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Are direct sales skills necessary for entrepreneurial success?

Discussion in 'Advertising, Marketing, Social Media' started by Kruiser, Jan 23, 2019.

  1. Kruiser
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    Kruiser Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass Summit Attendee

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    I’m wondering to what extent direct, person to person, sales skills are necessary for entrepreneurial success, especially in the context of a product-based business (like ecomm).


    While I’m trying to get my own product-based business going, I’m helping another forum member by doing some sales prospecting for his service-based business. Doing so has helped me remember how much I loathe cold-contacting people. I did inside sales as a first job out of school and think I had a pit in my stomach the entire year.


    I’m feeling the same feelings again. Pit in the stomach, etc. Woke up at 2am thinking about cold-contacting people again today. As completely ridiculous as this sounds, dialing out feels like a huge act of courage for me.


    A friend/mentor is pushing me to keep going as sales is a skill I will need to develop for my own business. But I’m not sure.


    I’m more than a little introverted. I’m an INTJ on the Meyers-Briggs. The funny thing is, I don’t mind talking to people in general. I don’t mind talking to warm sales leads. I have relatively little trouble speaking to folks at parties. I have no fear of public speaking. I just hate cold-contacting individuals. Even when I’m the customer. I’d rather order a pizza online than make a call.


    Yes, I absolutely believe in the service I’m selling. Yes, I really think it can help the people I’m contacting. But I struggle with the cold prospecting and am wondering if it is a skill I really need to develop for a product-based business. If it is ever necessary, can’t I just hire around my own limitations?


    I guess I’m thinking that with a product-based business, cold-prospecting isn’t necessary. But maybe that is naive. At higher, more successful levels of a product-based company, do direct sales skills come into play? Does the owner need to have these skills?


    Part of me thinks: “Cold-prospecting is a learnable and valuable skill. The more you do it, the better you’ll become. There are techniques you can learn, etc.”


    But another part of me thinks: “Why torture yourself to become barely competent at best when there are others who love this stuff and are naturally good at it? Focus on your own strengths.”


    Do I really need to develop my own direct cold-contact sales skills for a product-based ecom business?


    Thanks in advance!
     
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  2. emphasize.v1
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    emphasize.v1 Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane

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    You said you don't mind talking to warm leads but you have trouble contacting cold ones. Approach your situation from different angle.

    Your product has certain value and it can potentially solve a certain need for many people. By limiting yourself to contact only warm leads you dramatically reduce the number of lives you've affected which is kinda irrational.

    As for answering the question directly, I consider sales essential for everyday life, not just entrepreneurship. Your sales skills are put to test in so many life situations, ranging from selling a specific product, selling yourself to an employer in the interview, negotiating terms for your employees or even selling yourself to your potential wife.

    Would you marry a "good enough" person just because it's a warm lead or sell yourself and marry a great one?

    Not sure if good analogy, just wanted to emphasize importance of sales.

    Sent from my Mi A2 using Tapatalk
     
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  3. Youss
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    Youss Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER

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    Plain answer: Yes, absolutely!

    If you put aside large corporations' CEOs, where politics and the ability to sell themselves probably plays the biggest part, I don't think you can be a business owner, entrepreneur or whatever you call it if YOU are not able to directly sell something. Either your project or your products/services.

    A few years ago I worked for a CEO who would never ever talk to a customer, even if a multi-million $ worth contract was at stake. The guy was a Steve Jobs wannabe who would just give his instructions to the COO or salespersons and never wanted to be on the frontline. But when it came to recruiting C-level people or talking to investors and banks, the guy was the one and only #1 sales rep of the company.

    Think about this, you want to outsource that skill, but how are you going to convince anyone valuable to join you? Just by relying on your 1st or 2nd degree of relationship? So you would miss your dream whatever position just because she's a complete stranger?
     
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  4. Zcott
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    Zcott Bronze Contributor I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass

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    I know how you feet. Cold calling sucks, especially when you're doing it for other people. You sit there and you read off a script, and sure you get better and more confident as you go along but it doesn't feel genuine. I think that's because you're calling to sell your bosses solutions and not yours.

    As said above, maybe approach it by looking at it differently. You're not cold calling from a script. You've identified a problem someone is having now you want to have a chat to see if you can help them.

    Honestly though, jump right into it. Once you get the first 10 calls out of the way you'll gain some momentum.
     
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  5. Jonathan Hoch
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    Jonathan Hoch Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    I can’t recommend fanatical prospecting, sales eq, and speak with power, enough

    Cold calling is frowned upon, because the mindset. Reframe to the idea of setting up future sales in THEIR purchasing windows, instead of stupid boiler room “close now” bullshit.

    And also, rejection is good because you shouldn’t be worrying about selling to someone who doesn’t want your solutions. It instead gets you one call closer to the person who wants to say yes!

    Seriously though, these three books are fantastic. I was so pumped after these books that I WANTED to go cold call!
     
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  6. Digamma
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    Digamma Gold Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

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    In a word, yes.

    Are there people who made it without it?
    Possibly.

    But exceptions don't invalidate general rules.


    I don't think it's ridiculous at all.

    Honestly, I used to be the same way.

    Fact is, I have a hard time pinpointing what exactly changed things for me.

    But - it wasn't just desensitization by doing.
    Because I don't think that's how it works. Actually, I know it's not.


    Are you in the habit of second-guessing your mentor?
    Do you guys debate stuff?

    Because if not... then you are just rationalizing something that makes you uncomfortable.

    There is no such thing as a personality type.
    (Or to be more clear: it exists as a category to describe behavior, not what you are - what you do.)

    Meyers-Briggs is like astrology, but for people who aren't cool.

    There are only feedback loops. Triggers, behaviors, and rewards.

    Then you wouldn't be an introvert, even if such a thing existed.

    Woah, lots to unpack there.

    First off, there is an unnamed assumption in what you say.
    You are assuming the idea that one would not feel comfortable cold calling because/if they do not believe in what they are selling.
    That's wrong. The two things are totally uncorrelated.

    I could cold call you and sell you a bridge.
    It wouldn't make the act of cold calling any different.
    Exactly in the same way I would have no problem tying my shoes as I scam you.

    My problem would be with scamming, not cold calling.

    Your problem is with cold calling and selling, not what you sell.

    As for hiring around your limitations, running a business IS selling.
    Selling is selling, marketing is selling, managing is selling.

    You are not incompetent at it, you are scared of it. There is a difference.
    If you're bad at something, you will have subpar results.
    If you're scared of it, you won't be able to do it at all.

    You are scared.

    I am scared of getting punched in the face.
    So I'm starting kickboxing, not convincing myself that there is no way I will ever be punched in the face in my life.
    Because that would just be a rationalization.

    Your problem is not that you need to do it enough.
    You need to understand why you have such a problem with it.
    Go deep. Dispel that fear.

    Wrong question. The right question is:
    Do you want to run away from something that scares you?
    Is that a feedback loop you want to start in your life?
     
  7. Kruiser
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    Kruiser Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass Summit Attendee

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    @Digamma - I seriously appreciate the in depth feedback. Thank you!!

    Thank you to everyone else who also responded!
     
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  8. Johnny boy
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    Johnny boy Silver Contributor FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    A helpful sales tip that works for me:

    Change your perception of sales interactions.

    Here's how most people view sales and this is why it hurts so much...

    "I gotta convince person x to buy my product. I hope they say yes so I don't get rejected"

    Here's how I look at a sales interaction and here's how I can blow through no's without feeling a thing.

    "I am going to get rid of this person as quick as possible if they aren't a good fit for working with me and then on to the next one".

    You need to "get rid" of people. That's how you sell. You've got a list to call? Think "I have to reject 90 people today from my services because they are wastes of time" and get dialing. Not "boo-hoo I hope people don't tell me no today. Gotta build up some courage".

    Have aggressive energy. Send out "get out of my way" vibes to people who aren't qualified. Get tougher. You'll soar through cold calls and actually enjoy it. It's much more enjoyable to "reject" someone than feeling rejected. It's all perception.

    They can feel your energy. It's a self-certain energy that actually makes them feel like you're worth listening to.

    Believe it or not, knocking on a door and saying "you don't need lawn care, do you?" with a voice that says I'm about to leave in any second works much better than trying to follow a standard "sales process" of building rapport and kissing their a$$. I've sold cars to people by walking up to them and saying "so, whatcha buying today?" Sometimes you need to just grow a pair. Don't be afraid to blow things up. It is better to die by ashes than dust.
     
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  9. Kruiser
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    Kruiser Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass Summit Attendee

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    That's a good reframe. Thanks!
     
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  10. Jonathan Hoch
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    Jonathan Hoch Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Yes yes yessssss!!!
     
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  11. amp0193
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    amp0193 Legendary Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR Summit Attendee

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    I find that shooting for the moon helps build the courage too.

    I've been spending the last couple of weeks trying to reach an athlete who is a household name in the U.S.

    It's still scary every time I put myself out there.

    But man, does it make normal sales calls look like a walk in the park in comparison.
     
  12. Kruiser
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    Kruiser Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass Summit Attendee

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    @amp0193 - Thanks so much for replying!

    I guess I'm just really struggling to understand the role of outbound cold calls in an ecom business. I understand that calls have to be made; to suppliers, vendors, etc. But those aren't customer calls. Isn't the marketing mainly digital?

    For example, what was the role of outbound sales calls in your previous ecom business? In your present ecom business?

    I'm really seeking to understand the realities of a larger scale ecom business beyond the small scale FBA "business" I used to have.

    I know that direct sales is a useful skill generally. And it is also true that I am not good at it yet and I do fear it. But I don't want to waste a bunch of time and energy acquiring a skill that I don't really need. I'm trying to figure out if I actually need it or not.

    Thanks for any insight you can provide!
     
  13. amp0193
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    amp0193 Legendary Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR Summit Attendee

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    Last business, calling b2b wholesalers. i.e. stores.

    This business... trying to contact celebrities and influential figures/athletes to promote the product. Also retail stores. And investors.

    Ecom is just a sales channel. Your business is your products.
     
  14. Kruiser
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    Kruiser Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass Summit Attendee

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    Thanks again!
     
  15. Jonathan Hoch
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    Jonathan Hoch Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    I'm finally in front of my computer so I can give a little more encouragement.

    Back in 2006, I was an account executive for a major IT solutions company. Fancy way of saying telemarketer. I was dropped in front of a computer with a CMS and a list of about 25,000 cold leads. I would use the excuse of "doing background research," to not make calls. Being rejected was miserable.

    It was stupid to hate it. I mean, someone out there needed some expensive technology, and I was a vendor of expensive technology. But I stuck to it. Nothing, for probably two months straight. But something started happening. I was starting to see patterns of objections. I don't need that solution, I already have this solution. Why would I need that? I'm already working with someone. Etc.

    At some point, a senior salesman who had been encouraging me to stick through the rough times paid me a visit to ask me how I was doing. I told him I was thinking about quitting. I couldn't live on the base pay, without making any sales or progress. I was just going to go back to the Ford dealership, with my tail between my legs.

    He told me to stick it out for just one more week. He wanted me to try something.

    "It's not the end of the world if you get shot down. Here's what I want you to do. Make a list of the objections that are stopping you dead in your tracks. Yes, during the call, write them down as they happen. At the end of each day, get some flash cards, and put one objection and how you think you should overcome it on each card. Now, as you call the rest of your 25,000 you will be ready and have a fighting chance to making a sale!"

    I felt like he dropped a knowledge piano on my head. It was so simple. But it made so much sense. I did what he said, and calling became fun. I had a game that I was now playing. Uncover the objection! And if it was something I already encountered, I tried my ideas. They didn't always work, but I started having a blast. I almost didn't care about the sales at that point. I was collecting objection cards.

    At one point, my cubicle looked like a detective's crime mystery. Except the only mystery was where did all the fear and negative pressure go?

    Who dun it?

    More like Who objected it?

    Oh, and I started making sales to the point where I had surpassed all but one of the 14 other green Account Executives, er, telemarketers, that were hired in our mass-hire. He already knew about this idea.

    ______________________

    The point, is that you should be trying to uncover any reason why people wouldn't want to do business.
    That way you can go back and tighten up the sales copy, you can tighten up the call scripts, and you might even modify the product.

    If I've gone too far off the path, sorry.

    I was reminiscing.
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2019
  16. Everyman
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    Everyman Get To The Choppa! Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    This would be my first question. Do you need it? Will you need it in the future? Why would you need it?

    Btw it's an excellent skill. Because most of us are so terrified of cold calls. No one wants to do it...
     
  17. PizzaOnTheRoof
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    PizzaOnTheRoof Probably Flipping Burgers Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Great idea! I’m also terrified of cold calling so maybe this will help a bit.

    Thanks!

    Skills can never be taken away from you, and knowledge weighs nothing.

    Learning to sell is only an advantage, however NOT learning to sell can be an immense disadvantage.
     
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  18. Digamma
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    Digamma Gold Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

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    You're welcome.

    I just wanted to chime in again about something that I've been reading in this thread.

    I see the thread is devolving in platitudes and motivation.

    Some users are talking about "reframing" rejection as "eliminating bad prospects".

    Which is a fine thing. And it works.

    It's also a crutch.

    If you have to reframe rejection, you are still scared of it.

    So you need to get deeper.

    You need to reframe deeper.

    Do you need "reframes" when you make coffee?

    No, it's just a task. Right?

    So why are you scared of cold calling people?

    Isn't that just a task?

    Think about it.
    This guy gets it. Don't reframe the rejection.

    That's a band-aid on a gunshot wound that's leaking brain matter.

    Become action dependent, not outcome dependent.

    (And not outcome independent either, because in sales you eat what you kill.)
     
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  19. Jonathan Hoch
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    Jonathan Hoch Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    A little secret that I use against my wife.
    Disclaimer: I don't suggest trying this, as you might get yourself stabbed in the middle of the night.

    If/when we're arguing, she'll call me all the names in the book.

    "What else?" I hate you! "What else?" You're lazy! "What. Else?" You forget everything. "Sure, but what else? Come on. I know you have something more. What else?"

    I do this for around 10 things, and she builds like a volcano, sometimes her eyes going completely black like the shark in Finding Nemo. But then she starts laughing. "I hate you." I know already, but what else?

    Get it all on the table. Who cares? No big deal. Find reasons why they're NOT the ideal customer, and move on to find the ones who ARE! They're waiting for your call!
     
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  20. Andy Black
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    Andy Black Any colour, as long as it's red. Staff Member Read Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR

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    I don’t cold call. I don’t take cold showers either. I like my warm calls and warm showers.

    Just for context: I enjoy one-to-one chats and don’t fear public speaking. I lose energy in many-to-many situations though, and prefer my own company much of the time.

    If I was to cold call I’d make it a game like mentioned above. “I’ve an idea and I’m going to test it.”
     
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  21. Everyman
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    Everyman Get To The Choppa! Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    This is actually brilliant. We take cold calling (and life) too seriously. Have fun with it, because it ends in one way only :D

    Rep++
     
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  22. MaxKhalus
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    Long story short man, they're not. But that's where all the BIG BIG money is made.
    Concerning to the cold calling, as you can imagine, it's hardly effective. So, yes, selling is a MUST and definitely something I want to learn right now. But I would practice 'closing' rather than cold-calling.

    You are probably not a newbie at this; cold calling is good as a skill, but not as good generating money as answering phone call from real leads. If I want to learn how to sell, I need to learn some highly valuable skills using this hierarchy: copyrighting (catching the attention, building optins, lead magnets, whatever you call it) and closing / selling. You need HQ people to contact you so you don't lose time.
    Sure, cold calling is great if you know who are you talking to, like a big company which may need your services for instance. In case of individual clients, this is the main idea.
    And it's nothing new. People who already know you will simply give you more money than new clients because all the profit is made after the first sale.
    I'm not trying to copy Dan Lok, it's just the truth. Go watch his work and you'll get my point really quickly.
     
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  23. Kruiser
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    Kruiser Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass Summit Attendee

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    Good story and good idea. Thanks!
     
  24. Kruiser
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    Kruiser Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass Summit Attendee

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    @Digamma. Thanks again!

    I'm having trouble understanding what you are getting at here and I think it is probably worth getting, so I'm following up. Sorry if I'm slow on the uptake.

    No, I don't need to reframe anything when I make coffee. But I also don't have a crippling and irrational fear of making coffee that could prevent me from reaching my goals.

    Such is not the case with cold calls.

    Some of the other posted suggested some ways to think of the cold calls in a different way that would help me to actually make more of them.

    It seems that following some of these suggestions would help me eventually get to the point where making cold calls is "just a task," if perhaps a still somewhat unpleasant one. Are you suggesting a different path?
     
  25. Jonathan Hoch
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    Jonathan Hoch Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Let me ask you something...

    What goals are you setting for your calls?

    If you follow the above idea as a game of collecting as many objections as possible, you’ll actually get excited when you get one that is totally new/different.

    Phone prospecting can be difficult, if you’re going for a full blown sale on a frozen prospect.

    Set goals. Get them to agree to an email. Send them a case study. Host a 1on1 webinar.

    Each of these above steps, can be scheduled ahead of time and specifically, AROUND THEIR BUYING WINDOW, and you can predictably see your future sales.

    Seriously, go get fanatical prospecting and sales EQ by Jeb Blunt. They’re both on audible. You won’t be disappointed.
     
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