The 3 Most Important Sales Skills Needed to be an Entrepreneur
This week’s Stay Paid guest is entrepreneur Jared James. Jared owns the third largest coaching and training company in North America. He also owns a successful SaaS company and a marketing company.
While speaking about being an entrepreneur, Jared says, “Visibility is what really matters. The best don’t always win. It’s the ones who are visible, the ones who are an option . . . that are going to win.”
From a marketing standpoint, he’s right.
But, of course, there’s more to success as an entrepreneur than just being seen. Entrepreneurial ability is the sum of a plethora of traits and skills. And among the skills required are not just marketing skills . . . you also need sales skills.
For Jared, you can have a natural talent for sales, but he points out, “If you don’t work on the skill set, you don’t know what to say, you don’t understand tonality, you don’t understand all of these different things, you’re going to underperform. Period.”
To expand on Jared’s point, we put together our list of the three most important sales skills needed to be an entrepreneur:
- active listening skills
- emotional intelligence
Active listening skills
Hearing is a physiological response to sound waves. It’s a form of passive listening, and rarely do you attend to or remember much of what you hear.
On the other hand, active listening is “the ability to focus completely on a speaker, understand their message, comprehend the information, and respond thoughtfully.”[i] It’s what happens when you fully commit your verbal and nonverbal behavior to concentrate on what your client is saying.
Active listening involves your whole body and your complete attention. When engaged in active listening you respond to questions, ask relevant follow-up question, clarify when necessary, nod your head, gesture, adopt a posture of intent, and keep eye contact. You don’t interrupt, let your thoughts wander, or allow a ringing phone to interrupt the conversation.
Active listening shows your client you are paying attention to them. It’s an exceptionally valuable sales skill because it can help you to:
- build trust and connections;
- increase your knowledge of your client and their needs;
- avoid missing critical details;
- solve problems.
Selling is a people-oriented activity. It’s why an entrepreneur with honed active listening skills will win a sale every time against a salesperson with more technical knowledge.
Emotional intelligence is an interpersonal skill. People who have a high level of emotional intelligence are able to name and manage their own feelings as well as recognize the feelings of others.[ii]
You can understand why having the ability to identify your emotions, use them productively, and manage the emotions of others would give you an advantage in sales. For example, attending to the nonverbal behavior of a lead and ascertaining what it might say about the lead’s emotional state, a skilled salesperson can adapt their own behavior and situation as needed.
And because it is a skill, emotional intelligence can be learned, practiced, and improved upon.
Perseverance is an ability, mindset, habit, or skill (call it what you will) to continue with a difficult task or to keep going even when success seems distant. It’s a critical skill in sales, but one that too many salespeople fail to develop.
In sales, a lack of persistent follow-up amounts to a lack of perseverance. Jared, Luke, and Josh all agree that salespeople fail when they fail to follow up on a lead. Generally, it takes between five to twelve follow-ups before a lead will convert to a sale; yet only a tiny percentage of salespeople reach out even two times!
Follow up isn’t always easy. In requires hard work, resilience, determination, and grit. But know that for every lead that didn’t receive a follow up, there’s an entrepreneur with more of these attributes who will be only too happy to snap up the wasted opportunity—and lost money.
[i] Active Listening Skills: Definition and Examples, Indeed.com, July 24, 2020, https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/career-development/active-listening-skills.
[ii] Emotional Intelligence: What Is Emotional Intelligence? Psychology Today, https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/emotional-intelligence
- The agent, broker, advisor, etc. who gets the deal isn’t always the best at what they do. More likely, they’re simply better at being more visible.
- In today’s marketplace, to be visible you have to create content.
- The way to improve your sales is to improve your skills as a sales professional.
- You get more than 24 hours a day when you build capacity.
- Follow up. Stop saying, “no,” for other people.
Commit to following up until you get one of two fingers.
Connect | Resources
To connect with Jared, go to ConnectwithJared.com