Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey – Workplace Culture Experts & Barefoot Wine Founders

By Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey – Workplace Culture Experts & Barefoot Wine Founders

To Find Success, An Entrepreneur Must Constantly Sell to Business Relationships

To Find Success, An Entrepreneur Must Constantly Sell to Business Relationships 150 150 MIchael and Bonnie Harvey

Many would agree that selling services and products are at the foundation of any successful business. If there aren’t any sales, there’s no money to keep up with bills and the business collapses. But there are so many less obvious “sales” that are just as crucial to your success. Without making these sales, and consistently, your costs will skyrocket. You must make these sales with your support team, not with your prospects.

Your support team is comprised of your suppliers, employees, and outsourced services. You’ll have to use a unique approach for each of these “sales,” so that they will be motivated to provide quality service, take on additional duties, and extend your credit and terms. But your suppliers, employees, and outsourced services all have one thing in common—they need to believe that you have their best interests are at heart before they will give their effort, time, products, and loyalty to you. When they do, though, they can significantly cut your costs, turnover rates, and your need for cash. This significantly boosts your chances for success!

Suppliers. Show that you appreciate the risks suppliers take with your new or growing company. Share your challenges, aspirations, and new opportunities regularly. This will relieve some of their fears once they take a chance by extending your credit and terms—therefore enabling you to grow. Your suppliers worry that you will pay bills late or be a “beg pay.” Create a long-term plan so they know you won’t ditch them for someone else. They have to be assured that they can grow along with you. It takes a lot of time and strategy to prove that you really do have their best interests at heart.

Employees. Your people are the key to your success, but only if they understand that you’re giving them security, a career opportunity, a chance to contribute, guidance, respect, and time off. They need to know exactly how their job affects sales (however removed it may be), why their work is important, and how it shapes their career. Prove that you have their best interests at heart so they will appreciate performance-based pay, bonus structures, and more decision-making influence.

Outsourced Services. Show that you appreciate your outsourced services by communicating your expectations. Make sure you have policies in place that are clear on deadlines and requirements, that constantly improve communication, and that explain the reasons behind your requirements. Make it obvious that you’re easy to work with—make sure your criticism is constructive, and that you give more praise than criticism. Try asking, “What can we do on our end to help you be more efficient?” That can be an effective “sales pitch” for these people.

Plain and simple: Negotiating your business relationships is a sale in itself. They need to know that they can trust you, and that you fit into their growth and development. Understand what their fears are, and work to relieve them. You can do this by demonstrating that you are a true partner and ally, and you will live up to their expectations. You want to help them reach their goals—not just your own.

The only alternative to making these “sales” is to waste money on turnover, high interest, higher supply costs, short payment terms, and lost corporate knowledge. Startups cannot afford to lose this money—it’s better spent growing your business.

This concept is not usually taught in school or covered by the entrepreneurial media. But once you prove you really do have your team’s best interests at heart, you will spend less and generate more!

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