You are in Business to first, last and always sell something.
This is such a basic tenet of business it deserves a “duh” and head slap. And yet, it is amazing how many business owners do not follow this primary principle. They will not make an effort to understand it, do not practice it, think it does not apply to them or lose sight of it. The owners who do not get it are the rule, not the exception – and there is a reason for that.
The typical owner wants to be self-employed and independent. He gets into business by starting, buying or inheriting a company. The company usually produces a product or service he has an interest in, expert knowledge of and experience with. He feels comfortable and competent producing the product.
But, Selling the product is another matter. Selling is often out of the usual owner’s comfort zone and area of expertise. He does not have the knowledge, skill or experience to put together and manage a productive sales team – and no interest in learning how to. He ends up ignoring his sales’ problems by using the excuse that he is too busy to fix them.
Let us understand the lack of logic here. He is too busy producing the product to Focus on selling the product. A product he is producing solely for the purpose of selling it. Many owners do not make the connection that they are not in business to produce products; they are in business to create revenue – otherwise, they are just running a charity.
This lack of understanding is one of the main reasons most businesses fail or barely make a profit. The belief that, “all I have to do is put out a good product and the customer will find me” has bankrupted millions of companies. Prioritizing selling is still the only and best way for your product to get to customers.
So, what do you do?
First and foremost, be willing to learn and get out of your comfort zone. This is especially true for the business owner who became self-employed so he “wouldn’t have to do the things I don’t want to do”. Successful and productive owners 1) stop doing things they have to make excuses for and 2) stop making excuses for not doing the things they should be doing.
Secondly, take control and learn how to manage your sales force. The number one reason that sales departments fail is poor oversight. Too often they get away with shoddy performance because the owner puts up with it. Good sales people are not unicorns; they are like any other employee – with proper hiring/firing practices, accountability, and supervision you can create a winning team.
It is human nature to concentrate on what we are good at and like doing. But, this limits our goals, narrows our point of view, lowers our efficiency and restricts our ability to learn. Complacency is not an effective management style. Want to be in business tomorrow? Then focus on selling your product today.
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