You may believe your business is fundamentally about the product or service you're offering. Think again.
"If you are really serious about entrepreneurship, if you are really serious about growing your business, you will become obsessed with what it means to be a salesperson," said Amanda Steinberg, founder of personal finance site DailyWorth.com, speaking at the Women Entrepreneurs Rock The World Conference in New York Wednesday. After all, a great product doesn't mean much until it's in users' hands.
"How you make money for your business is an important part of the conversation," said Steinberg. If entrepreneurs are not making enough money for their business and are not able to fulfill their dreams, they "will burn out and it's not going to be pretty."
Here are the five steps entrepreneurs need to take become better salespeople:
1. Learn how to prospect.
Becoming a salesperson is "finding those who want to buy your product, making connection with them and taking their money," Steinberg said. On average, in order to close one deal salespeople meet with 100 prospects.
"If any of you are exhausted and are wondering why you are not making enough money, it's because you haven't talked to enough people," said Steinberg.
2. Realize that no doesn't mean no forever.
Don't be complacent with rejections, advised Steinberg.
"All too often that 'no' is 'No, not right now.'" Hearing no or not right now stings. However, entrepreneurs must develop a reflex that enables them to say 'Ok, but I'll be back later.'
3. Understand why you are not closing deals right now.
If prospects are interested, but are saying that they can't close a deal right now, "you really have to find out why and what it's going to take to close," said Steinberg. She suggests asking the prospects directly, in person or over the phone, not over email where it's easy for someone to deflect.
This information will give you a better understanding of your target market, of their hesitations and needs and wants.
4. Make sure your market can afford to pay you.
Steinberg emphasized that entrepreneurs must consider their total market opportunity. Trying to sell services or products within a limited market makes it difficult to find the 100 prospects you need to make a sale. Don't set yourself up for failure at the outset because your pool of prospects is too small.
5. Learn how to deal with rejection--and the move on.
"This is entrepreneurship. It's not kind a world out there. You can suffer for weeks on end, months on end," said Steinberg.
Steinberg sets a two hour limit on dealing with major rejections. "It's intense. It's sobbing, and crying, and the darkness. And then it's 'All right, what's next? Who is the next prospect?'" she said.