Are Small Business Owners Salespeople in Disguise? YES!

Small businesses comprise more than 99 percent of all businesses in the U.S. according to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).
The success of a small business rests on the owner’s ability to sell. Business owners have about 50 different hats to wear, but sales is the biggest hat an entrepreneur wears. Actually, without the sales hat, the other hats are useless.
Moreover, when I say sales I am not just talking, “Hey, please buy my stuff.” Sales is not just selling your product or service. There are meaningful uses of selling skills that permeate every facet of the entrepreneurial process.
Here are a few of the sales jobs that fall under the definition of selling that a small business owner must perform:

  • Getting credit from a supplier - Convincing your suppliers that you’re credit worthy is sometimes as good or better than a bank loan.
  • Getting a loan from a banker - A true sales job. You have to convince your banker you deserve the loan and can repay the debt.
  • Getting small favors from employees - Work overtime, work weekends, work more productively, change work processes.
  • Getting something delivered on time - Sell the supplier that delivery is imperative to serve your customers or grow your business.
  • Satisfying a disgruntled customer - You do not want a bad experience to cost you a customer, so you sell acceptable solutions.
  • Getting payment for an invoice - It’s Friday. Payroll is due. You have no cash, but you do have receivables. You must collect that check to pull it off.
    What makes small business owners so good at sales, even if they have had no previous experience? Desire, fear, and about 50 other emotions associated with the risk and spirit of adventure that the entrepreneurial process breeds, including the love of being on your own, and the passionate belief in what you are doing.
    Here are 7.5 reasons why business owners sell best:
    1. The responsibility for success of the business is yours. You won’t let your business fail due to lack of sales – so it’s your job to sell until it’s successful.
    2. The business is your child. You sell best because you know your product or service best. You are its most sincere and passionate representative. You are responsible for feeding and nurturing your business.
    3. You can make deals no one else can make. People think when they buy from the owner they are getting a special deal, may not have to pay a commission and therefore are getting the best price, or at least the best offer.
    4. People like to buy from the owner. Customers know they will get special attention and special appreciation.
    5. Customers have a special confidence in you. You sell it because you believe in in your business. Your enthusiasm generates confidence that transforms into sales. Customers also know the owner will go the extra mile to deliver what’s promised.
    6. The relationship with the customer is yours to build at first. You get to know the people who are helping you succeed. After your business matures, you choose whom you will continue to handle personally, and whom you can pass on to a salesperson.
    7. You are in the best position for direct feedback about your product, service and business. Your customer has all the information you need to succeed. Get close to him or her and listen. Then take action as only the owner can do.
    7.5 If you have other salespeople, you must be the leader of your own sales campaign. If you do not lead them, no one will. You must set the example, drive the belief system, and create the atmosphere of success. You must be the best at sales, because that is where the success is.
    If you are not an expert at sales, get to be one by taking lessons. Read every book, listen to every CD, and go to seminars. Be a student. Form a mastermind group with other non-competing entrepreneurs.
    No one is able to sell your business as you can - even if you do not consider yourself a salesperson. You cannot say, “I’m not pushy enough to be in sales.” You must push.
    Nevertheless, sales is not about pushy. It is about helping other people and building relationships. It is about building your business, and about being responsible for your own success.
    To achieve your entrepreneurial dreams, you must make sales. Sales is about making your entrepreneurial fantasy become a reality. Your reality.
    If you want more ideas about small business success, go to www.gitomer.com, register if you’re a first-time visitor, and enter the word BUSINESS in the GitBit box.

    Jeffrey Gitomer is the author of The Little Red Book of Selling. President of Charlotte-based Buy Gitomer, he gives seminars, runs annual sales meetings, and conducts Internet training programs on selling and customer service at www.trainone.com. He can be reached at 704-333-1112 or e-mail to [email protected].