In today’s interview, Sharon Kaur, founder & owner of Inspired Marketing will talk about sales, what inspires Sharon, and the many things that it takes to become a successful entrepreneur. Sharon teaches us some great lessons on how she can grow her audience, and what to do when she is faced with challenges.
Tell us in your own words about yourself:
I am a New York Female Entrepreneur professional with over nine years of experience in sales, marketing, and non-profit work. I consider myself a seasoned relationship builder experienced in recruitment and retention, skill training, and mentoring fundraisers for non-profit solicitations and salesforce for corporate products. I have generated multi-million dollars as an outcome of these activities. I am known for being a strategic thinker, problem-solver, and high-achiever. I have a strong interest in both global philanthropy and the development of entrepreneurs having completed my Masters in Non-Profit Management at Columbia University. I have worked and volunteered in many roles that put me in a mentor, teacher role. I have thrived in an environment where no two workdays are the same. However, I am also a multitude of other roles including but not limited to being a mother, daughter, and sister.
Can you give us an idea of who your clients are?
The clients I represent range from non-profits one of which has even won the Nobel peace prize. I have worked on behalf of billion-dollar telecommunication companies. Some of the largest energy companies in the world. Along with office supply companies, a few call-center contracts, and pharmaceutical companies. As time goes on I hope to add more to the list.
What is the common mistake people make when they are selling a product or service?
People tend to make assumptions. There have been so many times when I have had sales agents say, “this client won’t be interested in this product line, or misjudging a target demographic feeling that they look as though they would not be interested.” These assumptions are dangerous and can be from misinterpretation. One should never assume and remember to be an open-minded person. Often what you are selling is yourself.
What has been the most effective sales skill you have seen?
To me, the most effective sales skill I have seen is direct sales and marketing. Direct sales are more personal as well as measurable. Since direct sales are seen by face-to-face communication. Face-to-face communication can’t be replaced because it involves engaging with potential clients and while doing this you have the opportunity to create a personal relationship. Also when you are face-to-face with individuals it is easier to read body language, silence, and overall take control of situations.
Do you think anyone can be a skilled seller? Why yes or why not.
I think sales is something anyone can master, not just become skilled at. As long as someone is willing to take on a student mentality, maintain a great attitude, and work hard. Sales are typically people’s favorite job or least favorite depending on how you approach it. With sales, I focus on being as systematic as possible to me it is a matter of probability and logic. Two things anyone can implement which is why I think anyone can do it.
What makes a great sales manager?
Great sales managers have great leadership skills. Leadership is not about being the best but instead making others better. However, there are four things you can’t go wrong by having and I have an acronym for what I “WISH” people have. Work Ethic, Integrity, Social Intelligence, and Honesty. I know that the concept of “sleazy salesman” exists because there are people out there being them. I acknowledge they exist but the best way to combat that is developing more people that encompass “WISH”. I pride myself on choosing to work with people that I would be proud to have my family and friends see me around.
What is the biggest challenge faced by entrepreneurs?
Every entrepreneur I have met in my life so far; I know without a doubt could have been successful in something else. I think that paired with the fact that doubt is a reality for everyone is the biggest challenge we face as entrepreneurs. We know we can be successful at other things so it becomes a matter of “Why this?”, “Can I do it?”, “Wouldn’t XYZ be easier, I mean I know I can do that?.” The phrase “Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever” is something many of us have heard, and I completely agree with but doubt can be removed by action. It is a matter of just going for your goals.
How do you balance work and life?
I let them intermix at times. My employees know who my daughter is because I bring her into the office typically once a week. I cultivate a relationship where I know their goals and what matters most to them. The relationship goes both ways so the people that work with me as time goes on get to know my goals and the people that matter most to me. My closest friends and friends have come to company events on occasion. Yet at other times I carve time out for the separate parts of my life. Whether it be time for dinner with family or taking time to go to a conference. A big part of doing that successfully is keeping a planner and maintaining an updated calendar of what needs to get done or made time for. At the end of the day, everyone only gets 24 hours and you will make time for what matters to you.
What is your secret to being an effective CEO in terms of building the company culture and values you need to make the company successful?
A good salesperson knows how to build relationships and connect with prospects one-on-one. They can quickly diffuse concerns, overcome objections and make their customers feel comfortable. My effectiveness as a CEO comes from being a good salesperson. As for the company culture and values, I think the secret is hiring the right people. I only work with people that will be able to gain something from working with me, and I would be comfortable introducing myself to my family and friends. Then I work on cultivating a relationship with them, the people that I work with I aim to see being business partners or role models to future employees of mine.
What is your current mission?
Be the type of person that no matter where I go, or am I add value to the lives around me. However, besides that my why for working as hard as I do is I aim to see 100 people make 100k after working with me. I feel like sales is a transferable skill and a skill a person is better for learning. It forces someone to develop their communications skills. Become more persuasive and exude confidence. I aim to meet and see people that work for me be developed for the better.
How do you stay motivated?
I keep my goals and mentors in mind. Growing up I was raised by my two parents that came to America from India. They made that move to allow their kids to have a better life. My dad is a role model, he has taken two days off of work (both of which were due to medical emergencies) his entire career and is now retired. My parents both worked in factories but were able to make over 100k together. I understand how many hours of overtime that meant. If that effort doesn’t equate to me being exponentially better in life, what was the point? Like seriously, I work in the industry I do because I wish my dad had an opportunity like the one I provide my employees. One in which one’s hard work levels the playing field of success.
Share some tips for women who are in doubt about leaving their secure job and starting their own businesses
Six months of hardcore focus and intent can put your years ahead in life. Don’t ever estimate the power of desire and consistency. At the end of the day, you can do whatever you put your mind to, as long as you have the patience to execute it.