Sales people and the entrepreneurial spirit

Entrepreneurial sales reps

When  asked the key to being successful as a technology entrepreneur, Mark Cuban, the cofounder of Broadcast.com replied, “… willingness to outwork and outlearn everyone when it comes to your business. And if it fails, you learn from what happened and do a better job next time.”

This sentiment is also true for sales people. When we ask top sales people to what they attribute their success, invariably, they don’t highlight the reasons most of us expect –like product knowledge or understanding the competition. When pressed, we’re usually told those skills are just the ticket to the dance.

What they attribute their success to is their work ethic – working hard to understand their customers and then going the extra mile.  They do what needs to be done and learn how to do it better the next time.

Yet, it’s not simply adding hours to the workday. The key characteristic of successful sales reps is they work “smarter.”  And, if they don’t quite get it right the first time; they will the next time.

They know in major accounts you have to think and act strategically.  So, they create a strategy for navigating the account. They make sure they understand the decision process and the players who are going to make and influence the decision. They surface the decision criteria and make sure their solution is positioned accordingly.

People like Mark Cuban are iconic figures who know the power of the entrepreneurial spirit.  In Mark’s case that translated into $5.9B in Yahoo stock when he sold Broadcast.com.  While it’s rare to have a payday like that, for your sales team it can be the difference between surviving and prospering.

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©2012 Sales Horizons, LLC

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About Janet Spirer

For more than 30 years Dr. Richard Ruff and Dr. Janet Spirer - the founders of Sales Horizons - have worked with the Fortune 1000 - such as UPS, Canon USA, Smith & Nephew, Boston Scientific, Owens & Minor, Textron - to design and develop sales training programs. Janet has followed two different, yet complimentary paths. First, as a B-School Professor she taught marketing, sales, and business strategy courses. She also managed a consulting practice focusing on sales productivity and marketing – working with a variety of clients ranging from Xerox to IBM. She translated those experiences into a book – “Parlez-Vous Business” – that helps sales people develop the business savvy to sell successfully. Since co-founding Sales Momentum® in 2000 with Richard Dr. Spirer received her Ph.D. from The Ohio State University, an M.P.A. from The University of Texas at Austin, and a B.A. in Economics from Brooklyn College. She holds the appointment of Professor Emeritus at Marymount University.
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