Bottom line is, whoever you are, if you're in business, particularly if you're running your own business, you probably should be doing this. And according to seasoned experts, like Jeff Bullas, (currently ranked by the likes of Forbes and the Huffington Post as the world's most influential sales and marketing blogger and a CEO founder himself), it's ridiculously easy to be successful at it in business, without having to sound like a rockstar or act like a con-artist.

Why should you read on?

Well, if you genuinely do 'live for the hustle', the chances are you're getting fantastic sales results already and/or you're following much of the great pragmatic advice and deploying the sales lead techniques in the attached article promoted by Bullas. So maybe you don't need to read on?

But if like I was, you're a few steps behind understanding what a legitimate version of business 'hustle' is all about, let alone having the confidence that in 'living your hustle', you've nailed all of the 'ridiculously clever' tips endorsed by Bullas, then do read on. There's some really thought-provoking and helpful advice here that could win you a lot of new leads and opportunities with minimum extra cost and effort.

So... The 'hustle'. It's one of youthful buzzwords of the moment. Entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs seem almost ritually now to include it in social profiles and blogs.

Established commentators, executive coaches and experienced business leaders drop it into presentations and advice, encouraging readers and audiences to do more of it to ensure that they stand out.

As Primer Magazine point out, these days, anyone who works hard or who does something unconventional, will mention 'their hustle'.

To me, 'hustle' conjures the image of energetic, aggressive and possibly secretive or exclusive deals and meet ups. My trusty Oxford English dictionary defines 'hustle' as all sorts of things along similar lines, none of which I really like the sound of either. I'm firmly in the camp of 'no hard-sell', in business or otherwise. Having been on the receiving end of it myself for many years, it's no fun to experience and it doesn't get customer commitment.

So I'll confess that the notion of 'hustling' sounded exhausting, too full-on and my instinctive response on hearing it for the first few times was to be dismissive and to assume that whatever it actually stands for, it certainly wasn't for me or my business.

I was wrong.

Because these days, 'hustle' appears to have a more aspirational and even inspiring meaning that in fact really appeals to entrepreneurs, intrepreneurs (like me) and even experienced business folks.

In his great article ‘Living the Hustle’, Ben Wilcox sums it up perfectly, explaining that 'hustling is about realising that it doesn't hurt to ask'.

Now that's a philosophy I can relate to. I've long been a believer that 'shy bears get no honey' and that when in a business or sales scenario, you ask, 'what's it going to take to make this happen?', the response you get is more often positive and something that you can work with, than not.

The worst that can happen is someone says no. So what have you got to lose? Unless you ask, you'll never know whether your target might have said yes. In our experience, they're more likely to do so. And then you have a sales lead, maybe even a deal itself, where none existed before.

It's an undeniable fact that the business we're reinventing would never be in the incredible and exciting position that it is today without us having asked these sorts of questions of lots of people and having practised this philosophy, continually.

Wilcox goes on to point out that 'living the hustle' is also about working harder than others. It's also about exuding confidence (even when you know that your proposition isn't yet (if ever) perfect). He also says it's about getting creative:

'It is important to emphasise the word 'creative'. Most of the time, if you are doing things that others aren't, that could be called hustling. Circumventing or completely disrupting the status quo can be a form of hustle.'

I wonder whether Steve Jobs would have described himself as a 'hustler' on that basis? I think he would. And in the same vein, it's possible to see how Musk and Branson, Zuckerberg, Sandberg and De Wintour would fit the same mould.

Considered through this lens, I agree with Wilcox's ultimate conclusion that 'hustle' is not in fact a dirty word:

'No matter how it is defined, it embodies continuous progress. Hustle is proudly worn on the sleeve by everyone else who continues to improve their life day by day.'

So if it's a good thing, how do you do it?

Let's come back to Bullas and the techniques he shares on his web-site and that he promotes in the attached article. If like me, you're not a born 'hustler' and sales conversations fill you with dread and a fear of awkwardness and failure, take a considered look at what he advocates as some 'ridiculously clever' and quick wins. Because before you need to start picking up the phone, crafting your email and social acquisition campaigns or anxiously networking your socks off at the next industry gathering, the techniques described here could in fact have your target audience coming to you and asking you that very same question 'what's it going to take...?', that you've been worrying about asking them. And then your own version of 'hustle' is going to get a whole lot more comfortable and easy for you.

For more guidance, infographics and perspectives shared by successful entrepreneurs on striking the right chord with your customers, pitching to perfection and keeping business and sales relationships 'sticky', take a look at the other business development blogs here.

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