Yesterday I was meeting a friend for tea, and we were discussing some of the mental challenges with being an entrepreneur. After a while the conversation turned toward sales and growth. So of course I immediately began talking about how what I have been doing lately has evolved recently, what I am liking about it, and what's no longer working for me.
He looked at me bemused. "You know, many entrepreneurs I know don't see sales as a system, they see it as a direct reflection of themselves."
I started to laugh. "You think your customers buying decisions are about you? Their choice to buy has almost nothing to do with us! If only we were so lucky!"
But it's true. I remember a time when I was afraid of sales because I was afraid of rejection. I was afraid of rejection because I felt like the were saying no to me.
It took a mindset overhaul for me to retrain my thinking, and realize that when someone did not want what I had to offer, it had absolutely nothing to do with me personally whatsoever. I was attaching my personal self and self worth to what I was offering.
It's a good reminder and a weight off our shoulders to know that we are not a Kardashian (or whomever). Your name and your likeness attached to something has little to do with its success. It's all about whether or not you are willing to solve an actual problem and bring real value, and do the work to find people who need it.
By avoiding sales, in a weird way I was indulging my false belief that it was about me. I was choosing to not offer what I had to those who may or may not want it. I was not even giving them the choice.
This is pretty funny when you think about it. We create a lot of complexity for ourselves when it comes to sales and marketing. When in reality, all we need to do is get out of our own way and get better at offering what we have to even more people who may need it.
The tools, the systems, and the knowledge are easy to acquire, there are a lot of people who can help you (including yours truly). It's the willingness to see sales for what it is:
Sales is just another business activity and system to be created and maintained.
It's not something to obsess about. It's a thing (just like bookkeeping, or helping customers) that we have to just do.
I have some tools I love that help me "just do it" that have been game changers for me, and of course I have a great system that I know works because I learned it from the best of the best, world class companies (think Salesforce, DiscoverOrg, Acquia, etc.) and then modified it for early stage entrepreneurs. I love what I do, because I have seen it take companies from trickling to quarter million in revenue in 12-18 months (including mine).
If you are a dedicated entrepreneur, who can execute consistently, and do what needed to be done, it will likely pay off for you too.