The One Skill You Need To Master If You Want A Thriving Service Business

by Corey Philip
February 13, 2018

My education is in accounting.  I spent 4 years and thousands of dollars to get a degree in it.   I’ve always been a numbers guys. I live by sound budgeting  and I do find the principals behind sound cash management important to succeeding in the business world.

When I started my home service company, I realized that all the cash flow and finance skills were useless unless we actually had cash flow.  We needed to sell.  Fortunately I’ve always been quick to adapt, and learn new skills as I need them.  I’m not a ‘naturally born sales person’… Reflected by that accounting degree.  I wasn’t blessed with an ‘outgoing personality’ you often here about among top sellers.  But out of necessity I’ve learn to sell, and I’m glad I have.

This is what Mark Cuban had to say when ask what we would do first if he lost everything:

“I would get a job as a bartender at night and a sales job during the day, and I would start working. Could I become a multimillionaire again? I have no doubt.”

Most will think of sales skills as lying, manipulating, pressuring, and stereotyping. But its not.  Ethically I couldn’t subscribe to that.  While those once were applicable sales skills, present day selling (thankfully) requires much more mindful communication.

Sales skills are vital to any business owner that sells something that can’t be purchased with a single click, or that wants a large business with many employees.  The semi exception would be those that just want to sell items on a website and have no employees, the ecom-preneurs.  Sales skill is still beneficial to them, but not so vital.  Anyhow this blog is for home service business owners and contractors.

Sales skills, at the core, are communication skills.  You need to be able to explain the features and benefits, understand the consumers need, and build a connection beyond signing on the dotted line.  The best thing you can do is dive head first into sales.

Once you learn to sell, you won’t have to worry much at all about whether you’ll be able to stay in the black next month.  You’ll have work lined up.  In the process you’ll learn a little bit more:

You’ll learn persistence.

In sales you’ll hear the word no, time and time again.  You’ll get yelled at, and hung up on.  It will wear you down and beat you down.  With the right attitude, you’ll at least learn to keep moving forward through the shitty times, and possibly even to view objections as a challenge — not the end.

You’ll learn how to identify marketing opportunities.

By working one on one with other people, you’ll learn to see the world through the eyes of others.  You’ll realize their pain points, their needs, and where they see value.  You can use this insight to adjust your marketing towards what other people what — not what you think they want based on how you see things.

You’ll build self discipline.

If you work a non sales job now, chances are you just collect a check.  You can sleep walk your way through that.  In most businesses, actual task completion is rarely (or poorly tacked).  If you’re in a sales job, you need to be selling.  You need to be working.

You gain confidence.

Its a cure for shyness, and you’ll need confidence across all aspects of running a business.  Remember your employees will need to be confident in you.  And if you don’t project confidence they can’t be confident in you.

You learn to negotiate.

Negotiating is a major part of every business.  You might want to negotiate lower prices with vendors, or substantially faster delivery times of subcontracted services (like engineering) at a relatively lower cost.  Salespeople learn to listen, evaluate variables, identify key drivers, overcome objections, and find ways to reach agreement–without burning bridges.

But I Need Leads To Sell!

I know this will inevitably come up, so lets address.

Having all the leads, in the world, doesn’t mean you actually sell them.  I’ve seen ‘sales people’ (ahem new hires), that couldn’t reach a deal with the warmest pile of inbound leads ever.  On the flip side, I have sales people that could get a 5 minute crash course on any new product or service, and sell it.

You could also outsource lead generation — an infinite number of companies offer it.  But if you can’t sell them, you’ll never have any revenue to earn.

About the author

Corey Philip

Corey Philip is a small business owner / investor with a focus on home service businesses.

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