It might be because of my sales experience before starting WeGoLook, but I have always believed sales people are entrepreneurs, and entrepreneurs are sales people. There’s just so much overlap.
My sales background heavily influenced my entrepreneurial journey. Two lessons that I learned from sales really helped me start and grow this company: valuing relationships, and being persistent and present. Here’s how that has played out during the growth of WeGoLook.
The value of relationships
My approach to growing WeGoLook was somewhat unorthodox—I hired my first sales person a few months ago, and until then I operated as the only “sales person” on staff at all. Because my experience prior to WeGoLook was in sales, that wasn’t too much of a problem, but I had to get creative about how to make that work.
Building a referral network is a big deal for me, and it’s something I’ve spent a lot of time and energy on. Maintaining those relationships is important to me, as well as creating new ones.
I’m a self-professed LinkedIn stalker. If you’re not taking advantage of the network that LinkedIn offers you, you should be. Building a referral network locally and in person is very important, but if your target market includes a larger range than Oklahoma, you owe it to yourself to make use of this online tool.
My referral network gives me the opportunity to tell anyone and everyone about WeGoLook. I can build demand by letting people know about how we solve problems, and I couldn’t do that nearly as well if my network were smaller.
I focus on building strong relationships with our WeGoLook team, as well. I’m inspired and encouraged by our staff, and they help me keep going when we face challenges.
Be present and be persistent!
I’ve found that if you want to get a meeting with someone, you need to be both present and persistent. When I’m traveling, I will call business leaders up and let them know that I’m in the area and would like to meet with them. I don’t wait for them to become interested in WeGoLook; I make it a point to go to them.
I love that we’re headquartered in Oklahoma City, but this is not an easy market for this type of company, especially when courting investors. Nobody knew what to make of WeGoLook when we first started, because the gig economy hadn’t really gotten into full swing, and people were reluctant to invest. I’ve found that being persistent helps, and presenting new growth when having repeat conversations with the same investors.
Sales people often get a bad rap, but we have to develop some really important skills in order to do our jobs well. Those skills have all kinds of applications, and I’m fortunate that I was able to draw on that experience from the the get-go to grow WeGoLook.