A young sales woman was in her first week working in a clothing boutique when a well-dressed customer walked in.
SME’s Chat with Phillip Chichoni
The customer had seen a beautiful outfit displayed in the window and she asked how much it cost. When she was told the price, she took out her wallet. Before she paid she asked for a matching hat. As the sales woman charged the sale on the till, her boss asked her to come into her office for a moment.
“Madam,” she whispered as she stepped into the manager’s office, “we have just sold that expensive new outfit that you said no one could afford. And she even added a hat on top.”
“No.” The manager replied. “You haven’t sold anything. Let me show you how to sell.”
They both returned to the customer and the boss asked: “Have you seen our latest winter boots?”
The client bought the boots; and two handbags. Then a silk scarf. Finally when she was shown the latest leather jacket, she said no.
After the customer had gone, the manager asked the sales woman, “Now you see what selling is? You haven’t sold yet until the customer says ‘no’. Otherwise, she was merely buying what she already wanted.”
Entrepreneurship is not for the faint hearted. However, with knowledge you can prepare yourself for survival, so as not to give up unnecessarily.
Here are some things you need to know in order to prime yourself for victory in the battle of business:
Business needs patience Things will rarely work out as planned. Sales will take longer than expected. Expenses will be higher and revenues lower than planned for some time. Instead of an upward slopping profit curve, expect a flat one for at least the first year. Without lots of patience you will give up before the business starts getting momentum.
Do your homework
A young man asked me why established entrepreneurs do not want to support new ones. He explained that he had sent proposals for partnerships to five owners of established businesses. I asked him what these people had said about his proposals.
He said none of them had replied him. Well, that is not surprising. Business owners are busy like crazy. Drop a proposal on their desks and chances are they don’t even get a chance to open the envelope. When they see an email that does not look important to “them”, they automatically hit the delete button.
When you try and call them they will be in an important meeting. If you want to talk to an important person, do your homework and find out the best way of contacting them; it could be at a networking meeting, a business seminar, a sports event or wherever they go when they are not busy working. Until they actually say no to your proposal, they haven’t turned you down.
Show your value proposition
Whether you are selling a product or requesting a business partnership, the other person will only be convinced to work with you if there is value in it for them. Clearly show the value to the other person and they will be eager to work with you. Everyone is self-interested, to some extent.
Be friendly and persistent
After connecting with a potential customer or business partner, say at a networking event, you send them an email and they don’t respond. What do you do? Don’t give up. Like I said above, they probably didn’t read it.
Send another email, this time a friendly one giving them something that might interest them; you should have an idea of their interests after doing your homework.
Sometimes you feel like you are bothering someone when you send them an email or voice mail reminder. As long as you do it in a friendly way, you are not bothering them. Be persistent but friendly, until they say no.
These four areas are where true entrepreneurs differ from ordinary people. Learn more about the traits of entrepreneurs by downloading the eBook The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Starting a Business in Zimbabwe from my website shown below.
Don’t miss the BusinessLink networking breakfast meeting with Philip Chiyangwa on Wednesday June 26.
Phillip Chichoni is a business development consultant who works with SMEs and entrepreneurs. You may contact him by email, firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also visit http://smebusinesslink.com