Do you consider yourself a professional salesperson? When you look in the mirror do you say, ‘I sell for a living and am damn proud of it’? Or do you shirk at the thought that your livelihood depends on your ability to sell?
The lifeblood of every business is sales, period. Cash is king and sales his queen. Your ability to generate sales is the only thing that matters when it comes to building your business at the end of the day. Yet so often I see business owners choosing business models that will only offer them ENOUGH to pay their bills and cover their overhead month to month and not necessarily ever be able to pay them at a level they believe they deserve.
Who are you selling for? Yourself or to keep your creditors off your back? It might seem like a mind-shift kind of question but its not; its a LIFE-shift kind of question. Are you living your life selling to make someone else rich OR to create the life you deem is worth living that you deserve and learning how to earn it for yourself?
Depending on your answer will likely determine what kind of selling environment you find yourself presently in and what kind of money you are presently making selling.
If you own a Franchise you likely chose it because you wanted someone else to show you how to find your market, how to sell to it, and to provide you with a proven successful business plan for it. While you are working for your benefit as a franchise owner, most franchise models benefit the creator of the franchise founder more than they ever will you; because franchises inherently limit your ability to earn more in a variety of ways.
If you are product reseller operating online or selling through a brick and mortar store, while its less likely your potential is being limited in terms of the market share you can reach and sell to, chances are great you are selling a commodity that anyone can find online and find offered at a lower price. This makes your ability to earn a higher margin far less likely. While you may be able to grow more volume than others, by being a better digital marketer or offering reduced fees on shipping or having more product in stock and not backordering items as frequently as your competitors do, the chances are good that your margins will not be very high. Most product resellers fall into the 5-20% profit margins making it difficult to do more than pay your bills and cover your costs and payroll because at the end of the day your selling someone else’s product that has been offered, positioned and priced by them.
Both of these business models are common first choices for young entrepreneurs who are getting comfortable with their sales abilities; especially as they work through to resolve their often unspoken inner conflict that ‘sales’ – no matter what skills they self identify with as their strongest ones- is now their core activity. Even though we love the idea of selling the product or service that launched us into starting a business, many if not most young entrepreneurs have a great deal of trepidation about not only their abilities to sell but how they will be perceived by their buyer; fearing they will seem like that slimy overbearing hard closing individual that ever customer hates. Especially when they REALLY need the business to survive.
And yet, once we come to know the act itself of serving the customer, once we learn how to help them through the process of buy the things we sell that will satisfy their need, we surprisingly find the process of selling rewarding and deeply satisfying for both of us.
And as we grow in this capacity, we find our ability to save sales, turning around dissatisfied customers, and going the extra mile, that once pleased us as a young entrepreneur, often no longer do as meaningfully; because we come to recognize that the vehicles we built to support those sales activities took us a long time and a lot of expense to build, in hindsight, and are not benefiting us enough financially.
Why does it take so long to come to this realization? First and foremost, because entrepreneurship is a mental muscle.
Becoming a professional at entrepreneurship is really about becoming a professional at maintaining your belief in your value and self worth. Young entrepreneurs rarely believe they are worthy and so they tend to pick business models that affirm their belief.
It’s only when you come to recognize this that you are ready to figure out a way to sell for yourself at the level you deserve. When you sell for yourself you recognize the value you personally add to your customers satisfaction needs to be matched with a product that you have the ability to also control the financial value you receive from it. When you reach this stage of entrepreneurial development, you create a product of your own to sell.
When you sell for yourself, you need to be in control of ALL aspects of the product; what price it can be made for, where and how it is sold and the pricing model you set for it. When you sell for yourself, the product you or your partner create, will also reflect a profit potential that is equal to your ability to provide fresh solutions to problems in the marketplace that meet the needs of the customer and which you teach resellers, franchise owners and other customers to appreciate at the same level you do.
When you sell for yourself you distinguish your product and its value by the value you provide. When you sell for someone else you look to them to distinguish your product and its value by the value they provide to you.
To your highest purpose and best startup self, friends.
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