I can feel the collective shudder from all you physician entrepreneur wannabes at the mere mention of the word “sales”. Personal experience has taught me just how uncomfortable marketing and sales are for physicians, and for most professionals in general. And yet, if you want to succeed in business as an entrepreneurial physician, you must learn to sell!
There, I’ve said that dirty word.
Rule 8 of Bill Murphy Jr’s “The Intelligent Entrepreneur: How 3 Harvard Business School graduates learned the 10 rules of successful entrepreneurship” is Learn To Sell.
In fact, Murphy feels so strongly about this, he writes:
“… I thought about making it the 2nd rule, right after ‘Make the Commitment’. As soon as you decide to become an entrepreneur, you become a salesperson. Even before you decided which problem you’re going to solve – and thus which business you’re going to launch – you’ve got to sell yourself as someone who can innovate, lead and execute. If you can’t or won’t do that, sorry, but your venture will simply never get off the ground. So get used to it: sell today, sell tomorrow sell all the damn time. First and last, you’re an entrepreneur. But in between you’re all about selling.”
What does this kind of selling look like?
- convincing others on your team that your controversial idea or solution to a problem is the best way to go
- pitching your story powerfully in a way that excites potential investors
- persuading your bank manager to give you that loan
- inducing your target market to open their wallets and purchase your offering
- inspiring your employees to follow your vision
- swaying your audience with your electric presentation
- getting acceptance for your unconventional point of view
At its core, selling involves gathering reliable data, excellent listening skills, instinct, informed and intuitive insight into your marketplace, storytelling, and the ability to persuade convincingly, with your argument built around your data and insights.
Effective selling is driven by passion, credibility and integrity ( per Murphy, Credibility = Competence + Integrity).
Remember, at heart, you’re already an effective salesperson as a practicing physician. You are successful at convincing patients why they need certain therapies, or surgeries — and you do this with a combination of education, conviction and passion. You are a person of influence – now get out there and sell yourself, your ideas for business, and your offerings!
Here are the 7 earlier rules: