One of the things I love about what I do is that I get to have really stimulating, intelligent conversations with sales managers and leaders about how they can differentiate their offering from a sales approach perspective.
It is my belief that salespeople who are employees of an organisation have got to start leaving the employee mindset behind and thinking differently ie becoming entrepreneurial in their approach, their focus and their outcomes. So what does that mean when a salesperson does not actually own a business, per se. Well it means having the same characteristics as an entrepreneur and practicing the following 5 thought processes:
- They need to own the vision of the company, they need to be aligned to the core values of their employer so that they demonstrate direction, purpose and passion. Many salespeople get amped up over a product, but your customer wants to see so much more than that these days. They want you to step into the role of CEO of your own business (territory, accounts etc) and be so much more responsive and be able to paint a bigger picture for them with authority.
- Salespeople need to realise it is not about the deal. Contrary to popular belief, selling is not about selling today (Click here to find out what I mean and men, don’t laugh too much). Being entrepreneurial in your role is about milestones, about finding the crumbs in some cases and realising that baby steps are part of longer term opportunities and most importantly, being OK with that more thorough, and sometimes slower, approach.
- They need to take risks and be different. We want our customers to shift the status quo, but we need to as well and that means learning how to market and not just sell. It means putting yourself in to a position of vulnerability and having the internal fortitude and resourcefulness to go with the flow whether it be direct mail campaigns, social media activity or challenging the elephant in the room, regardless of what others think.
- Salespeople need to be an expert in their field and be known for what they know and utilise every medium to share their ideas and curate others. Anyone, in any field, can position themselves as the go-to-person. In my role as a salesperson for Xerox, I was an expert in the High Volume Digital Print area and demonstrated that expertise within the company, being referred to as the Demonstration Queen, as well as externally with my customers by utilising resources around me – be it people and/or processes.
- They need to love what they do and give a damn enough to continue pushing their envelope so that they can grow both personally and professionally and most importantly contribute to others – within the company and with the customers and of course, having leaders that aspire to the same values is critical.
Becoming entrepreneurial is just ONE of the shifts salespeople need to make to position themselves differently for this connection economy.