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3 Things Every Entrepreneur Must Know to Grow Their Business

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It seems like everyone these days is an entrepreneur. After all, anyone with a computer and an internet connection has the opportunities to serve a global audience. The harsh reality is that the vast majority of these budding entrepreneurs will never make the money they hope to through their new business venture. Most will fail to ever make a dollar, others will earn very little and eventually abandon the idea as the novelty wears off and discouragement sets in. 

The difference between the runaway success stories and the masses of entrepreneurs silently toiling in their businesses is that the former possess a skill that the latter do not. The winners know how to sell.

Weekly, I encounter starry-eyed entrepreneurs with big ideas and a palpable disdain for sales, sales processes, and anything that conjures mental images of used car salesmen in cheap suits who reek of equally cheap cologne. These entrepreneurs likely won’t make it. If you want to succeed you have to learn to sell.

Here are three lessons from top sales leaders on how entrepreneurs can improve their sales results:

1. Educate, don’t pitch

Don’t even think about pitching your offering until you know exactly what ails your would-be buyer. The fastest way to sink a deal – and your reputation – is by pitching an offer that won’t actually work to alleviate your customer’s pain point. A superior way to sell, however, is to avoid pitching at all. This proverbial high road is one that will set you apart from virtually every other sales person who comes knocking. You will become more than another offering in a crowded field; you will become the trusted advisor.
The first thing you must do in any selling situation is take the time to self educate by asking thoughtful questions that invite your prospect to open up about their current situation. The best sales leaders do this effortlessly and the meeting begins to feel more like therapy than a sales call.

Once you’ve established a level of trust with your could be buyer, now is the time to show them how your offering would be the right next step to solve their problem – but only if it actually will. Spinning your offering to shoehorn a customer into a deal they’ll later regret is a fast way to trash any trust and goodwill you’ve managed to create. By demonstrating how your offering will make their lives better, you have put yourself into the role of the trusted advisor and your soon-to-be customer will thoughtfully consider your offer free from the typical pressure of transactional sales.

“Keep yourself positive, cheerful, and goal-oriented. Sales success is 80% attitude and only 20% aptitude.” – Brian Tracy

2. Expect to hear ‘no’

Hearing no is hard. Especially when you know that the product or service you’re selling will genuinely help make your customer’s life better. The first time you hear a no it can be pretty devastating, especially true when it’s your business that you’re trying to get off the ground. Rejection is always hard though a healthy perspective can go a long way towards keeping you on the path to eventual success.

The good news is that every no is a great opportunity to learn. From building your confidence as you pitch your offer to modifying how you present the benefits of your offering each no give you permission to experiment with your presentation.

3. Do the Hard thing

Bottom line is you’ve got to put yourself out there. Yes, it’s easy to send out a handful of cold emails to potential prospects and wait, with fingers crossed, and hope for an unlikely ‘yes’. Unless you are able to craft a curiosity inducing subject line and an email that provides an astounding amount of value, cold emails seldom work. That widely accepted reality doesn’t stop scores of entrepreneurs from spending untold hours in their inbox sending messages to every email address they manage to track down.

If you want to succeed you need to strand out and that means finding less crowded spaces to occupy with your message. It means doing the thing that no one else has thought of or that no one else wants to do. Sending an email is easy while getting up on a stage at an industry trade show is not. Neither is cold calling prospects out of the phone book. Consistently do the hard thing that no one else will and you’ll find success sooner than later.

“If people like you, they’ll listen to you. But if they trust you, they’ll do business with you.” – Zig Ziglar

Falling in love with the process of selling is no small task but it’s critical for entrepreneurs who desire to leverage their businesses to achieve lifestyle and wealth. The most successful entrepreneurs and sales leaders are the ones who have designed processes that align with their personality and strengths. Ultimately the road to success is one of consistency so map out your path and commit to walking it out every day.

Bryce Conlan is the Founder of the Narrative Advantage, a consultancy that empowers sales leaders to build high-trust, high-performing teams by discovering the everyday genius of leaders and sales reps alike. Bryce has worked with 10 Fortune 500’s and many other well known brands such as GE, Proctor & Gamble, National Geographic, Harley Davison, Sony Music Group and has directly influenced over $72MM in new revenue for himself and his clients over the course of his career. You can find him at the Narrative Avantage website or follow him on Linkedin.

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How You Can Start Networking in Style in 2023

By investing your time and effort in networking, you will gain more business through the relationships you make

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Are you completely new to networking?

Then this article is a great place to start. Networking isn’t hard on paper…you go along to online and in-person meetings, make new connections and build relationships, and those relationships lead to more work so you can grow your business! The challenge is that in reality, it isn’t quite so straightforward, as our emotions get involved and make things much tougher.

It’s incredibly common for nerves to creep in and to feel overwhelmed and apprehensive when it comes to networking – even when it isn’t new to you. But how can you become more successful at it, feel less self-conscious, and make networking work for you and your business?

Here’s a few tips to help you embrace every business networking opportunity you get, so you can grow your business and achieve your goals.

Rock up with confidence

If you want to keep those nerves at bay and ooze confidence at networking get-togethers, you’ll need to downplay it rather than seeing it as a big occasion. Try not to put pressure on yourself and see it as a casual meet-up with a bunch of people with similar goals to you. To help you relax in the run-up to the event, be sure to set achievable goals and expectations before you go.

Keep your chin up and your goals in mind – positivity is key. One easy goal for your first networking meeting is very simply to speak to one other person and see where the conversation goes. Introduce yourself and your business, but take the time to listen to their story, too. It’ll only take a few minutes and will be over before you know it, so it’s nothing to fear. You may even enjoy it and want to speak to a few more people, too!

“You can close more business in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get people interested in you.” – Dale Carnegie

Where to go networking

If you’ve never been networking before, it might not be very easy to find a group – but only because there’s so much choice and you don’t know where to start your search! Groups come in different sizes and styles, so it’s important to find one that suits you and your business. Informal, formal, big, small… the choice is yours.

For your first meeting, start small to ease yourself in – a big group could prove too daunting, and stop you from feeling comfortable enough to get involved. After all, you want to make a strong first impression!

If you’re wondering which group to opt for in the long-term, give a few a go! Get a feel for them, speak to as many people as you can, and see which one suits! You’ll know when a group feels right for you, and you can see where those all-important relationships are most likely to be built. If a group doesn’t feel like the right for you, give a different one a go.

Get more leads and referrals

This will happen for you, as long as you put the effort into building those relationships. If you take the time to get to know people, and then check in with them and support them, they’ll see you as a trustworthy and reliable contact who they can call on. And when they feel that way, those leads and referrals you’re looking for will come a-knocking.

Once you’ve made relationships with people who you trust, and they’ve had a positive experience working with you, you can even ask for referrals! But don’t rush this, as you don’t want to inadvertently push people away or try and force the relationship along too quickly.

When you do get an opportunity to work with someone you’ve met at a networking group, go above and beyond to offer more value than they’re expecting, as then, they’ll be much more likely recommend you and introduce you to more of their contacts!

Grow your business

By investing your time and effort in networking, you will gain more business through the relationships you make, and you will be able to grow your business.

We know that it’s not easy, going networking for the very first time. And that’s why we want to give you all the advice and tools that you need so you can walk in with confidence and make the most of the opportunity.

2023 is just around the corner, and you have the chance to make it the year you make networking work for your business. And the benefits could be incredibly amazing for your business, just like they have been for ours, and many business owners we have worked with over the years.

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