Why is it every entrepreneur I talk with has a billion-dollar idea? I’ve spent the last 30 plus years working with entrepreneurs who have built an incredible record of long term success in their markets. They all sell the future of business.
One of the unusual qualities I’ve discovered among these successful men and women is they are all very good at telling a story that engages their early clients in their shared dreams. They are excellent at selling their view of the future to their emerging markets.
They are very good at selling the future today. Is this a learnable skill? I believe it is, but it requires an organization’s leaders to better understand why their sales professionals are not having the success these entrepreneurs are. What are your best performers doing differently?
Most successful selling entrepreneurs have several advantages that the average sales leaders don’t. This may seem obvious, but most entrepreneurs have a clear view of what their future looks like. When asked how they see the future, they can give you the details of how they see it unfolding. They are gifted storytellers of their own created story.
Most are incredible controlling people. They are micromanagers of the worst kind. They want everyone to share the story they see. It’s the kiss of death for sales people to sell something they can’t see in their own heads. When coaching extraordinary entrepreneurs, the first thing we work on is increasing their own self-awareness. Few have looked at themselves very closely, because they are constantly moving at warp speeds.
Many entrepreneurs can bend reality around what they want to accomplish. Steve Jobs was the master of this. However, this doesn’t mean it will work for your sales team members. Many successful entrepreneurs have learned this the hard way. Their unique personalities aren’t scalable.
Similarly, you can see it in Jeff Bezos. An incredibly gifted leader that would not put up with his own behavior from a subordinate. I think being nice is overrated when building an empire. But that’s something we can debate in a future blog.
Want your sales team to sell your vision of the world? Enroll and empower them to understand what you see happening. Better yet, have them share what they are seeing on a regular basis. Many organizations have done away with sales meetings and their results show it. Its critical to get your teams together to brainstorm on what they see happening in the market. If you want your team to sell the future, help them to create it.
Want to increase your team’s sales effectiveness? Coach them to become stronger communicators. Using the right words and phraseology is critical to your team’s sales success. You don’t want them learning how to say something when they are in the fight of their life to win the business. Develop them so they are ready when the opportunity arises.
Here’s why. Most of your customers are investing to do more with less. This means training. Your team will struggle to keep up with their best customers’ learning curves. The future belongs to the faster, more agile learner who can apply what they learn on a regular basis.
Finally, have your sales teams invest time in understanding their clients’ business better than their customers. It’s very hard to sell the future from the back seat. I see many sales professionals failing today because they are unwilling to lead their customers to their conclusions.
Your best entrepreneurs shape the conversation with their early clients and customers. They make their customers feel like they should be honored to work with their teams. Is this how your clients feel? Are you just another low-cost vendor?
Somehow, we’ve lost the ability to communicate what we are seeing in the markets. Sound bite sales for sound bite customers. You cannot build a view of the future off a limited understanding of what’s coming. Both the good and the bad!
Next week I’ll share how to help your sales teams see the future so, they can sell it today.
See you next week.