The focus of #Smallbizchat is to end small business failure by helping participants succeed as your own boss.
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SmallBizLady: A lot of people who start businesses have not been in sales. Do you think it’s essential that the business’s founder learn to sell?
Catherine Brown: It’s critical for founders to become more comfortable with sales before they hire anyone to do the work for them. Founders who sell develop a better knowledge of their ideal customer and how their product or service is meeting real needs. If they don’t learn, they’re likely to hire someone to sell for them, which is a big expense in the early days of a company and they risk not understanding their clients, which ultimately hurts revenue. Additionally, the founder will struggle to know if a salesperson is a high performer or low performer since they (the founder) haven’t also done the work.
SmallBizLady: What are the most important things to keep in mind when you are first learning to sell?
Catherine Brown: If sales is like a house, the strong foundation is what we believe about ourselves, as well as our beliefs about sales work itself (i.e. Is it noble? Is it manipulative?) Negative beliefs about selling result in lack-luster sales, which ultimately leads to business failure. Repair a foundation made of negative beliefs with positive ones that focus on the value you provide and the gift that good sales can be for clients.
SmallBizLady: What is a big lesson you’ve learned recently that you wish you had realized earlier in your career?
Catherine Brown: Because I’ve been in sales a long time and have learned so much through trial and error, I’d say that a lot of early-career missteps could have been avoided had I understood the power of my thoughts. I’ve learned that people are meaning-makers. We take information and assign meaning that may or may not be accurate or truthful. For example, if someone doesn’t answer the phone, we may think: “This is the second time I’m trying them. They aren’t answering because I’m being a pest.” The reality is that we don’t know why someone isn’t answering; however, the meaning we’ve assigned leads us to hesitate to reach out a 3rd time (and perhaps even the first time!) because my thoughts have told me that what I am doing is pestering. Instead, I positively reframe the meaning I give to what is happening. Now when someone doesn’t answer me, I have coached my inner voice to tell me, “I’m going to keep trying to reach this person. I know my offer is valuable for this prospect. Like me, they’re busy and probably appreciate the reminder.”
How to Create a Launch Online
SmallBizLady: Can you share 3 pieces of super quick advice that coaches/speakers can use right now?
Dawnna St. Louis: If you want more commas in your bank account, then take them out of your expertise. Treat your business like a private club, not like a public park. Stop grabbing clients from BBF U.
SmallBizLady: What is the biggest challenge that new coaches face vs. experienced coaches?
Dawnna St. Louis: New coaches struggle to find the courage to niche; understand what a niche really is; and pick clients from BBF U based on demographics rather than sociographic data. Experienced coaches struggle with the inability to scale their business due to the lack of a methodology and being the bottleneck, and the arrogance to believe they don’t need a coach.
SmallBizLady: Why are your insights about coaching a business so different from everything we hear in the market?
Dawnna St. Louis: Because the 99%ers are sooooo loud. When everyone is telling you the same thing and showing up in front of their rented Bentley’s, it is difficult to hear the one person saying something absolutely different who is showing up debt free, investing in art and stocks rather than depreciating assets, and not leveraging fake bling to get your attention. Fool’s gold is shinier than the real thing.
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