My business coaching client John thought he had found the woman of his dreams. No, I don’t mean his true love. I mean his business savior.

“Craig,” he said, “I’ve met this marketing expert that says she’ll create a great sales presentation for me. She says this will make a lot more sales, and so now I can just go and spend my day thinking and coming up with big ideas.”

That’s the dream for many so-called entrepreneurs. Get someone else to do the ‘dirty work’ while you sit in your office generating fun new product ideas and daydreaming about getting rich.

But there’s a BIG problem with this idea.

That’s not how it works in real life.

I’ve wasted over $155,000 making this mistake, hiring consultants and gurus to come in and boost my business. But my experience has only shown me that you can’t rely on other slick sales folks to sell your products and services.

The old saying, “If it is to be, it’s up to me,” applies to the sales system in your business. You can’t rely on someone else to ride in and do this for you, at least not when you’re starting out in a small business and developing your sales system.

I warned John to be disappointed. First of all, no sales person cares as much about selling your product as you ever could. Second, the harsh reality is that after you pay this sales consultant their hefty fee, you’ll likely be no further ahead than where you are now.

Sure, they can create a razzle-dazzle Powerpoint presentation, or perhaps they can write a long sales letter, or maybe they’ll create a slick magazine or television ad for your business.

But the only sale they’ll make is the one on you. The marketing expert that promises to save your business is likely to only save her own. After all, she is a good sales person, but only when it comes to selling her wares… to you.

It’s human nature to believe that there is a “man or woman on a white horse” out there that can come into your life and do all of the hard work for you, such as selling and marketing, while you just do what you love.

… but that’s not going to happen.

Yes, there are some exceptions and cases where the expensive copywriter you hired actually churns out a hit sales letter… but they are few and far between and you can’t count on it happening.

Instead, you must take a stoic approach to your business…

Trust no one. Depend on no one. Take full personal responsibility for your success.

I know that’s not what you want to hear. However, it’s the harsh truth. Fortunately, there’s also some good news.

Chances are you’ve got a decent idea for a product or service that can add tremendous value to your community or the world.

If so, you have an obligation to sell your solution to the world. You must take action on your business idea.

But this doesn’t mean starting a Facebook page and checking it every 30 minutes. It doesn’t mean trying to learn computer code to build your own website. It doesn’t mean taking the next 12 months to create a product.

You need to act faster, stay focused, and concentrate on what counts.

You need to do the dirty work that matters.

You need to learn how to sell.

That is the only way that you can change someone’s life, solve their problems, grow your business, and live the life of your dreams.

It must be you that does this.

You can — and should — outsource and delegate website design, product creation, social media, and all the little administrative tasks that suck away your time.

But when you’re just getting started, you cannot outsource or delegate the sales component of your business.

Mind you, I use the phrase dirty work only as a figure of speech. There is nothing dishonorable about selling a valuable solution to the world. As I mentioned earlier, it’s your obligation to do so, if you want the world to be a better place.

To sell, you must study copywriting, selling from the stage, or how to close clients in a one-on-one setting. You must become a master persuader.

Mark Ford, ETR’s founder, says that the first priority of every business as it goes from zero to $1 million in sales is to find its Optimal Selling Solution.

“With a small business,” Mark said, “there are certain things the entrepreneur must do whether he likes to or not. Those things include acquiring specific knowledge of some parts of the business and developing the skill of marketing and selling the product. You must spend the overwhelming majority of your time on sales and marketing, and only limited time on everything else.”

As Mark says, your number one job as a small business owner is selling. It’s your job to figure out how to acquire new customers at a price you can afford. The next step is to sell those customers additional high-value follow-up (back-end) products. That’s where the profit is in your business. But there’s no profit without a constant flow of new customers.

“You have to study the products and the sales and marketing strategies,” Mark said, “And then you have to begin testing the market slowly and carefully. Figuring all this out — the right media, the right advertising platform, the right offers, and the right advertising copy — is your optimal selling strategy.”

“This takes time,” Mark warns, “You should expect to spend hundreds of hours of study and thousands of hours of work spread over the number of months you are willing to devote to getting the business going. Once you discover the optimal selling strategy, things will get much better. Cash flow will go positive for the first time. You will start to see revenues climb month after month, so long as your strategy works.”

Is there a way to speed up your progress on becoming a master sales person for your business?

Absolutely. It starts with investing in a mentor, someone that has ‘been there and done that’, that has blazed a path before you.

That’s why I’ve had Mark Ford as my mentor for over 15 years. That’s why I visit him in South Florida every year, and why I have an hour phone call with him each month. He’s accomplished all that I dream of — and more — and while I don’t expect him to be the man on the white horse riding in to save my business, I know that his wisdom points me in the right direction for success.

If you want to start an online business, here’s the fastest way to shortcut the long journey to becoming a master sales person.

When you sign-up for a 1-day Mastermind with Bedros and myself, you’ll get sent a series of bonus copywriting and selling videos. We’ll also show you how to create your product fast, and get free traffic to your website… but your priority is to go through the selling videos.

And then you’ll arrive at the 1-day Mastermind ready receive personalized advice that Bedros and I will deliver. But again, that requires understanding copywriting and selling. There is nothing more important for your online success than “getting” this.

If, for some extraordinary reason you can’t attend a 1-day Mastermind, then you should order The Ultimate Sales Letter from Dan Kennedy. Read it twice. And then hunt down another copywriting resource. The learning never stops. I still study copywriting everyday.

(The course I’m currently going through is Ray Edwards’ Copywriting Academy.)

So listen, I understand the desire to find someone to do all of this for you, but it’s not how success works. Selling is a skill you can’t ignore. It doesn’t matter if you dislike salesmen and think they are all greasy shysters. They aren’t. Salesmen (and saleswomen) got you into the clothes you are wearing, the house you live in, and the car you drive.

Salespeople add tremendous value to the world, and it’s time for you to join the club, not as a guest, but as a participating member.

Relying on the man or woman on the white horse to ride in and solve your problems will only lead to disappointment.

It was only when I became self-reliant and took personal responsibility for my success that I finally had my big business breakthroughs.

So my friend, you’ve come to the proverbial fork in the road. 

The road more traveled starts off smooth, but you’ll soon find it littered with the abandoned hopes and dreams of people unwilling to do the work. Eventually it leads right off the cliff of quitting and despair.

On the other hand, the road less traveled is full of obstacles, steep inclines, detours, and distractions. But it’s the only true path to success.

I encourage you to take the hard route, the one that is labeled Salesmanship Road. That’s what I did, and I found once you got past the initial inertia, it becomes paved with gold.

This is not what you – or John – wanted to hear, but I say this because it’s what I wished someone would have said to me when I was in your position.

Remember your two options…

… a 1-day Mastermind or Dan Kennedy’s book.

The book is the long, slow, beginner version, and the 1-day Mastermind is the fast, quick-start, advanced guide to success.

 

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6 Most Useful Skills Every Entrepreneur Needs

Starting a business – and being successful at it – requires the right amount of talent, knowledge and skills. You must have the knowledge about your industry, about general business principles, as well as about the laws and regulations that affect your operation.

Additionally, you must have nerves of steel and a heavy dose of patience to take chances and navigate the ups and downs that come with any new venture.

Although success often requires you to have ambition and clear goals, it also requires a certain set of personal skills. Here you will read about six useful skills that entrepreneurs need on their way to success.

1. Ability to listen

Great communicators make great businesspeople. In the business world, you must establish rapport with partners and suppliers. You also need to be there for your employees.

Of course, in order to succeed, you need to commit to customer service excellence, which involves hearing what your customers have to say. All these types of interaction involve one common skill – the ability to listen.

Without the capacity to interact with other people, you will have difficulty getting your new business off the ground. If you have little practice with interpersonal relationships, don’t lose hope.

By learning how to listen, you take one of the best shortcuts available on the path to becoming a great communicator.

When people have something to say, never interrupt them. People often have feelings, opinions, and interests that differ from yours, but if you learn to hear them out, you can quickly win people over.

As you listen attentively, notice the non-verbal cues that contribute to the conversation. When you intentionally communicate with customers and other people through listening, you gain their trust, loyalty, and admiration.

2. Assertiveness and confidence

Though listening skills are undeniably important, that doesn’t mean you have to keep quiet. Quite the contrary, being a good businessperson implies believing in yourself and being able to speak your mind with confidence. After all, communication goes two ways.

As an aspiring entrepreneur, you will often find yourself in situations that require assertiveness. Whether you are dealing with a pushy business partner or a demanding employee, you should never let others dictate your actions.

So, when you need to express your opinion – even if it includes disagreeing with the other party – try to do it assertively and confidently.

Take a deep breath, and articulate your thoughts. Sometimes it might seem overwhelming, as if you are on the verge of a conflict, but eventually you will learn to relax and project self-assurance. You will also gain the trust and respect of those around you.

3. Willingness to Learn

Being a businessperson requires an ongoing willingness to learn. Even after building a successful business, you have not finished your job. In fact, when it comes to learning and improving, you are never quite finished.

Continuous learning will help you evolve both personally and professionally. An insatiable appetite for learning through the Internet, books, documentaries, and seminars will deepen your knowledge and help you maintain your creative edge.

You should also remember to stay up-to-date with all the relevant development in your industry. Pay attention to trends and issues that affect your line of business and learn from the people who have already succeeded in businesses similar to yours.

Talk to industry leaders to get their advice, and apply their insight to your own business. Whatever you do, make learning an ongoing process both in your personal and professional life.

4. Creativity 

When it comes to keeping your business fresh and competitive, creativity is an essential skill. To innovate, you need to be creative. Being creative means doing things differently and thinking not only outside the box but also without that box!

This goes for both your personal life and business. In fact, those two are interconnected – when you spark creativity in your personal life, it will inevitably reflect on your business. So, what can you do?

What you can do is shake up your routine by trying new ways of doing things. Even small changes such as rearranging your office, driving home via a new route, ordering an unusual meal and talking to strangers can help you develop habits that can lead to innovation.

You should also attempt to think about things from new perspectives and apply new ways of solving problems. A little bit of creativity can go a long way in terms of your business growth, so do everything you can not to stifle it with convention and routine.

5. Courage and risk taking 

Entrepreneurs take risks, and you will surely find yourself in situations that require quick and risky decision making. You should never act recklessly, but you should always have the courage to try new ideas and to take little risks. If you don’t try, you will not succeed – it is that simple.

People are often held back by the fear of failure. Rather than fearing failure, embrace it. Sometimes the best experiences in business come from ideas that didn’t work.

Follow your creativity by implementing new ideas and making bold decisions even when you lack clear direction. As an entrepreneur, you should have the guts to take chances and have faith. As John Burroughs once said, “Leap, and the net will appear.”

6. Perseverance 

Last but not least, entrepreneurs must never give up. Remember this – never give up! There will be numerous obstacles and challenges along your way, but if you persevere in spite of them, you will reap success.

Sometimes this means having to accept failure. Even when your failures are expensive and embarrassing, they can still lead to success. Forgive yourself when you make mistakes and look for lessons you can learn from every seemingly negative experience.

As a business owner, you must also develop patience. Success usually does not come overnight, and setbacks do not magically resolve themselves. In the face of adversity, maintain optimism. When you believe in yourself and persevere, you become a prime candidate for success.

Difficulties along the road to entrepreneurial success can seem discouraging. However, if you regard every situation as a learning experience, you can develop the much needed personal skills that will help you build a successful business when you combine them with your expert knowledge.

Begin with the six useful skills listed here, and look for other tips for personal and professional growth along your pathway to success. Most importantly, remember to always improve and challenge yourself – there is no success for those who stand still.

Author bio: Natalie Smith, a freelance writer from Seattle, follows topics related to entrepreneurship, leadership, marketing, social media, and business in general. You can reach her @Natalie Smith

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