Sell Swell

You can snag the investors, employees and customers you need if you know how to sell.
3 min read

This story appears in the May 2007 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

When i speak to entrepreneurs, I'm often asked the same question: "How do you raise money?" Most people don't like my answer.

In 1974, I asked my rich dad the same question. I was getting out of the Marine Corps and had decided I would become an entrepreneur. My rich dad answered, "The number-one skill of an entrepreneur is the ability to sell. If you can't sell, you should consider another line of work."

That year, I joined Xerox Corp. as a sales rep--not for the money, but for the sales training. For two years, I was the worst salesperson. But by my fourth year, my sales skills had improved--and so did my income. I understood then what my rich dad meant when he said, "Sales equals income." That statement was true back then, is true today and will be true tomorrow. Yet instead of becoming lifelong students of sales, many people look down on the art and science of sales. They often think of how they view salespeople--as pushy, arrogant, won't-take-no-for-an-answer arm-twisters--and convince themselves that they want nothing to do with sales.

I know many people who vigorously protest the idea that selling is part of their jobs. Entrepreneurs cannot afford that luxury. Raising money is a function of sales ability. And ultimately, the success of every venture hinges on sales. I've heard people say things like, "I am a leader, not a salesperson." In simple terms, if you can't sell, you're out of business. You may have the best product, best education and nicest office, but if you can't sell, you're history.

My rich dad often said, "There are three people an entrepreneur needs to sell to: investors, employees and customers." He also said, "These three people are your sources of money."

Raising money is an entrepreneur's most important job. The entrepreneur who can sell makes the most money and is a better leader. The entrepreneur with weak sales skills usually has low profits, large debts and difficulty growing his or her business. Such entrepreneurs are often heard saying, "My customers aren't buying," "I can't raise any capital" or "It's hard to find good employees these days."

Although I didn't like it when my rich dad gave me this advice years ago, I'm grateful that he shared it--and that I took it seriously. Today, my company is cash-rich and debt-free, simply because we sell. As I've stated in my book, I am a bestselling author, not a bestwriting author.

robert kiyosaki (, author of the Rich Dad series of books, is an investor, entrepreneur and educator whose perspectives have changed the way people think about money and investing.

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