We were at a party that many entrepreneurs happened to attend as well. I found it interesting that the Architect, Commercial Insurance agent, Commercial Mechanical contractor, Building Materials Coatings provider, Estate Planner, and Financial Planner that I spoke with all brought up their businesses at some point during our conversations. Some talked about their businesses more than others but the one thing that they all had in common was a love - a passion - for their business, for finding new customers and clients, taking care of their customers and clients, and they all breath it 24/7.
During the recruiting process, many of our clients say that they want salespeople with entrepreneurial spirit. Fine. But what is it that they are really looking for? Do they really want someone who is entrepreneurial - someone who will leave to start their own business? Or do they want someone who lives and breaths their business 24/7 and brings it up whenever they have an opportunity to do so? Is it reasonable to expect your salespeople to live and breath your business? To bring it up wherever they go? With whomever they meet? Should it be part of the job description? Would it be authentic? Would it help?
You can demand that your salespeople behave in this manner but you won't get the same results that these entrepreneurs get. You can't fake passion. You can't fake love. You can't fake wanting to talk about what you do. And not all of your salespeople love what they do. Does that mean that you have the wrong salespeople?
There are some things you can expect your salespeople to bring to the table, like good sales DNA, selling skills and sales competencies. There are some things you can teach - like skills, your product, your business and your market. But there are some things that are intangibles - you can't teach them or replicate them and sometimes you can't even identify them. Entrepreneurial Passion is one of them.
There is a trade off. While most salespeople don't have Entrepreneurial Passion, most Entrepreneurs aren't very good salespeople. They lack the DNA, skills and competencies necessary to consistently outsell their competitors, but they (sometimes) compensate for it with their 24/7 passion. Can you have both? Yes - entrepreneurs can be trained to sell effectively! And there are some salespeople who actually have this love of what they are selling. The key is to be able to successfully attract, identify, on board and retain those rare salespeople.