IRONY - Many want to be ENTREPRENEURS and BUSINESS OWNERS but do not want to do SALES.
Our nation wants and needs to create more entrepreneurs and business owners however the majority of our youth avoid sales. At any point of time, thousands of sales jobs are available even during the Covid19 crisis. But we do not have enough takers. Sales and sales-related jobs are in our C.O.L. – Critical Occupations List.
Our institutes of higher learning and numerous government bodies offer and provide funds for entrepreneurial degrees and training, but sales and business development are not stressed. We gloss over the need for sales skills and behaviour when encouraging the young to go into business and make them believe that digital sales can substitute the critical role of personal selling in ensuring customers decide what, when, why and from whom to buy.
Those who start their own business pretentiously and proudly call themselves businessmen or entrepreneurs even when they neither have the tenacity and spirit of a salesperson like waking up early and working till late, nor even the basic skills and persistency in making cold calls to prospects. Is it a wonder that the failure rate has been atrocious? In fact, business organizations have to sugar-coat or downplay anything sales when recruiting salespeople. We use fancy job titles for sales positions.
Yet selling skills is key for entrepreneurs and business owners. A few years in sales can help prepare an aspiring entrepreneur to have what it takes to run a business – communication skills, knowing the customer, discipline and work ethics, emotional resilience to handle ups and downs and staying focused. To set targets and chase after them. To go the extra mile and push oneself out of one’s comfort zone. Sales is not a 9-5 job and working weekends is a norm. It is basic training for the entrepreneurial spirit – the habit of delaying gratification for future success.
We need to promote sales as a career of choice. Set numeric targets to develop sales professionals like we do for doctors, engineers, lawyers, teachers, etc as part of nation building. By enlarging the number of sales professionals, we ensure a bigger pool of future entrepreneurs and businesspeople.
We must also stress the belief that sales come first before entrepreneurship. The sales job teaches hard work, drive, dealing with others and managing oneself. Convince our young that sales skills are essential not just for those who want to do their own business but also for those who aspire to be a leader, manager or even an engineer.
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Have a meaningful Chinese New Year.