Every entrepreneur’s dream is to see an increase in sales in their business. This increase may mean more
customers buying, more units sold, more patients treated or more money per customer. The increase
might happen without the entrepreneur’s effort. However, in most cases, sales in small and mid-sized
businesses rarely grow substantially without the owner’s commitment to it.
As a business owner, you juggle many balls and a fall in one has an effect on many other aspects of the
business. As a business grows the sales ball fall more often than it is healthy. When the sales ball drop,
all other balls fall because in business nothing happens until something is sold.
When the economy and other factors are friendly to your business you may get away with a few sales
balls falling but in tough economic times, like during this pandemic, dropped sales balls have dire
consequences. The pain is multiplied many times if you are operating in highly competitive sectors or
those that have high running costs or low margins. Those who deal in slow-moving products also feel the
As an SME you need to focus on the sales ball ten times more than a large corporation- even at the best
of times. You don’t have limitless credit facilities and therefore your cash is mainly generated from your
You wear the elegant managing director and the chief executive officer caps in addition to all the others
that are not so glamorous such as the debt collector, delivery person, production supervisor etc. Now is
the time to consider these additional these two sales hats as key to your business- the Chief Sales Officer
and Chief Sales Person.
The Chief Sales Officer Hat
Large corporations have a large and complex sales organization led by a chief sales officer (often called
sales director) who is highly paid to do this job because they have the skills and experience to execute
this role. As an SME you do not have the resources to hire one. But you cannot excel in sales without
one. So you have to improvise.
Work with what you have – YOU!
Why did you go into business? To pursue a passion ? Make trendy products ? Solve a big problem ?
Exploit an opportunity ? Whatever inspired you it to get into business it may not last for long if not
fueled by sales. Without selling you either have a hobby or a very difficult trade. That is why you must
grab and wear the Chief Sales Officer cap as an emergency. If you don’t know how to fit it well you need
to ask for training, coaching, mentorship and guidance help from those sales experts (like us).
The chief sales officer responsibility entails many things which we don’t have time to address in a short
article. Let us focus on two which are critical to being successful.
Fall in Love with Easy Maths
Sales is about numbers. The biggest number – money in the account-is important but it is at the end of a
process. Sales is a consequence. It is a result.
As CSO you need to have a good understanding of the process that gives you the result and the various
numbers that add, multiply, substract and divide to get the final result. It is important to have an idea of
how the various numbers relate to give you the result you are getting or desire to get. That is the sales
formula. Your eyes should be focussed on each component of this sales formula.
For instance, if you run a small supermarket the money you make is a consequence of the number of the
people who walked into the shop, how much time they spent in the shop, how many products they
checked out, how many bought anything, what they bought, how much did each spend etc. Based on
this you can determine what you need to do to increase or reduce on what have impact on your sales. I
know you are not running a supermarket. So what does your formula look like ?
Secondly,as a chief sales officer you need to focus on those who are right for your products and are not
buying them from you. Why are they not buying from me ? This is a question that should keep you
awake as a chief sales officer.The answers to this question are key in determining various sales actions
and behaviours that you can work on to drive your sales.
Lets revisit the supermarket analogy. As the CSO I will question why all the people in the neighbourhood
are not shopping in my store. I will ask why people are coming in and leaving without buying a thing or
buying not as much as expected. I will be concerned about abandoned trollies with goods. Why are all
these people not buying? Answering these questions is core to being the chief sales officer.
The chief sales officers cap is a strategic cap. Your key concern while wearing this cap is what is
happening around my sales and what can be done to improve them. It is an observing and thinking hat.
If a day goes without asking these questions you are dropping the sales ball.
Chief Sales Person Hat
This is the cap you wear to get dirty. It is the action hat. This is the cap you wear when in front of a
prospective buyer or paying customer. It is the hat you wear when you take your phone to make a call. It
is the cap you wear when you send an email to a client.
If you are running a small and mid-sized business you have to be a salesperson. You stop selling when
only when you are not running that business. As a salesperson, you need to be keen on the quantity of
your sales activities- calls, meetings, demos, presentations etc. Here I don’t mean servicing activities or
even client relations activities I mean activities aimed at getting that next sale. For small businesses, this
is an everyday game but for large businesses, there are those opportunities that are director size
opportunities that you should be chasing.
As a CSO we judge you by your thoughts. As CSP we judge you by your actions. Selling is a doing word. It
is a verb. It is done when in front of another person.
But am introverted
But am an introvert. I don’t like strangers. My mother told me not to talk to them.
This is a common excuse for not selling. Being an introvert is not a good enough reason for not selling.
Selling is 80% science and 20% art. Science has a process and can be learnt regardless of personality
traits. While personality traits may play a part in determining how good you will be in the art of selling
the 80% is within the grasp of every person alive. I have helped many introverts become great in sales. I
have also helped extroverts excel in it. What matters in the art of selling is being authentic by adopting a
selling style that is most natural to you. We can help you identify and develop this style. But most
importantly you need to master the selling science that is right for your business.
Wear these two hats and you will not regret about your sales.