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Small business owners often like to think of themselves as being versatile, multi-tasking business leaders – as the business owner, you often have to wear many hats and serve many roles, everything from CEO to Customer Service Rep to Janitor. However, your most important job as the owner of your company is one that is often overlooked – and that is the role of Sales Person. More business owners need to think like a sales person to make sure your business keeps thriving and succeeding.

Here are a few reasons why:

Sales People are on the Front Line With Customers

If your business is having a problem, if something is going wrong with your product or solution, or if a competitor is starting to gain ground in your market at your company’s expense, chances are good that the first person to hear about it is going to be on your sales team. Sales people are natural listeners and they’re good at gathering crucial business intelligence – ranging from simple things like “which aspects of your product are generating the most frequent, intense customer complaints” to “which of your competitors are ascending or descending in prestige and influence with your customers.” Every business owner should spend time every day talking with customers and paying attention to the latest scuttlebutt in your industry – don’t get distracted by gossip, but don’t miss out on critical information that your customers need you to know.

Sales People are Pragmatic

One of the dangers of being a small business owner is that when business is good, it’s easy to get comfortable, complacent, and get too preoccupied with your own image as a “CEO.” Successful business owners run the risk of getting driven by ego and hubris, and they start believing their own hype – and pride goeth before the fall!

Sales people – the best ones – have a humble attitude; they take pride in their work and they have confidence in themselves, but they know that business can be good or bad for reasons beyond their control, and they try to roll with the punches and go in every day and work through the sales process in good and bad times. Business owners can learn from this modest, workmanlike attitude – sometimes your business will be struggling, and sometimes you’ll be the toast of the town, but it’s best to not get too caught up in the highs and lows. Just go in every day and do your job, serve your customers, try to make a difference. Don’t lose touch with what made you want to start this business in the first place; chances are, it wasn’t the “glory.”

Sales People are Results-Oriented

There’s no job like being a sales person because it’s all about RESULTS. You either make your sales goals, or you run the risk of getting fired. The best sales people embrace the risks because they believe in their ability to get results and reap the rewards and move the company forward. In the same way, business owners need to operate as if they too are working on commission. If your company doesn’t boost your sales results, the whole business will suffer – so that drive for results has to come from you, at the top of the organization on down.

Don’t let your company get bogged down with meaningless fat and fluff and too much process-oriented bureaucracy. By all means, do things the right way and don’t cut corners – but make sure your organization strives for results first, above all else.

Sales People are Innovative

Some of the most creative people in the world are sales people. Especially if you are working in complex B2B sales, your company needs to be adept at solving problems and anticipating issues before they arise. It’s true that sales has a set process to work customers through the stages of the buyer’s journey, but there’s an element of “art” to sales as well – you need to be creative in building relationships and proactively delivering the information that customers need to feel good about doing a deal with you. Every customer is different and there is always something new to learn; even after many years in the business, veteran sales people will tell you that customers can still surprise them – in both good and bad ways!

The point is: don’t treat your sales process like an assembly line. People are not machines; they are more complex and (sometimes) frustrating or inspiring than that. As the business owner, you need to be adaptable, agile, flexible and creative to pursue opportunities, improvise, and respond to challenges with an innovative spirit like the very best sales people.

Sales People are Hungry for Growth

Great sales people are motivated more by growth potential than by a promise of stability – the best sales people often want to work on 100% commission, because they’d rather capture a bigger share of the value they create for your company than have an arbitrary ceiling put on their income. Great sales people are often self-taught lifelong learners – they’re curious, they’re hungry for knowledge, they’re passionate about getting better at their work, they often have high-intensity hobbies, fitness routines, or areas of interest outside of work – they tend to push themselves hard to the fullest in all facets of work and life.

As a business owner, you can learn from and exemplify these same values of growth and excellence. Being a business owner is the best job in the world, because every day we can go to work and reinvent ourselves and reimagine what we want our company to be about. Just like sales people are constantly pushing the envelope and trying to achieve bigger things for their companies and for themselves, business owners need to hold on to that entrepreneurial passion and keep that fire of curiosity and hunger for success alive.

Even if your job title is “CEO” of your company, you still can learn from the best practices and attitudes of sales people. Keep talking and listening to customers. Stay humble and results-oriented. Be agile and adaptable in solving problems for your customers. And most of all, stay hungry for growth. Ultimately, every small business owner is in the “sales” business – and that’s a good thing! If you stay in touch with the key fundamentals of sales success, your business will be more likely to thrive and prosper for many years to come.