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7 Ways Being in Sales Prepares You to be a Great Entrepreneur Irrespective of what product or service an entrepreneur is offering, the way they serve their customers is what helps their business stand out from among the pool of competition

By Prateek Saxena

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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When you closely look into the characteristics that are common among all successful entrepreneurs - Passion, Ability to Multitask, Process Oriented, Empathetic, Self Reflective, Self Motivation, and a heightened acceptability towards failures; you will see a line that connects them with the USPs of a good salesperson.

Now add these set of characteristics to the definition of an expert salesperson and you will see the making of an entrepreneur in every top-in-their-game salesperson.

After all, it was the solid Sales background that made Elon Musk, Warren Buffett, and Mark Cuban the successful Entrepreneurs that they are today.

To take the validation of how successful salespersons make great entrepreneurs further, here are 7 points that shows how a sales background sets the path to becoming a buoyant Entrepreneur.

  • Sales = Customer Centric Attitude = Greater Customer Retention

Irrespective of what product or service an entrepreneur is offering, the way they serve their customers is what helps their business stand out from among the pool of competition.

This customer centric mindset comes easy for a person involved in a Sales role, as the job offers incredible learning experience that not just convert into a value offering for the customers but also becomes a way to retain them.

One thing that Sales teach to everyone who practices the domain is to be customer centric.

Once you settle into your Sales job you make a place for yourself in the life of your customers. To make better sales, you get into the habit of thinking like your clients - the problems that they face and what would solve them.

It helps you learn the mantra of building bonds and strong relationships with your clients, which again is extremely essential assets that an entrepreneur holds.

This habit of being customer centric when transfused into your Entrepreneurship role, helps you create a culture that revolves around your clients. A habit which doesn't come easy to the technical, non-sales background folks.

  • A Background in Sales = A Readymade Network

One of your KRAs as a salesperson is networking with C level executives for closing deals or simply to build relationship for long term benefit of the establishment.

Networking done as part of your Salesperson job description, when maintained right, returns the benefits when you are an Entrepreneur looking for establishing quality connections.

  • Sales Teaches You to be Self Motivated

If there is one thing that all the experienced and in-their-game salespersons will tell you in unison is that between the targets and the pressure to perform well - for not just incentives but for the many employees across team - they have perfected not just the skill of closing deals but also the skill of self motivation.

Between uncertain prospects and the constant rejection factor, salesperson over a period of time, have taught themselves things that help them when they move to an Entrepreneurial role -

  1. Not allowing setbacks to control them

  2. Not being intimidated

  3. Not Dwelling too much on Defeat

  4. Finding Motivational Resources

  • Sales Teaches You How to Close Business Deals and Handle Rejection

Although two opposite ends of the curve statements, Entrepreneurs who start from Sales have learned to perfect both the skills.

They not just know how to close deals but also how to handle rejections - the ones which they learn from to become a better salesperson. And, if there's one very visible link between sales and Entrepreneurship it is the rate of rejections that both the field come across on a frequent basis.

What I am trying to say here is that in many ways, a sales background keeps your entrepreneurial journey grounded, for you know how to enjoy the successes of a closed deal and the same time the efforts that has gone behind it plus the ratio of rejections that you faced before this one success, keeps you grounded.

  • Sales Teaches You the Importance of Team Spirit

If there's anything that your sales background would have taught you, it is that closing a deal successfully is not an individual's job. You will have to gain understanding of the market and the end user needs with the help of the market research team, the designing team would help you with the creation of the proposal or the client PPT and likewise a number of other teams would come into the picture for getting the client in-house.

Working with a team while a requisite across all teams is only fostered when the top management that is the Entrepreneurs that is you promote it in the organization. And since you come with a background of working with a team that relies heavily on teamwork, you will be able to instill the same in the organization.

  • Sales Teaches You How to Set Realistic Goals

Lastly, Sales teaches you how to set realistic goals. You know that unrealistic/uncalculated targets is inversely proportional to the results it would be able to generate. When the sales team knows that the targets are nearly impossible to achieve, they will divide their attention and efforts across different segments instead of focusing on activities that would get them maximum benefits.

With this understanding, you will set realistic goals for yourself and your team - something that would be achievable and would lead to best results and a healthy competition.

  • Sales Makes you More Than a Deals-Centric Expert. It Makes you a Cross-Functional Expert.

When you start with sales, you are given an in-depth introduction into the market which the business operates in along with the technical know how of how the product/service is developed or executed and delivered.

When you move into an entrepreneurial role with the strong knowledge base and in-depth understanding of how the market functions, what your clients expect etc. you are able to drive your organization with a process that is based on the detailed understanding.

Working in sales role offers end to end visibility of how a company is driven and operated, right from client acquisition, marketing, product knowledge, functional communication, and many other aspects which are also some of the most essential aspects for any entrepreneur running an organisation.

Prateek Saxena

Managing Director, Appinventiv

Prateek Saxena is the Co-founder of AppInventiv, one of the fastest-growing mobile application development companies, based in Noida, India. With an extensive experience in Sales, he has established himself as a highly-focused user experience expert and product strategist, and as one who is always ready to take the new challenge to drive value to the company.

He’s an energetic leader, effective communicator and a strong motivator, with a commitment to relentless improvement and innovation. He has, so far, mentored more than 100 startups and entrepreneurs worldwide, and is eager to help many others in planning their mobility roadmap.

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