Ask an entrepreneur what they worry about the most and they’ll likely answer sales.
The fear of running of our cash always looms large. We need cash to pay our team, keep the lights on, buy supplies and feed our families. Without the cash that sales generate, we’re out of business and out of the game. The dream dies. The very thought of being unable to do what we love to do is terrifying.
And so we go out to sell. Every day. And it’s exhausting.
The long hours associated with running a small business are one thing (Canadian entrepreneurs work an average of 60 hours a week), but it’s the after-hours thinking we do that’s so exhausting. It’s hard to turn off a mind.
We think about a quote sent a recent customer. Why haven’t they responded? Was the price too high? Did a competitor scoop the deal?
We think about keeping current customers. Will they renew? Is it just me, or did I sense a chill in the room during our last meeting? What happens if we don’t keep their business – will we survive?
Thinking about the business all the time wears us out, and can potentially ruin our chance of a personal life because we are constantly preoccupied by most things concerning money.
Stress can manifest itself in some ugly ways.
Doing whatever it takes to manage the demands of a busy small business, it’s not uncommon for entrepreneurs to develop stomach ulcers, back pain, headaches, muscle fatigue and even heart conditions – to name a few problems. We often eat on the run, making poor food choices along the way. And exercise suffers because we’re out of time (and energy).
They say a positive attitude is the key to success, and entrepreneurs try to live by that mantra.
B2B selling is often a numbers game and it may take 10 quotes to land one deal (that’s an optimistic ratio). So that means a lot of pitching and proposing and selling – and the rejection and scrutiny and doubt that returns when prospects say ‘no.’
There’s an emotional impact to that rejection. Business owners are very passionate about what they do, so it hurts when someone turns us down.
Yet we get up and do it all over again every day: contact a prospect, contact them again, try to get a meeting, manoeuvre a proposal, revise the proposal, answer questions, and follow up and follow up and follow up. And pray.
Is there a way to feel better about selling? Sure.
You can try to choose your best-bet prospects to increase your likelihood of closing a deal. You can raise your prices to help reduce the number of customers required to reach revenue targets. You can hire some sales help to relieve the pain and routine of day-to-day selling. And, you can schedule healthy breaks from your sales activities by taking a few hours off every so often – and maybe even a vacation now and then.
Selling is exhaustive and will take everything you’ve got if you let it – so don’t. Figure out a personal system that lets you enjoy the sales success you deserve, but on your terms.
(Image courtesy of Flickr)