Does a Founder really need sales Skills?
This is actually a question I see very often asked by want to be entrepreneurs.
Of course Of course
I think that is one of the top qualities of a great CEO. They constantly selling to:
- Recruit employees
- Convince investors to come on board
- Selling their vision
- Selling a narrative compelling to customers
- Selling to keep it all together
- As you scale you will have people who leave, have doubts in you and things get more complex. How are you going to manage that? you will need to listen to all viewpoints and make new decisions accordingly and make sure everyone is in sync. Things will change dramatically as you scale, there is a difference from where the company was doing $10M in sales and now $100M.
- Sell to co founders and manage objections
- Bureaucracy and red tape – Convincing law makers to not impose any more hardship or why to impose new regulations
- You will need it when it comes to acquisition (why they need to by at that X multiple) or when going public
- Establish visibility in the marketplace
- Provide exceptional customer service
- Building long lasting relationships
- In order to properly justify why you have such high margins when some might call you a rip off but you see it as providing value, paying employees better, better return on investor, etc etc
- Convince suppliers to drop their prices
- Convince suppliers to stay on board during hard times
Others provided great answers as well. I wanted to provide quick digestible answers illustrating why selling is crucial for a startup CEO.
We all have heard of those natural born salesman, however, the average person was not born with that skill. It is absolutely learnable, there are vast amounts of books, videos, workshops, conferences, etc on the topic. It’s also one of those skills that you just need to go out there practice and execute.
I started to officially learn how to sell while on winter break on my freshman year of college while working at Vector Marketing selling cooking utensils. It was a great learning experience as I learned how to manage objections, strategize around each client, find proper leads, give a little and get a little, etc.
Bonus tip: Do this before each scenario in order to increase your chances of success.
- Selling: I forgot something in my car, do you mind if I grab your keys in order to let myself back in? Remember sales is built on trust and confidence.
- Interview: Why me? What qualities do I posses that made me jump off the page and you bring me here today? The interviewer will focus on the positive aspects of you setting the interview to a great start.
Hope that helps.