Selling is probably the most important skill any budding entrepreneur must master if he is to succeed in the aggressive market jungle of Nigeria. Unfortunately, start-up entrepreneurs shy away from selling or are too afraid of the rejections common place in sales presentation. Understand that rejection is part of the sales process. If you are afraid of rejection, then you are not really ready to go into business.

You will raise the capital you seek for your business by being an effective sales person. You have to learn how to convince potential investors that their money would not go down the drain. Investors crave for information.

You will have to keep prospecting so as to get customers to keep patronizing you. Selling is very key in industry. So in growing your enterprise you must master sales techniques. You must study markets, trends and, most importantly, people

I believe that entrepreneurs who were first intrapreneurs make far better entrepreneurs. Who is an intrapreneur? Not a very common word, is it?

An intrapreneur is someone who is in business FOR himself but not BY himself. He is either a distributor of a parent company or works as distributor for a network marketing company. The Parent company provides the support system for the intrapreneur and offers him a compensation or commission for his effort. This is what it means to be in business FOR yourself(You receive a commission and not a salary so if you don’t put in the effort, you don’t get paid) but not BY yourself(The parent Company provides you with the necessary support, including the products, the catalogues, the education to succeed in the business, and on many occasion the strong brand support.)

I am aware that a lot of people are wary about network marketing. Yet people who really  engage in it turn out to become great entrepreneurs when they eventually start their businesses. Network marketing or what is also called Multilevel marketing gets people to overcome the fear of rejection, horn their selling skills, develop communication skills, grow a team and support their ‘downlines’. These skills are very important skills that entrepreneurs need to develop to grow their business.

You should master selling because at the end of the day selling is what determines the survival of any business. Effective selling is what brings in the money for your organization. No sale, no cash. If the life blood of any business is cash flow, then the heart where this life blood flows is an effective sales machinery and strategy.

Selling is the transfer of passion. It is exchanging your belief about a product or service, and the ability of your product to deliver, to a customer.

Selling is also the creative art of finding customers and keeping them. It is discovering EXACTLY who your customers are so that you can focus sales effort. It is  also discovering where they are densely concentrated and directing your strategy.

No matter how beautiful your product or service, a business person must learn to go out and meet people. Now even after you have done all your demographic studies, you will still face the challenge of selling to individual customers or investors. They may need you product but if you don’t know how to respond or react emotionally to them, if you don’t understand their buying strategy, you may not beable to successfully sell to them.

The following therefore are 6 kinds of customers a sales person or a budding entrepreneur will meet. I also suggest how you can get them to buy.

(1)RELATOR: These customers are soft spoken, people-oriented, easy going customers or investors. They are wary of fast-talking salesmen and entrepreneurs. They are usually interested in how their family will respond to their buying decision. Will his family like it? What will his colleagues or staffers think about his buying decision?  And you – should they buy from you so you can meet your target? Should they invest? The Relator is often concerned about opinions. His office will most likely have the frame picture of his family on his desk.

So how do you sell to this customer? You simply take notice. The tonality of a relator is obvious: he is soft spoken. His office is organized and simple. His atmosphere is calm. The ambience around him is easy. A sensitive entrepreneur or salesperson will notice this.

(2)ANALYSER: These customers are the critical ones. They are meticulous about details. They want to see facts, figures, the records, recommendations, registrations, catalogues, receipts and data. They study everything and ask a lot of questions. They are also wary of fast talkers. To sell to them, you will have to come prepared. You should preempt questions they could ask and have answers for them. If they are investors, for example, they would want to take time to study your proposal or business plan. They want to check its viability. You will meet them in your business life so be prepared.

It is good for entrepreneurs to know exactly what they want to do. Blind passion is not enough. Focus on details. Do feasibility studies so that you don’t scatter your energy.

I will continue next time.I hope that you now realize that selling is going to be a key factor in the success of your small business. Beyond that, knowing customers and investors you may deal with is also pertinent. See you next week.




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