Successful salespeople are far from your average employee.
For stellar sales reps, their approach to work goes much further than hitting their number each month. If you’re ready to knock your sales career out of the park, it’s time to put yourself in the mindset of an entrepreneur, managing your sales market the same way you would manage a business.
Why Salespeople Should Think Like Entrepreneurs
First, let’s talk about what it means to think like an entrepreneur as a sales rep. Whether you manage a specific territory, customer account, or service, there is likely a segment of your company’s business that you are responsible for when it comes to generating revenue. That’s a big responsibility, especially in a competitive landscape, but I know you’re up for the challenge.
As the business owner of your market, your attention should be on more than just your monthly quota. You should have a solid understanding of your target market, how current and world events may be impacting your industry and customer, and what other companies who offer products to your customer demographic are prioritizing.
When it comes to thinking like an entrepreneur, your mindset becomes more important than your skillset. After all, if you’ve made it this far as a rep that means you have the foundations of selling down. Now it’s time to expand upon your knowledge to take your business acumen to the next level.
Here are some ways salespeople can tap into an entrepreneurial mindset to make more sales.
7 Ways Salespeople Can Think Like Entrepreneurs
- Imagine you own your company.
- Position yourself as an expert.
- Hone in your listening skills.
- Establish ownership over your market or territory.
- Identify underserved areas and haps.
- Create a plan.
- Stay creative.
1. Imagine you own your company.
How would you approach your work if you had full ownership and were accountable for the success or failure of your business? Chances are, you would take it seriously and would do as much as you could to avoid failure.
When you’re striving to close your deals and make the sale, are you doing so to make more money for your company, or are you closing the deal because you know that’s what your manager expects of you? The latter is an example of having an employee mindset and being more motivated by the opinion of company leadership than what’s best for the company. The former has a mindset of an entrepreneur who is motivated by growing their business and seeing it grow.
This is an important shift for reps who are accustomed to having an employee mindset. Having an entrepreneur mindset makes you more accountable to provide an excellent experience to your customer, helping you drive more sales in the long run.
2. Position yourself as an expert.
Think of a small business owner you know or a business influencer you follow on social media. Imagine you had a question about their product and went to them for the answer. Chances are, they are an expert in the benefits and features of their product and can speak on why their customers need their offer with authority.
As a seasoned salesperson, it is crucial you position yourself as an expert when it comes to your market and the products you’re selling. Although you may not have created the product, you should be able to speak as if you had. When you’re talking to a prospect or customer, you want them to think of you as their go-to for the problem they are looking to solve which requires a perceived level of expertise.
Establishing a sense of expertise over your sales cycle gives you authority and ownership over what you’re selling and how you engage with your customers.
3. Hone in your listening skills.
Successful entrepreneurs know their ideal customers very well. They know what their pain points are, how they can benefit from using their product, and they likely engage with their customer base frequently. The key to having positive engagements with customers is by listening to them.
By leveraging strong active listening skills and behaving like an engaged entrepreneur who is genuinely interacting with and getting to know their customers, you will understand exactly what your customers need. With this approach, you can receive valuable feedback from your potential buyers and current customers that can help you better serve them in current or future deals.
4. Engage with your regional customer or territory communities.
Brick-and-mortar business owners are often very involved in their local communities, knowing what’s going on in the areas near their business.
For salespeople who support a specific territory or region, having this same sense of ownership and engagement when it comes to serving your area can give you a competitive advantage over others in your market.
Though you may not physically be present, you should know what is going on in the area your customers are located in. Whether that’s staying on top of local news, major events, or new businesses opening in your territory, understanding what’s top of mind for your regional customers provides valuable insight into how you can best support them.
5. Identify underserved areas and gaps.
Entrepreneurs are constantly looking for ways to provide new and exciting offers to keep their customers engaged. This doesn’t always involve launching new products or offers — this can also include identifying the underserved needs of your customers or potential customers and speaking to ways your offering can close that gap.
6. Create a plan.
When an individual is looking to establish a business, they usually start by creating a business plan to map out their venture before launching. As a sales rep, you should take a similar approach.
Creating a sales business plan as you enter a new sales cycle or start gearing up to sell a new product is incredibly valuable. Having a strategic plan laid out identifying what you would like to achieve in the coming sales period, quarter, or year can be helpful in keeping you aligned and accountable to your goals.
Check out this post to learn more about creating a business plan as a sales rep.
7. Stay creative.
Business owners, especially solopreneurs, tend to be creative problem-solvers who are good at thinking on their feet and handling a variety of things being thrown their way.
As a sales rep, you can embody the creative spirit of entrepreneurs by looking for new ways to do things. Whether you are identifying processes that can save time and reduce admin, or you look for new ways to engage with customers, challenge yourself to feel a level of dissatisfaction with the status quo. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box and try new tactics that can best serve your customers or business as a whole.
Though it may be a big mindset shift, thinking like an entrepreneur can unlock endless potential for your sales career. For more career development advice, check out this list of Entrepreneur Books Every Salesperson Should Read.