This is part one of two parts. Today I am going to talk about salespeople and their journey in becoming more entrepreneurial and I will talk about the same thing for sales organizations tomorrow. I have heard sales leaders in the past tell their salespeople to structure their day, time, and priorities like they are running their own business. However, I have not seen many salespeople succeed at this tactic. It partly has to do with many sales organizations still wanting or needing to enforce fairly standard operating procedures, but I will talk more about that tomorrow.
Regardless of their organizational flexibility, I believe that most people have a great deal more entrepreneurship buried inside of them that hasn’t come out yet. Entrepreneurship is defined as “the activity of setting up a business or businesses, taking on financial risks in the hope of profit.” Most people get stuck on the first half of the definition. You as an individual can decide to take varying degrees of risks inside or outside of any business you are working for, whether it is yours or not.
I am not suggesting that anyone take risks that would put someone else’s business in harm’s way. I am saying though that salespeople need to embrace intelligent risk taking in order to build their own success. Intelligent risk taking involves learning about yourself and your environment in order to use and take advantage of your own strengths and skills and take advantage of the opportunities around you.
The best opportunities are not always easy and may involve some degree of personal risk. You can balance that risk by understanding the people around you and utilizing their strengths as well. Entrepreneurs know their own strengths and weaknesses and build a team around them with different skill sets to balance out those weaknesses.

Depending on the type of organization you are in, you probably have varying degrees of freedom to plot your own course. If you are a financial advisor or sell insurance, then you likely already have a taste of building your own business. You likely have less flexibility if you are selling software or machine parts in an office (or at least you used to be in an office most of the time until the pandemic).

Much of sales is still a grind and you have to put the time in, but you can make sure that you are getting the most out of that time. Maybe your strength is in writing catchy email subjects so it makes sense for you to send out 100 in a day. But maybe your strength is in relationship building and it makes more sense for you to research personal details and reach out to only 10 people a day. Both may take the same amount of time and produce different results for different salespeople and in different industries.

The point is to experiment and make the process your own. Take some risks and become more entrepreneurial. Find a way to reach customers that is uniquely you instead of only following a proscribed process. Enlist help from those around you in a way that benefits you both. You can provide each other different kinds of help that play to each of your strengths.
An entrepreneur builds value by taking a slightly different path. Every salesperson can embrace a little of that mentality to find success.

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