There’s a simple equation in the entrepreneurial world: No sales = no business.
As a result, many people who start businesses become the head of sales by default. For some, that role fits like a glove and for others it’s a “nails on a chalkboard” scenario.
Regardless of your comfort level, sales must be won. Every day entrepreneurs go out to win business, which brings plenty of opportunities and challenges. The goal is to get you thinking about how things work in your business today.
Do you want to be the face of your brand?
I like to say that good salespeople are a mix of eloquence, compassion and tenacity. That said, entrepreneurs getting into business must quickly navigate the essential skills needed to sell their products or services and then decide how they, and the business, should be perceived.
Many entrepreneurs that I talk to are not interested in being the face of their brand and sometimes, with their years of experience and expertise, that is potentially to their detriment.
There are examples of entrepreneurs who are the face of their brands and probably shouldn’t be front and centre. (I’ll let you decide who fits that model.)
The examples of entrepreneurs who are synonymous with their brands are easy to list:
- Richard Branson (Virgin Group)
- Elon Musk (Tesla)
- Robert Herjavec (Herjavec Group)
- Ariana Huffington (Huffington Post)
- Gary Vaynerchuk (VaynerX)
- Sara Blakely (Spanx)
You don’t need to have their A-type personalities or lofty goals. However, the thing that these entrepreneurs have in common is not only charisma but a deep understanding that people will buy from people they know and recognize. More importantly, people will connect with their brands.
As the first, and maybe only, sales person in the business, you can easily become synonymous with your brand. You need a bit of self-awareness to help you understand whether or not you’re cut out for that.
Playing to your strengths
Not everyone wants to be “in the spotlight” and not everyone should be in the spotlight.
The goal here is sales and how you, as the founder, can have the most impact on selling your products or services. Sometimes that means that you will have a strong presence in your market and sometimes that means facilitating the success of your brand by being behind the scenes as the tactician, cheerleader or architect. Many times, you will have multiple roles.
Your personal brand can help you AND your business
Generating interest in your business can come from leveraging your personal brand to increase customer awareness and recognition but even more so, it can help open doors when you make that first contact.
You don’t need to be out there presenting yourself as a thought leader per se, but you do need to be prepared to contribute to your community and the general business conversation to enhance your presence.
If that feels awkward or insincere then absolutely do not jump into it with both feet trying to be something you are not. Authenticity is very important and consider the ways in which you could best present yourself to your target customers.
Find the best ways to introduce your business to prospects as you make your cold calls or work on your network, etc. Some people are good at writing and a blog or LinkedIn articles might be a great way to start that process, versus a podcast or video that are geared towards people who can communicate in those mediums.
As an entrepreneur what is your approach to sales?
Do you lead the charge for sales? Do you prefer to stay behind the scenes? Are you comfortable being the face of the business? These are all options entrepreneurs face as we understand the many ways business development gets done.
We’d love to know more about your experiences as the face of your brand and lead sales person or answer any questions you might have.
In the second part of this blog, I will look at when entrepreneurs need to step away from day-to-day sales and step into the role of sales manager and CEO.
Read part 2 of Being the face of your brand