There is a common “truism” that owners make the best salespeople for their company.
I have been around the world consulting (US, Canada, UK, etc.), and I hear this myth repeated as if it were one of the 10 commandments: All Owners Shall Sell.
The myth of the Owner-Salesperson goes like this;
- No one cares as much as the owner.
- No one knows the inner workings of a company’s product better than the owner.
- No one else will impress a client as much as an owner.
The problem with these beliefs is that they do not represent the characteristics of a great salesperson (more on that later).
First, let’s explore what makes owners poor salespeople. They…
- Multi-task, and are not able to focus because they also have to run the business.
- Cherry-pick, taking the best leads away from the other salespeople.
- Suffer from an out-of-balance home life.
And perhaps the most insidious reason is that they play favoritism.
Here is what I mean:
Andy Tumelo, Owner of Maple Leaf Associates, NY, said it best to me recently on a coaching call.
“When I am talking to a long time client, I start thinking to myself that they will get upset if I give them my standard (correct) full-price for a job. So in my head, I start to negotiate against myself and then offer them a better deal upfront.
However, my newest project manager and even my oldest salesperson will quote the proper hours and mark-ups and add more margin because they understand supply and demand.
They don’t play favorites and are much better salespeople than I am.”
Two Kinds Of Owner-Salespeople
I told Andy that there are two types of Owner-Salespeople
- Those who can out-price everyone else, because they are super competitive and have the most conviction.
- Those who do worse than others, because they sell based on fear, favoritism or extreme concern for keeping work flowing.
Which are you?
I have worked with hundreds of companies to hire and onboard A+ salespeople, even in this job market. It’s very doable.
Here Are Some Traits Of Great Salespeople:
- Have ambition to win at the sales game but are still company people.
- Bring confidence and smarts to your clients.
- Have grit and emotional balance to handle rejection and persevere.
- Are exceptional listeners and solution providers.
- Display integrity and trustworthiness above all else!!
Your Challenge: Get Out Of Your Own Way
All owners can hand off their personal client relationships, when they hire the right salesperson.
Stop kidding yourself, you are not irreplaceable, and there are more important activities for you to do as the owner.
However, if you want to keep a finger in sales you can still do big-picture business development, or occasionally answer the phone and handle some of the lead calls.
And there is always a need for a Sales Manager until you grow to the point of filling that position as well.