Matt Crowell is the founder and CEO of GetintheLoop, an intelligent mobile marketing platform that connects businesses with local consumers. Through his blog, Love The Grind, he mentors other entrepreneurs and assists them on their journey.
As an entrepreneur, it’s important to realize that your ability to sell is crucial to your long-term success. Obvious, right? Well, sort of. In this piece, I’ll be doing a deep-dive into the topic of sales — more specifically, just how much selling a business owner has to do to keep the proverbial wheels on the track.
To start, here’s a look at the cycle of selling:
- First Sales Close — Yourself: At some point, you had to fight against your own fear of failure and leave your comfort zone to become an entrepreneur. Every entrepreneur has to work through the ups, the downs, the risks and the rewards and convince themselves to JUMP! The moment that you’ve committed and are all-in is when the selling really begins.
- Your Inner Circle: Once you’ve made the decision to become an entrepreneur, you’ll likely turn to family and friends to receive validation. Here’s a handy tip: focus on talking to fellow entrepreneurs. Surprise, surprise, you’ll find that your friends in their comfy 9-to-5 careers won’t have the same optimism as you have and they’ll provide very little value in terms of feedback; you wouldn’t ask someone who doesn’t own a fishing rod how to fish. Building momentum within your inner circle will help you dive further into your new venture.
- Capital to Get Started: After you have decided that you’re all-in, this is the point where things start to get tough because you have to procure start-up cash. To achieve this, you either have to convince yourself to spend your own money or successfully pitch partners, investors or your bank. Convincing others to put some skin in the game is a great process because it will push you to be even more prepared than if you backed your venture entirely on your own.
- Build your Team: Whether you’re opening a small business, a medium-sized operation or planning to scale a large tech company, the process is the same: once you have decided it’s a go, you’re out of the plane without a chute and now you have to convince others to join your team. At this point, you’re selling the business plan to your team and explaining how the company’s future is going to align with their aspirations. Here is the fun part about this sale: you have to do it every quarter for the rest of your life (yep, it’s true. I’m just being honest). You have to continually build your team and remind your best why they are on this journey with you. I have learned to focus on transparency with our organization’s plans and to be sure that everyone who is adding value has skin in the game (to learn more, read my earlier blog post: https://getinthelooplocal.com/lovethegrind/posts/2019/8/1/you-want-skin-in-the-game).
- Sell Customers: Once the doors are open, the product is launched and your business cards have fresh ink on them, now it’s time to sell customers. The fun thing about this part of the sales process is that it never ends until you’re so wildly successful that you find yourself sitting on your boat in tropical waters, or on an empty crate as you go out of business. Every entrepreneur who is active knows you will ABC (Always Be Closing), so get comfortable selling customers and know that no matter how big your company grows, this is a part of your role. As a business owner or CEO, it’s arguably your number one job.
- Rinse and Repeat: A lot of selling, right? Guess what? You get to work through these cycles on a regular basis throughout your life. As an entrepreneur, you have to constantly: convince yourself that you’re on the right path, convince your family it’s going to be ok and you’re making the right decision, convince your investors or the bank it’s going well, convince your team they have made the right choice, convince your customers to sign up again or convince new customers to come on board. Then, the cycle starts again.
Entrepreneurship is tough. It’s tiring and your positive attitude and belief in yourself must be relentless. If at any point you lose the energy to do the above, your chances of continued success significantly diminish.
So, if you’re pumped up and excited to be an entrepreneur because you want to “relax out of the watchful eye of a boss”, or are sick of always selling and want to “make money while you sleep”, good luck. The biggest gains always come through bringing great value to the marketplace and that is rarely accomplished through anything other than good, honest hard work.
If you practice sales like me, you’ll notice the cycle will integrate into your life. You’ll see the flywheel of sales begin to spin quicker, the stakes will get higher and your ability to be comfortable in uncomfortable situations will expand. Selling is a critical life skill even if you’re “not in sales”. The best part is, as you gain confidence you’ll discover that selling and persuading those around you in pursuit of mutual benefit is a ton of fun, as well.
Love The Grind — Matty