Rear view of a businessman entrepreneur giving a lecture to a sold-out crowd in a lecture hall.
Small business owners often wear many hats, such as leading sales initiatives. Learning from the masters means you don't have to reinvent the wheel, which saves money and time. — Getty Images/vm

Small to mid-size business owners often find themselves wearing many hats in their business. One of the most important is spearheading the sales department. Start-up companies may find the founder and CEO is not just the head of sales, but the only salesperson. And, of course, micropreneurs need to manage their own sales if their business is going to grow.

If you’re looking to maximize your sales success in any field, it pays to follow the strategies, tactics and techniques of the masters. But where should you turn? These individuals offer pithy insights on social media, and also have informative blogs, books and webinars that offer valuable opportunities for you to learn from them.

Grant Cardone

Best-selling author, renowned speaker and real estate investor Grant Cardone lands in the #1 spot on many “top guru” lists. He owns five privately held companies, including his sales training company Cardone Training Technologies, with revenues exceeding $100 million. He has created many online business programs and has written seven books. But you don’t have to pay to absorb his knowledge.

A social media influencer, Grant Cardone often shares his insights on LinkedIn and YouTube. His speeches and content are designed to motivate and inspire. He encourages discipline, action and surrounding yourself with positive people. His 10X Rule directs people to set goals 10X greater than what you believe is possible and then take action 10X greater than what you feel you need to do to achieve those goals.

If you feel yourself becoming tired of the grind, take a few minutes to immerse yourself in one of his videos and feel exhilarated by thoughts like, “What you have done is nothing compared to what you can do.”

Trish Bertuzzi

Trish Bertuzzi is a leader in inside sales and the founder of The Bridge Group, a consultancy that helps B2B technology clients “drive scalable growth,” her website says. Author of “The Sales Development Playbook: Build Repeatable Pipeline and Accelerate Growth with Inside Sales,” Bertuzzi has plenty to teach start-ups and blossoming companies. If you’re managing a large or small organization, Bertuzzi’s insights can inform, motivate and inspire you.

She encourages investing in your sales team with coaching and training, focusing on solving your customers’ pain points, and using consultative sales techniques to build trust with your audience. She focuses on selling through emotion and connection, with insightful observations such as, “Buyers won’t engage with sales reps who pitch product, but they will give access to trusted advisors.”

Her refreshing honesty encourages her mentees to look deep inside themselves — and within their organizations — to find areas for improvement. She also encourages business owners and sales leaders to share their own experiences with their audience, noting, “I’m bored with hearing how busy and wonderful we all are… We can learn so much more from what didn’t go perfectly and how we adapted, improvised and overcame.”

What you have done is nothing compared to what you can do.

Grant Cardone, best-stelling author, speaker and real estate investor

Seth Godin

Seth Godin transformed sales and marketing as we know it today with his book “Permission Marketing” and concept of the same name. The premise behind inbound marketing, in which leads come to the brand instead of the other way around, was popularized in 1999 and the internet made this sales strategy accessible to business owners of any size. Godin followed the book up with his bestseller “Purple Cow,” emphasizing the importance for brands to stand out for success.

If you want to absorb all of Godin’s knowledge about sales and marketing, you’ll find a plethora of resources, including 19 bestselling books, 7,500 blog posts, more than 200 podcast interviews, plus webinars and courses. His latest book, “The Practice,” focuses on helping business leaders, sales professionals, entrepreneurs and creatives find their unique voice, discover that creativity is a skill — not a talent — and unlock powerful content they can use to grow their business or enhance their life.

Neil Patel

While Seth Godin reimagined permission marketing and inbound marketing, Neil Patel executes content marketing with expertise and flair. If you run an e-commerce site or have a website designed to increase visibility for your brick-and-mortar store or service-based business, you’ll find Patel’s insights invaluable.

His website covers everything from search engine optimization (SEO) to email marketing, and is a blend of inspiration and actionable insights. Forbes named him one of the top 10 marketers. You can read his blog for insights to improve your content marketing strategy, use his SEO tools to make profitable changes, and subscribe to his marketing school podcast for deeper dives into digital marketing topics.

If you’re the type who has a hard time getting started on a new sales or marketing campaign, Patel’s tips might give you the push you need. He says, “Don’t try to plan everything out to the very last detail. I’m a big believer in just getting it out there: create a minimal viable product or website, launch it, and get feedback.”

Just like the other gurus on this list, Patel’s insights often focus on surrounding yourself with positive people. “If your friends don’t motivate you and inspire you, you’re choosing them all wrong.”

Gary Vaynerchuk

If you ever catch one of Gary Vaynerchuk’s videos, you’ll find him to be animated, passionate, and knowledgeable. Owner of media and communications holding company VaynerX and CEO of full-service advertising agency VaynerMedia, Vaynerchuk has a highly visible presence on Instagram, which he calls his biggest platform. You’ll also find him on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.

Vaynerchuk has written five books, including four bestsellers. His first, “Crush It! Why Now Is the Time to Cash in On Your Passion" encourages entrepreneurs to develop a brand online and transform their passion into income. Most of his content and training focuses on internet marketing through social media platforms.

His most inspirational and motivational quotes focus on living life with a purpose and pursuing your business with passion. He says, “Without hustle your talent will only get you so far,” and “Be a good person and good things happen.” His MO is to give more than he receives and delivers tons of value to his followers for free.

If you’re looking to build your brand through social media channels and get inspired by watching individuals with a lot of drive and energy, Vaynerchuk may resonate with you.

Each of these diverse personalities has different business philosophies and styles of teaching. Check them out, but don’t stop exploring until you find the business mentors and sales leaders that resonate with you.

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

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Published July 21, 2021