s technology centric business environment. Many technical geniuses now find themselves in the sales role, taking on the responsibility of asking for business. It doesn’t feel natural.
Going way outside your comfort zone is one guaranteed aspect of business ownership. A product doesn’t make a company. A customer makes a company.
Entrepreneurs can learn sales techniques and become skilled in selling. They can learn how to use the various social media platforms that will connect them with prospects. They can’t, however, transfer the Founder’s passion to someone else.
Here is an Inc. article that provides 6 additional strategies for the non-sales CEO who finds themselves way outside their comfort zone.
What other strategies do you use to become comfortable in your sales skin? Please share with us.