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Must be Willing and Able to Sell

It’s always amazing at how proud people are of not liking or not being good at sales. It’s almost a badge of honor or a sign of moral superiority to not want anything to do with sales. Even thinking of sales brings so many negative images and descriptions to mind. It’s really unfortunate if you feel this way and want to have your own business because your survival depends on being able to sell.

Let’s get something out of the way right now. Yes, there are some lying, sleazy, slimy, unethical, pushy, cutthroat, rude, lazy, and obnoxious people in sales. There are some people who are just plain jerks and sociopaths who will stop at nothing to make that sale. I’m sure you’ve got your own stories to substantiate this stereotype. However, not all people in sales functions are like this; just like any other stereotype. I’m sure you can think of any profession and find people who fit the negative adjectives listed above. In my own experience, I’ve met a good share of jerks, idiots, and slime balls in all walks of life. People are going to act in all sorts of ways, especially when money is concerned. Let’s stop maligning sales.

To be a successful entrepreneur, you need to convince people to give you all sorts of things in exchange for something. Money in exchange for a good or service is at the top of the list, but it doesn’t stop there. You need people to believe in you, your skills, your ideas, your plans, and your business. You need people to understand what you do, who you are, and what your business or plan is all about. You need people to trust you. You need to form relationships and partnerships. All of this is achieved by being willing and able to sell.

Even if you’re an introvert like me, you must be able to connect with others, inform them, and, convince them to sign on to what you’ve got. You must be able to talk to strangers and make that first move, even if the thought makes you break out in a cold sweat. This one of the hard truths of having a business: you need to hustle.

Does this mean you need to turn your back on your principles, ethics, religion, etc? For goodness’ sake, no! Learning about sales doesn’t mean selling your soul and selling out your values in exchange for a buck. Just as we covered the fact that you will need to learn new things to keep your business running, this is just one more thing you need to learn. People out there, hopefully, want and need what you’ve got. That’s why you decided to go into business in the first place. Did you really expect people to just show up and hand over cash without a little information or convincing?

Think about how you buy things and what makes an ideal buying experience for you. You like being able to find something that fits your needs or solves a problem without it being a major ordeal to get that information. You like being able to learn about all things you’re going to get from that good or service and how it will benefit your life. You appreciate having your questions answered and needs understood. You like it when someone cares about helping you. This is what you can do for your clients when you sell and it can be wonderful for everyone involved.

If you’ve had a sales job in the past and it left you cold or made you realize you lack the skills to make a living doing it, I’m here to tell you this is going to be different. Just like parents will often say it’s different when it’s your own child, selling for your own business is the same way. You are in control of everything. The volume you need to sell, what you’re selling, the way you sell, and even your rewards for selling are all at your decision. You pick the venues and methods so you shouldn’t be in a place where this feels unnatural or unethical.

As an entrepreneur, your passion makes it much easier to sell. You should believe in and trust your products or services. You should love what you have to give or do for people. You should be excited about and thrilled to share your business with others. This can carry you a long way towards feeling good about selling. Of course, you still need to be effective or the lights don’t get to stay on or checks bounce, but that’s true for any job. The more you learn about how to sell, the more tools you can use and experiment with, which can also be a lot of fun. If you’re struggling with your belief in yourself or company, learning to sell can also help you figure out and fix what’s troubling you.

In the end, this is a chance to share the business you’re passionate about. Being effective at sales means more people get to share in that experience and benefit from what you have to offer. It also means you have control over your life and future in a way you’ve never had before. Sales isn’t a dirty word. It’s exciting liberation.

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