Sales is easier than you think

by | Mar 5, 2024 | Core, Impact Business, Impact Creator, Impact Entrepreneur, QP Blog



When I ask Impact Entrepreneurs about their biggest challenge, the answer is often ‘sales’. They invest a lot of time in social media and the number of followers on their channels. Nice, but not very effective in the early stages. Getting followers and generating sales are two different strategies. To bring in your first customers, you don’t even need a website. All you need to do is organize sales meetings and make follow-up calls.

This week we started a new QP Quest mentoring group. All driven Impact Entrepreneurs who want to make a sustainable difference. Each and every one of them has a great project and a compelling story that they tell with great enthusiasm. Yet it proves difficult to convince investors. Yet it is difficult to get more paying customers. Why is it that sales remains such a big challenge for many Impact Entrepreneurs? Here are some explanations.


Believing that selling is not necessary

A whole market has emerged for entrepreneurs who don’t like selling. Providers capitalize on this, telling the story that selling is no longer necessary in this digital age. They promise that you can effortlessly market your product online and become rich while you are sleeping. You have to be on social media and gather as many followers as possible. You have to advertise on Facebook and LinkedIn. You need to invest in SEO. You need to write a book. You have to start a podcast. You have to build an online platform. And so on and so forth. Indeed, if your Impact Business is standing and profitable, then these elements can be part of your growth strategy. Actually, I highly value content creation as a lead generation strategy, but only in the scale-up and sustain-up phase of the QP Quest. It takes time, expertise and budget to set up and optimize such marketing strategies. Most start-ups do not have either the time, expertise or financial resources. In that phase, you can’t escape it. You will have to start a direct conversation with potential customers, partners, investors. You’ll simply have to sell your concept, your product or your service.


Being afraid of being perceived as a salesperson

It starts with the perception and definition of sales. What is the prototype of a salesperson? A salesperson who wants to force his product on everyone? A sales caller who rattles off a phone script on autopilot? A door-to-door salesman who gets aggressive if you don’t buy? Logically, no one wants to identify with that image. I’m not going to deny that these salespeople exist out there. Still, I choose to have a different image of salespeople. In my vision, a salesperson is someone who genuinely cares about the customer. Someone who wants to think along with the client to find a solution for a challenge. Someone who only sells when the product or service can help the customer move forward. Someone who refers when another provider has a better solution. Those are the salespeople I like to buy from. Those are also the salespeople I like to engage in my sales team. By selling this way, you lay the foundation for your business based on integrity and win-win-win. From this foundation, you can grow your organization sustainably.


Wanting to do everything themselves or delegating everything

I often see the extremes. On the one hand, the entrepreneur who wants to maintain all control and therefore does all sales himself. Of course, this is not sustainable and cannot be maintained in the long run. On the other hand, the entrepreneur who lets go of the whole commercial side and delegates it to employees or partners. This is not an ideal situation either. If the entrepreneur is not in touch with the end customer, the sales strategy cannot be tweaked. So then what is an effective approach? Here is my favorite strategy. The entrepreneur himself closes the first sales deals in his network. That way he or she gets immediate feedback. Thus, product and story can be adjusted and optimized based on the needs and requirements of end customers. Thus, an optimal sales strategy can be established with clear guidelines. Only then can a sales team be trained in this strategy. Only then can sales be effectively delegated for certain customer profiles. And even then, there will always be contacts that you, as the business owner, are better off following up on yourself. Either way, it is a must that every employee, every partner, and even certain customers know and are involved in the sales strategy.


Hiding that they want to close a deal

Selling is about connecting with the customer to have a sales-oriented conversation. The purpose of the conversation must be clear to everyone up front. Expectations must be aligned so that the potential customer is not surprised when you propose a solution and make an offer. A good illustration of this is the story of the entrepreneur with a Wellness Center. He was inviting Impact Investors to come and relax in his facilities. When they did he found it very difficult to start talking about business so he didn’t. Of course, that’s not how it works. He should have invited potential investors to come and talk about investment opportunities, with or without the opportunity to use his facilities afterwards. That would have been a more transparent and effective approach. It doesn’t matter if you conceal things out of shame or fear of rejection, whether you do so consciously or unconsciously. From the client’s perspective, this can feel like a hidden agenda, manipulation and even scamming. You cannot build a constructive partnership this way. Only from integrity, win-win-win thinking and transparent communication can you build lasting relationships.


Talking too much

As an Impact Entrepreneur, you are super enthusiastic about your project. For sure, you have a lot to tell about your passion and your projects. The key is to find a balance between talking and listening. On the one hand, you ask questions and let the customer or investor have their say. On the other hand, you can respond, tell your story, and clarify what solutions you have. What you say and how you say it determines the outcome of the conversation. Many people are not aware of what they say and what impact it has on the other person in the conversation. Choosing the right words is crucial. So is asking the right questions. There is an art to also hearing what is not being said. What keeps someone from saying yes when rationally there is such a clear win-win-win? Selling starts with listening and understanding. The best salespeople are intuitive and can put themselves in the shoes of the other person.


Make your sales flow

To summarize, you need 3 things to get flow in your sales: focus, mindset and skills. A sales strategy helps you focus. This can be a simple action plan, as long as sales is a priority. Transform your own beliefs and those of your team regarding sales. Redefine selling as an enjoyable interaction with the people for whom you have a solution. Develop your sales and communication skills by doing, by sharing experiences and by asking for feedback. Don’t procrastinate. Start scheduling your weekly sales calls and make sure you follow up on them.

Connect with like-minded Impact Entrepreneurs

Do you want to practice and get feedback on your sales approach? Do you want to exchange sales experiences and learn from other Impact Entrepreneurs? Would you like to explore partnership opportunities and discover how we can support each other as Impact Entrepreneurs?

If so, I like to invite you to the next open online gathering. An overview of the planned Connection Calls can be consulted on


Sandra De Milliano
Impact Business Co-Creation Circle
Creating hands-on solutions for today’s challenges in the field of entrepreneurship.


Thank you for sharing this post with anyone who could benefit from it.
Let’s make an unstoppable positive impact on society.
Let’s create, connect and care.

Connect to your customer with valuable content

Many Impact Entrepreneurs enjoy being creative. As such, they like to put a lot of time, money and energy, into content production. Unfortunately, this content rarely delivers the hoped-for results. With the right content strategy, you can convert potential customers into loyal ambassadors.

Build your loyal and flexible team

If you want to grow your Impact Project, you will need to build your team. Working with freelancers or outsourcing is a flexible way to start. But if you want people to stick around, you will need to create an inspiring work environment. People crave meaningful work where they have the space to contribute, can be creative and take pride in their work. Here are some things you can keep in mind when building a flexible and loyal team of experts that will grow with you every step of the way.

Private Equity, opportunity or challenge?

You are not taken seriously as an investor until you are also in Private Equity. Private Equity is nothing more or less than shares in a company that is not publicly listed. Unfortunately, Private Equity has acquired a bad connotation due to certain unethical practices. But it can be done differently, with a win-win-win intention. That way, Impact Entrepreneur and Impact Investor develop a lasting partnership that benefits all parties.