By: Yoav Vilner
Seems that sales has gotten a bad rap over the past few years, and today it seems young people want nothing to do with it. Salespeople are characterized as overly zealous and manipulative middle-aged men, the used-car salesman if you will.
It’s time this stereotype is reinvented. There comes a time when salespeople need to take a step outside of their employee mindset, and begin thinking differently with a more entrepreneurial approach. Just because salespeople don’t own the business, doesn’t mean they can’t posses the qualities of those entrepreneurs. Here are the top characteristics that all of these ‘entrepreneurial’ salespeople have in common, to help you to reinvent yourself as a salesperson as well.
1: Do-or-die attitude
Entrepreneurs have a do-or-die ethos. They will do whatever it takes to get the job done. If you can extend this into your work in sales you’ll put in that extra commitment and effort to close the sale. You must possess a high level of persistence to obtain this attitude. Entrepreneurial salespeople don’t take “no” for an answer. They will press on, even in the face of failure. They have the attitude and the confidence that they will succeed and make the sale. In the end, they always do.
2: Mindset of a scientist
This unique type of salesperson has a willingness and love for experimenting with new selling tactics, and dipping into new markets. One of the many new, great things about the web is that every interaction can be measured. We can gather tons of data about human behavior. Entrepreneurial salespeople use this data to test their hypotheses and predictions. They constantly try new things, to see what works best for them.
They know there’s not an exact universal science that will get them the sale 100 percent of the time. That’s why it’s good to experiment and play around with different methods. A good scientist never gets stuck in the past, because the world of science is constantly changing. The same goes for in the sales world. If you’ve been trying the same, mundane tactics for a long time, chances are they’re outdated. You will gain from tapping into the scientist mindset for some new tactics.
3: Efficient work, not a hard-worker
Most people working in sales are familiar with the Pareto Principle, or the 80/20 Rule. Which says precisely that 80 percent of your sales will come from just 20 percent of your customers. Entrepreneurial salespeople have not only understood this concept from the get-go, but they live by it. They work smart, which allows them to work less. By focusing on just the top 20 percent of your clients you can really hone in on their needs and watch your business prosper.
It’s difficult for average salespeople to obtain this mindset because, as part of our nature, we want to treat all our clients equally. That’s why entrepreneurial salespeople will soon take over. They’re effortlessly getting a lot more sales than the salesman who’s slaving away to please everybody.
Efficiency is also obtained by entrepreneurial salespeople embracing new technology in the field. Sales-order apps make it easier and more efficient for salespeople to obtain data about the top 20 percent, so you can spend more effort on impressing them and less with the nitty-gritty details. This isn’t just in theory. For instance, salespeople at corporations such as Rip Curl, Crocs and Paramount Pictures are using Pepperi.
To illustrate, as an entrepreneur I’m using a task management app rather than writing my to-do list with pen and paper.
4: Attentive listener
Think about the people you value most in your life. Often, these are the people who listen to you most, who show an active caring for your situation and want to hear about it. Active and attentive listening is not only fundamental to building strong positive relationships, but it will also help you to assess better if a prospect really has the need for your product or service.
Once again, the old stereotypical salesperson is one who blabs on for 40 minutes straight and doesn’t even answer your original question. The entrepreneurial salesperson is a master listener, pulling information about the customers thoughts and feelings rather than always pushing.
5: Risk taker
Great entrepreneurs and salespeople are willing to innovate and try risky things. Today, this is more important than ever. New products and services call for new modes of selling. Once you fall into a routine and get into your comfort zone, it’s difficult to challenge yourself.
“I just broke my personal record by staying right here in my comfort zone!” said no entrepreneurial salesperson ever. In order to move to the top of the field and get the most sales, you have to think differently and take big risks. The exciting thing about risks is you can’t know or anticipate exactly what the outcome will bring you. You have to take risks to see future gains.
Anyone in sales can develop these characteristics of a successful entrepreneurial salesperson. With a change in thinking and a new attitude, we can shift the persona of the old salesman into the modern entrepreneurial salesperson everyone wants to be.