The best sales people are entrepreneurial, and entrepreneurs have to be great at selling. Every new B2B sales process is a little like starting a new company – you have to start from zero, build relationships, pour your heart and soul into it, and work through the various stages of growth, all while keeping yourself focused, energized and motivated.
Entrepreneurs can learn a lot about personal motivation and excellence from the habits of the world's best sales people. Such as:
1. Motivation comes from many places.
The best sales people aren't just in it for the money - they have an intrinsic motivation to be great and build relationships. Just like entrepreneurs, sales people also tend to have a sense of mission. The best sales people are service-oriented: they believe in what they do, they care about customers, and they want to keep getting better and becoming more influential on a wider circle of people and organizations. At its best, sales can be an idealistic profession, because it's all about helping people and building relationships and improving the lives of the people you work with. Sales isn’t just about making money, it’s about making positive change happen.
2. Personal motivation is contagious.
The best sales people aren't just solo acts - they're team players. They make other people around them better, and their charisma and generosity help other people feel better about themselves. In the same way, many entrepreneurs have infectious personalities - they tend to lift the mood and light up the room. Let your light shine! Don’t be afraid to reach out to people every day, strike up conversations, and share something of yourself with the people you meet. Every conversation could lead to business opportunities or could spark inspiration. The best sales people (and the best business leaders) see optimistic potential all around them, and get inspired by the people they meet everyday, even in mundane or unpromising situations.
3. Do the unglamorous work every day.
The work of being a sales person is not all about glory – it's a long-term process that requires a lot of unglamorous grunt work and that often involves a lot of rejection and disconnects along the way. But that's OK! The best entrepreneurs and the best sales people tend to be process-oriented - they love the process of building a company, making sales and growing a business. Getting good results is important, of course - but to really stay motivated and happy in your work, you can't let your happiness be determined by outcomes alone. You need to love the process and love the work along the way to the result. Take solace in the sales process and find something to enjoy every day at work, and you’ll never feel like you’re “working.”
Sales is not just about making numbers and closing deals – it’s about managing your emotional state, staying motivated, and finding inspiration in the simple things everyday. Entrepreneurs can often benefit from the same types of thought processes and practices that sales people use to stay focused and keep making calls. Even if you’re not a natural sales person, your business will have more success if you know how to think and act like a great sales person.
Gregg Schwartz is the Director of Sales at Strategic Sales and Marketing, a B2B lead generation company based in Connecticut.