Greg’s Entrepreneurial Tradecraft Story (aka Learning Journey)1 I Loved Sales & Selling2 My Own Business3 Not so accidental entrepreneur4 Gaining cooperation5 Communication = success6 Learning problems7 Curiosity builds trust8 The game changer9 Seek understanding10 Entrepreneurial Tradecraft™11 Bonus Insight: What is Entrepreneurial Tradecraft™?
I was good with people. I was quickly promoted to "sales" and I was good at it. I met a variety of people, I loved it. When you become good at something, it you can get stuck maintaining the status quo. I grew to hate the status quo and I wanted more.
I was young & confident. I believed I could do a better job at running a business than my bosses. I wanted to help people & make sure they were well served. I wanted to take what I learned helping my bosses. I wanted to build my own business.
I shifted my focus from being a print broker to being a Graphic Designer. I was the rainmaker, dealmaker & business strategist. I hired the graphic designers, artists & copywriters to do the work. I had to stop being the critic and complainer.
Now I was the one in the hot seat. I was the one who had to to come up with solutions to problems and challenges, not of my own making. This is when I learned about the real work of entrepreneurs — solving delicate, persistent yet intractable problems.
To win contracts I had make promises. To stay in business I had to deliver on my promises. If people would’ve just done what they promised, my life as an entrepreneur would’ve been a lot easier. I had to learn to work with people.
In order to gain cooperation I had to stop ordering people around. It was too stressful & didn’t work. What did work was communication. Quality questions were the key that opened locked doors & broke through rigid thinking.
Until I had this one insight, coping with change was really difficult. Curiosity is the key which will open your locked mind to new possibilities. Everything you want out of life is based on your ability to learn.
Curiosity is a tool which opens a path to listening. The ability to learn & change is fuelled by curiosity. Without curiosity we are doomed to mediocrity & the status quo.
As it turns out, curiosity is crucial to gaining trust. The ability to create trust is the apogee of the Entrepreneurial Tradecraft™ learning curve. It follows then that trust is the basis of salesmanship.
Salesmanship is the cornerstone of building a business & succeeding as an entrepreneur. It’s at the core of every healthy business relationship. A curious mind — is open, eager & perceptive. This is the conduit through which trust flows.
When I realized how powerful open-ended, genuine and curious questions were, I realized my life was going to be better. I was excited, I just knew this was the missing ingredient. By asking quality questions, I could now engage in effortless conversations.
These conversations which were based on open-ended questions, always lead to a mutual understanding of each other’s priorities. Being able to connect using open-ended questions will forever changed how you approach making deals & conducting business.
It all became so obvious & uncomfortable as I began to realize just how much time I had wasted talking & not listening. It was all pretty simple, ask questions, listen and when I didn’t understand something they said, I’d ask more questions.
As I look back, asking questions was a brilliant strategy, plus it boosted my confidence and I made real connections with people.
Doing business is like learning to dance. Sometimes, you take the lead and sometimes you have to let your dance partner (customer) lead.
When two people are able to stay open and curious — long enough — they easily arrive at a mutually beneficial understanding. This is the common ground that is created in a healthy business relationship.
When you ask quality, open-end questions you telegraph openness and curiosity. This creates a fertile ground in which you can easily plant seeds of ideas and create understanding. Then a feeling of rapport and trust ensues.That is the sweet spot we call Entrepreneurial Tradecraft™.]
Entrepreneurial Tradecraft™ is a professional business development term used by progressive business owners to describe their pursuit of business mastery.
1 Business Problems Are Learning Problems AND Opportunities2 The Comfort Zone Addiction (everyone suffers) Is A Major Problem & Roadblock3 Dealing with Symptoms vs Real Problems4 Dealing Unexpected Changes and Problems5 Strategic Error Problem6 Solutions to Business Structural Problems7 Rigid Entrepreneurial Attitudes Contribute To Business Chaos8 The Problem with Fear 9 Lack of a CLEAR Vision Creates Its Own Business Problems & Challenges10 Inner Critic Problem11 The Business Bias Problem12 Perfection/Procrastination Loop Problem13 Not Understanding the Difference Between Goals & ResultsConclusion: Productivity Is Impossible If You’re Chasing Symptoms When if the “End Game” is UnclearSolutions: Learning Curve AccelerationSolutions: Developing Your Entrepreneurial Tradecraft™