It’s likely that as the founder of your new business, you will be responsible for most of the sales to start with. When you grown enough to be able to hire salespeople, try and be honest with yourself and your sales performance. What traits have helped you to sell? What have been the difficulties?
Being a good entrepreneur and a good salesperson are extremely different things. Entrepreneurs are very good at getting excited about their own products and ideas, and have bags of passion, energy and charm, but they can be less good at listening. Salespeople will need that passion, but they will have to be extremely good at listening in order to know what the customer wants and sell effectively. They also need to be focused and disciplined to be able to plan and focus on their leads, and they’ll also need a thick skin.
Salespeople often need a lot of empathy, and will have to really take the time to develop relationships and see things through to the very end. Conversely, entrepreneurs are ‘here and now’ kind of people, who want to see results fast and who may be likely to try and rush a sale. This can be brilliant in many aspects of business, but patience is vital to sell.
You’re not looking for hugely aggressive employees, but those who are great with people, likeable, confident, with tons of initiative. They will be affable and have the ability to cut to the chase. Don’t be tempted to hire in your own image if you can spot the traits which make you an entrepreneur rather than a salesperson!