by Dr Greg Chapman
A common myth in which many small business owners believe is that all they need to do is find a great salesperson to be successful. They already know how to make great widgets, and they are really good at providing their service to their clients, but if they just had someone who is good at door-to-door to bring in new customers, their business would be brilliant!
The problem is to find great salespeople. On average, most sales people are average. By definition, half are below average! You can, of course train a new sales person, but if you are not great at sales, it will be the blind leading the blind.
You may find a great salesperson – they certainly exist. A great salesperson may be good at selling lots of things, but the thing they are best at selling is themselves. They know their value. They know the value of the business they generate.
Unfortunately, many business owners truly don’t understand the value of great salespeople and will not pay for the best. They are expensive. They like to have uncapped commissions. They will probably be the most expensive people in the business. They will also most likely leave you when they realise you need them more than they need you. The really great salespeople work for themselves. The ones that stay are the average ones.
Large businesses with many sales staff know that they must continually invest in sales training and have sales managers to drive performance in an effort to keep them above average. In contrast, small businesses try to hire salespeople with these skills already in place. They try to get them on the cheap. Only the average ones are cheap.
For any business that has been around a number of years, the owner will have developed some sales skills. They are also likely to be the best salesperson in their business. This is as you would expect, as they have the greatest incentive. The profit goes to them. They are also responsible for the training and support of any sales staff, whose skills and motivation will almost certainly be less.
However, some business owners truly dislike the sales process. They would like to be left alone to build their widgets with someone else providing the customers. The only way that they can do this is if they get a job working for another widget maker.
Business owners need to make the choice on whether they want to stay in love with widget making, or fall in love with owning a widget business.
Marketing and sales is part of every business and the owner must take a lead in these areas. This is what differentiates the owner from the employee that just makes widgets.The owner must be prepared to be the best in marketing and sales so they can lead their sales team. This means investing in education and training for themselves if they are unsatisfied with their existing sales results.
In small business, the best salesperson must be the owner. It’s their business. If they can’t sell it to others, who else can?
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Dr Greg Chapman is the Director of Empower Business Solutions and is Australia's Lea ding Advisor on Emerging Businesses and provides Coaching and Consulting advice to Australian Small Business Owners in Marketing & Business Strategies Planning & Systems. He is also the author of The Five Pillars of Guaranteed Business Success and Price: How You Can Charge More Without Losing Sales.
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