By Robert Ashton, the Barefoot Entrepreneur

Being an entrepreneur, I know the importance of sales. However, I also recognise that sales is often a misunderstood skill. People associate sales with overzealous salesmen pushing products on their unsuspecting victims. I don't believe this is the case, and wish to set the record straight. Sales is really good social communication. Being a good salesman is not following the example set by the Wolf of Wall Street. It is really about listening effectively and communicating clearly.

Listen to your customers.
Your customers will tell you what they need. You can then profitably deliver them they need. When it comes to sales you should do more listening than talking. If you listen to what your customers say, you can build a product or service they want.

If someone doesn’t want to buy from you don’t immediately be disheartened. Ask them why they didn't buy. Usually they will give you an explanation. Listen very carefully to this reason and act upon it. This is the feedback that will drive your business forward and make your next sales pitch successful.

All ideas need to be adopted by others.
To ensure your ideas are adopted by others you have to communicate them clearly. Sales skills will ensure you translate your goals into others’ wants and needs. Following the first step allows you to understand your customer. Now you must convey your message to said customer.

Providing a concise and clear explanation ensures you are communicating the benefits of your product or service. Really take your time to ensure your pitch is clear.

Selling is like cycling.
Selling doesn’t have to be your core skill, but if you can do it, you get to your destination faster. You can spend years developing the best product or service but if you can’t sell it that innovation is wasted.

Sales is really about conveying the hard work you have put in to your wonderful product or service. Allow others to see the value you are offering.

Robert Ashton helps individuals, organisations and communities achieve greater, positive social impact through achieving economic self-sufficiency. He challenges assumptions to find new ways to solve the problems that prompt people to approach him for help.