Hi! I’m Stephanie Breedlove, Co-Founder of Care.com HomePay, Author and Angel Investor.
I absolutely adore taking an idea and giving it life in the form a business, then leading it to its full potential. Nothing is more fun. (Seriously!) I’d love for every woman who wants to start her own business to say the same thing, so here I am, mentoring millennial entrepreneurs. When I’m not working, I like to recharge and head outdoors to hike, bike, or stand up paddle board!
Is that list of business news and trending articles you’ve tagged still unread? I get it. Allow me to help. Take a couple minutes to read my summary of articles serving the most pertinent, actionable business topics. Or, take 10 minutes to read the full article, and put another brick on the foundation of your growing career.
This Week’s Must-Read:
Who it’s for:
Why it’s important:
Selling is not just for the sales team, nor is it an automatic phenomenon. It’s a skill any founder can and should acquire. This is tough talk, but we have to admit that lots of us are not natural salespeople. I admit sales isn't in my wheel house.
The skills you need to start a business and pursue a strategic vision are not always aligned with the skills you need to close deals. You have to learn the art of sales to succeed. And you can, I promise.
Here are 5 tips to build upon:
- Sales aren’t automatic. Too many entrepreneurs mistakenly believe that sales just happen. You can’t call or email, and next thing, you’ve sold a $50,000 piece of business. The more complex and expensive the solution you're selling, the more time and effort required to make the sale. In major B2B sales, the average time to close a new account is typically 6-18 months.
2. Read Up on Your Sales Skills. Lots of entrepreneurs learn how to code or manage accounting; sales is no different. Entrepreneurship requires you to wear many hats, and sales is absolutely one of them. Here are a few key skills to focus on.
a. Elevator Pitch: You should be able to describe your product (and why someone should care) in 30 seconds.
b. Sale Script: Once you get on the phone with a prospect, what will you say to them? A script will help focus your thoughts, and keep you both organized and on-message.
c. Making “The Ask:” Have the confidence to make “the ask:” to formally ask the prospect to agree to take the next step. Sales is not about being pushy, but about guiding the prospect in the right direction. Prospects want you to lead them and be clear about asking for what you need them to do next.
3. Create a Sales Process. Not only do sales not just “happen,” but they are the result of a disciplined process. Find a series of steps that make sense for what you sell. For example:
- Initial conversation
- Product demo
- Formal sales presentation
- Implementation budget and ROI discussion
- Final meet with key stakeholders
4. Build Trust. It sounds simple, but it’s profoundly complicated. Selling is about building relationships and getting people to trust you.
5. Cultivate Resilience.There are lots of ups and downs throughout the sales process. Your job is to keep moving the process along. Find out what people are really worried about, or what the root cause of their objection is.
Top Take-Away: It is a myth that sales is one of the skills that “you got” or “you don’t.” Skills that are not in your natural wheel house can be learned. This includes sales. Let the learning begin.
Here’s a few tips and tools to get the learning started:
The Ultimate Guide to Creating a Sales Process
Learning How to Sell
How to Improve Your Sales Skills, Even if You’re Not a Salesperson
10 Tips to Kick-Start Your Sales Skills
- Initial conversation