Everything is dependent on sales. There is no better justification for salaries, offices, production facilities, or even products. With enough investment capital you can have all those things, but they are unsustainable without sales. Our modern business culture has gotten so carried away with funding as the source of all cash that we have forgotten that sales ultimately makes the wheels go ‘round. When businesses use up their investment dollars in research, administration and facilities, they have to go back for more – or close the door.
That’s why we put such emphasis on sales. In 2015 there are still very few secondary schools of entrepreneurship that actually teach sales. They teach sales management, how to add up the numbers and write reports, but not nitty-gritty sales. They teach the “sales funnel” and the elevator pitch, but not sales as we know it. For us, sales is the ability to get a prospect to buy your goods and services time and again, and remain loyal.
Entrepreneurial success is not about getting funded. You can easily burn through those funds without sales. It’s not about launching your business either. Every ship that sinks was first launched. It is not about offices, production, or even a disruptive world-changing idea. For us, true entrepreneurial success is still being in business three years later. And even better, having sold your enterprise at a huge profit. You can only get there through sales. So let’s focus on sales first.
We are frequently asked, “What is the world’s greatest sales pitch?” We think it’s, “I can help you sell your product!” Why? Because it compels the prospect to answer, “How?” This is a buying signal. He has given you the floor. You have said something he wants to hear. So now you have to answer the question. How can you help him sell his product?
Well, first of all, you had better know what his product is. This mean you have done a lot of research, questioning, listening and observing. It also means that you know to whom you are selling and what is important to them. Each person who touches your product must be sold, and what each of them wants is not the same as what your eventual downstream consuming customer wants. Not by a long shot!
If you are selling to your wholesale distributors, jobbers, or middlemen, their product is strategic importance to retailers or other distributors. Perhaps you presold a big retailer they supply and your product strengthens their strategic importance. Perhaps your product rounds out or distinguishes their portfolio.
If you are trying to sell your retailers, their product is retail goods on precious shelf space that must turn quickly. Perhaps your product has a reputation for fast turn and profitability. Your sales pitch might be that your marketing materials help them decorate their retail business to celebrate seasonal events to attract more shoppers.
We are also often asked, “Who is the world’s best sales person?” We always answer, “The assistant buyer.” Why? Because when your prospect sees you as having their best interests at heart, they will trust you and hand you the keys to their warehouse. They are relieved that they don’t have to worry about being out of product any more. They don’t have to worry about your motives any more. Now they rely on you and will ask you what they should buy.
We have seen many successful entrepreneurs over the years. What they all had in common was their ability to help sell their customers’ products and be their “assistant buyer.”
Who We Are
Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey co-authored the New York Times bestselling business book, The Barefoot Spirit: How Hardship, Hustle, and Heart Built America’s #1 Wine Brand. The book has been selected as recommended reading in the CEO Library for CEO Forum, the C-Suite Book Club, and numerous university classes on business and entrepreneurship. It chronicles their humble beginnings from the laundry room of a rented Sonoma County farmhouse to the board room of E&J Gallo, who ultimately acquired their brand and engaged them as brand consultants. Barefoot is now the world’s largest wine brand.
Beginning with virtually no money and no wine industry experience, they employed innovative ideas to overcome obstacles, create new markets and forge strategic alliances. They pioneered Worthy Cause Marketing and performance-based compensation. They built an internationally bestselling brand and received their industry’s “Hot Brand” award for several consecutive years.
They offer their Guiding Principles for Success (GPS) to help entrepreneurs become successful. Their book, The Entrepreneurial Culture: 23 Ways To Engage and Empower Your People, helps corporations maximize the value of their human resources.
Currently they travel the world leading workshops, trainings, & keynoting at business schools, corporations, conferences. They are regular media guests and contributors to international publications and professional journals. They are C-Suite Network Advisors & Contributing Editors. Visit their popular brand building site at www.consumerbrandbuilders.com.
To make inquiries for keynote speaking, trainings or consulting, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.