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A Note to Entrepreneurs on Leading Sales

“How do I lead and manage a sales force having never had any sales experience?”

I’ve heard the same question three times in as many days, although it was worded a little different each time. One entrepreneur asked me for the one book he should read to try to get up to speed as fast as possible in order to lead and manage his team. His heart is in the right place, but there isn’t such a book.

Here is the real answer: Start selling.

Pick up the phone and start calling your dream clients and asking them for meetings. Start asking people to refer you and to make introductions. Get on LinkedIn, connect with people, and see if you can share how you create value (or intend to). Book yourself on no less than five face-to-face sales calls a week.

No, I didn’t forget that you were the entrepreneur. I am telling you this because you are the entrepreneur.

  • You will never know what it feels like to make cold calls if you don’t make them yourself. And if you can’t figure out how to make it work, you can’t teach someone else.
  • If you are doing any business at all, you need to start asking for referrals. Later, you are going to want your sales team to ask for referrals, and if you’ve never gotten one, they won’t either.
  • Social selling is easy, isn’t it? You just connect with people and share cool links and then they buy, right? There isn’t a single prospecting method that produces results without massive effort and some real chops, and social is no different.
  • You are going to need your sales force sitting face-to-face with your dream clients. The best way for them to learn is to accompany you on sales calls. No one knows more. No one has more passion. No one cares more deeply than you do.

 

You can’t teach someone to swim if you haven’t spent a lot of time in the water. You wouldn’t want open heart surgery from someone whose qualifications were limited to reading a book. Experience matters.

If you want to lead a sales force, get out in front and sell.


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