More often than not, when I’m talking to someone who’s in the beginning stages of a new entrepreneurial endeavor, I notice a recurring pattern of indecisiveness that piledrives the tombstone (Like that wrestling reference?) in what would otherwise have been a promising, dare I say, even profitable idea. Too much emphasis on planning and making sure everything is ‘perfect’. Don’t get me wrong, of course it’s vital to have a proper business plan with basic cash flow and gross margin projections, the concept of your business, how you’re going to market it, etc. But you don’t need a super flashy, 80 page, mega report that you spent countless hours perfecting, even if you are presenting it to potential investors, because after all is said and done, they’re not investing in your idea, they’re investing in YOU.
Which brings me to my main point, as an entrepreneur, you are first and foremost the number one salesperson for your product. Whether you’re pitching to investors or potential clients, you are the one who is responsible for communicating your mission statement and convincing people to do business with you. You gave birth to your ideas and concepts, you’re the one who spent countless hours designing a product or perfecting a service, then crunching the numbers to make sure it makes sense from a profit standpoint. It is you who must lead your team into the lions den day after day, to be the head cheerleader for your vision.
But I’m not a people person… I don’t know how to sell… Wah Wah Wahhh… Get over it!
If you want to see your idea turn into a successful enterprise you have to approach every single person who has ever come in contact with someone who may have an interest in your product or service, make your presentation, and don’t take no for an answer. If you’re not prepared to do that, than you had better find someone who is, or stick to your day job.
There’s no better example we can point to than Apple founder Steve Jobs, who was arguably the greatest salesman of all time. For all his talents and unmatched genius in the realm of technological innovation, Steve Wozniak lacked business acumen and social skills. He needed a best friend like Jobs to get his revolutionary Apple I computer out of a garage and into the hands of people. Those close to Jobs would sometimes describe him as ruthless and a jerk. But no one could deny the fact that he was a master of persuasion. In fact, Bud Tribble once coined the term “Reality Distortion Field” to describe Jobs’ ability to convince everyone – including himself – to believe almost anything with a mix of charm, charisma, bravado, hyperbole, marketing, appeasement and persistence.
Steve Jobs went to his first Apple sales presentation as a barefoot buddhist hippy who looked like he just stepped out of a plane from a meditation retreat in India and smelled as if he hadn’t showered for weeks, and still managed to sell 50 Apple I computers to the Byte Shop in Menlo Park – because he didn’t take no for an answer. Steve Wozniak almost single-handedly created the first Apple computers, but Steve Jobs sold the crap out of them.
As a real estate professional I offer clients my expertise and dedication. Essentially, in the purest sense of the term, I’m selling myself. Real Estate training courses focus heavily on prospecting and lead generation. If you don’t get yourself in front of a certain amount of people a day, how can you expect enough people to do business with you so that you can build a sustainable and successful career. That means I have to wake up every morning before the sun comes out, pound the phones, go knock on doors, regularly stay in contact with those in my sphere of influence, and meet as many new people as I possibly can.
The reason you need to concentrate most of your efforts on selling in the beginning is because you need to build momentum. It’s hard enough in the beginning when you’re starting off with little to no money, most of your friends or relatives are somehow discouraging you and belittling your ideas (Not always intentionally, but I’m sure every single entrepreneur has been told at one point or another by someone close to them to be “realistic”), your project is in its infancy and you are just outlining the structure and putting all the systems into place. Without some momentum right out of the gate the minor setbacks that you’re bound to face will seem enormous and overwhelming, and could cause you to quit.
When you make a commitment to lead generation and selling you must devote most of the time in your day to prospecting activities. This instantly puts you in front of potential clients, suppliers, and business partners who will judge, criticize, inquire about, and question you and your business. This will have you coming back to the drawing board regularly to change and upgrade every aspect of your business based on the real life feedback your receiving. This is the hardcore training program that an entrepreneur must go through to become an absolute expert in their field and be able to plan and adjust for any problems that may arise, and simultaneously carve out solutions to existing issues.
Although your new business may seem completely different from mine, or from that of Steve Jobs, I can guarantee that it’s success depends on your ability to make as many people believe in your dream as possible. To accomplish that, you need to overcome any self-limiting beliefs you may have and start making sales.