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When in doubt

Whether you live by the Glengarry Glen Ross ABC philosophy (“Always be closing”) or you prefer to get down to the Mark Cuban nitty-gritty (“Sales cures all.”), one thing comes close to a universal business truth: if you’re not selling, you’re not thriving.

Whether you’re a planner – business plan, marketing plan, strategic plan – or you like to jump right in to the entrepreneurial deep end, you can’t escape from selling if you want to run a successful business. This is a cruel reality for a lot of people who have a great idea that may never see the light of day because too often they say, “I don’t like the selling part.”

If you like the idea of “entrepreneur” being attached to your name, make it happen. There are a lot of things I don’t like to do. I didn’t just wake up one day and say to myself, “I’m going to hit it hard every day from here on out.” It took some time, it took some mistakes, it took some plain old practice before I was 150% mentally and physically committed. But once I was committed, these are truths I discovered:

You business is selling all the time
You are your brand. Your product or service is your brand. You/your product or service/your brand are selling all the time. So you better put effort into the whole package – product design, customer experience, logo, website, social media and whatever else is on your big list that makes up the story of your business. Your brand can’t sleep because it’s always selling so make sure you’ve done your part to make your brand a selling machine.

Everybody sells
It’s not just your sales staff’s shoulders that carry the privilege (never call it a burden) of selling. It’s your technicians, your delivery drivers, your competition and even current customers. Make sure everyone who’s part of your customer’s experience knows what they’re talking about, knows what your brand is. Disney is one of the best (that is, sells well) at making sure everybody sells. “But I’m not Disney,” you say. When it comes to selling, size doesn’t matter. Outdoor clothing company Patagonia, a much smaller fish in the revenue pond, is just as good as Disney at selling.

Sales is the life force of your business
Even if you planned on operating at a loss your first year, sales are what will keep your team motivated and attract more of what you need – more sales, more superstar employees, more buzz. Every furnace needs stoked and sales is the fuel you’re looking for. Think about your first job. What fed good days? Probably good moods and why was everybody in a good mood? “A super manager,” “an excellent benefits package,” “higher than minimum wage pay.” Wrong. If those things were in place it was probably because of strong sales. The minute sales slip, so do good moods, good benefits and good pay.

When in doubt… go sell. Simple as that. It will unfreeze whatever was halting progress. It will make you fall in love with your brand/product/service all over again. It will make things happen. And that’s why you started down this road, ri