Entrepreneurial Selling

For Showroom sales teams

I believe it was the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern who first coined this term for a course on how to teach entrepreneurs to sell.  I think the flip of it might work too – how to teach sales people to think and act entrepreneurially.

In a previous post, “Generate Sales,” I offered that showroom salespeople need to go out and get new business rather than just wait for and service those opportunities that come through the door.  That the era of traffic into a showroom to shop, compare and buy has changed and waiting for business just doesn’t work.  And the more time I spend with showroom salespeople, coaching and training on the actions that will generate sales, the more I see that it’s the thinking that needs to come first.

So, what’s the thinking that’s required?

Some of that thinking is like a little old Main Street retailer who asks themselves each day: What am I going to do to sell something today?

It starts with an inquiring mind.  With a curiosity about the marketplace, the current and desired customer base, the options for how to look at and present products and services, where things are headed and trending.  It’s about ‘what’s missing?’ from these areas that you can create something to address and solve.  It’s about looking at what you have to offer and sell and looking at it differently….like in Apollo 13 when the chief engineer dumps the contents of what is in the space capsule on the table and tells his team “This is what they have up there that we will use to bring them back” – seeing the same products in a new way to produce a new result.  Take a look at your product and service offerings and ask yourself what would your products or services satisfy…and then who are the customers who want that satisfaction?  Sharon Drew Morgen said “It’s better to have something that people want to buy than it is to have something to sell.”

To shift your thinking, start reading about things you don’t usually read about (Seth Godin works for me as a daily jolt).  Imagine yourself as someone else and what that person would be asking that you wouldn’t think of.  Pretend you already ARE a successful entrepreneur – what would you be asking yourself?

As you plan your next selling week, ask yourself these questions…and for a week, just a week, operate within them and the actions that come from them and see what happens.


2 thoughts on “Entrepreneurial Selling

  1. Before “entrepreneurs”, people were ‘just’ retailers or salespeople or small business owners.
    (Too bad we had to go and get so fancy about it all)
    Anyway, their thinking was simple…
    Part 1. “in order for me and my family to eat tonight, I need to make and/or sell something.”
    Part 2. How much does that need to be?
    Part 3. Where can I go or Who can I talk to that will make that happen

    Those questions are today is as valid at they ever were.
    As I personally start up again in the Mortgage and Finance business, it’s real simple.
    “Where can I go, Who can I talk to and How am I going to get a deal today!?!?!”
    And if I don’t today, then I need two tomorrow – and on it will go.
    Survival = Urgency = Action… The alternative? Hunger.
    Or Apollo 13 is lost in Space.

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