One of the biggest challenges for any new entrepreneur is learning their own sales habits and processes. It can take years for a person to really hone their skills and become an excellent salesperson.
To help those starting out on their sales journey, the experts of Young Entrepreneur Council shared their experiences. Below they discussed the sales tips they wish they knew when they first started out and how those lessons can help new and aspiring entrepreneurs get on a path to business success.
Young Entrepreneur Council members discuss useful sales tips for beginners.
Photos courtesy of the individual members.
1. Become Comfortable With Cold Calling
Get comfortable on the phone and reaching out to people you have never met. They don’t teach cold calling in engineering school, and I still find it a challenge. Although I wish that emails were as effective as picking up the phone (or jumping on a video call), it is simply not the case. Talking enables you to ensure that everyone is aligned and on the same page, which greatly reduces the timeline to determine if there is a sales opportunity (or not). – Douglas Hutchings, Delta Solar
2. Push Every Lead For Ongoing Contracts
The most important tip I learned too late is to push every lead for ongoing contracts. Recurring revenue is the key pillar for every business out there. Even small maintenance, support or consulting activities add up quickly as your sales pipeline grows, and the dependency on constant sales grinding can decrease as you supplement more and more revenue through formal clients satisfied with your initial business engagement. Find out how to expand your services through support, consulting, updates or anything else that carries business value. In a matter of months, this new recurring vertical may be able to sustain a significant portion of the organization even through the slow sales seasons. – Mario Peshev, DevriX
3. View Sales As A Chance To Create A Long-Term Relationship
The best tip is to not look at sales as the culmination of a business relationship, but instead as a chance to create a long-term business relationship. Sales are made up of so much more than just the moment you sign the contract. There is a lot of preparation, product development, client management and relationship building that goes into making a successful sale, but it doesn’t stop there. Once you have succeeded in selling a product or service, you have to consider the “after care” as well as client follow-ups. Looking at sales as part of a holistic client relationship is far more beneficial than looking at them as the finish line to a sprint. – Maria Thimothy, OneIMS
4. Find Ways To Connect With People
It’s the long game. Picking up the phone and expecting to sell to someone in the first go no longer works. It’s about building relationships and getting to know people. People buy from people. It takes time to get the momentum going. It’s not about being perfect. Find your way to connect with people and go. For me, it’s LinkedIn and podcasting. I get to have honest conversations and figure out if I’m talking to someone whom my company could help and create a meaningful partnership with. – Kerry Guard, MKG Marketing
5. Consider The Value Of Generosity
Consider generosity as an ally in the sales process (especially if you are starting your company). One of my first mistakes was the self-interest approach that I put into my sales. In the beginning, I was only concerned about the economic gains generated by sales. I did not take into account that building a community that truly believes in your company is indispensable for any successful business. The sales approach should be thought of as building a long-term relationship. Through the generosity that you can offer to your customers, you earn good references and credibility for your new company, so you will easily attract more potential customers. I am not saying that you should give away everything and not make any profit, but you should factor the value of generosity into the equation. – Kevin Ryan Tao, NeuEve
6. Follow Up After The Initial Sales Meeting
I wish I would’ve known that I should follow up after an initial sales meeting to see if the prospect had questions or concerns about working together. But instead, I would have the initial meeting and then let the prospect reach out to me. I would not follow up because I was afraid to be annoying or aggressive. After a lot of trial and error, we now have our own sales process in place, balancing answering questions and following up without annoying the prospective client or customer. – Kristin Kimberly Marquet, Marquet Media, LLC
7. Start Sooner Rather Than Later
Looking back, I wish I had started my sales and marketing activities much sooner. It takes time to build trust and to establish a brand image. In fact, working on my marketing campaigns should have been one of the first things I did, even over product development. My advice to new entrepreneurs is to know when to step back from working on your actual product yourself. You need to work on big picture activities, including conversions. Learn how to create conversions with online courses and by following important thought leaders. Start applying sales techniques to your website, content, social media and even product feature development. The sooner you focus on your customers’ needs, the better, and you’ll avoid having to make changes later. – Blair Williams, MemberPress
8. Try Not To Get Caught Up In Comparison
When I first started my company, I thought gaining customers was all about comparing my products and services to competitors, but this is only one small strategy to boost sales. If you really want to increase sales for your startup, it’s more effective to express the benefits of your products and services. Showing potential customers why they need your products and how they’ll solve a pain point is usually enough to grab their attention and keep them interested. You don’t always need to bring your competitors into the mix to make a sale or prove that your business is worthy. – Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms
9. Study Your Target Audience
Study. It might sound a little strange to study and prepare for sales, but it is so helpful to build your leads. Spend some time studying your target audience. Find out more about their personalities, biggest challenges, pain points, lifestyle, etc. Develop a clear picture of who they are. With this information, you will be able to better pick your promotional methods and get your products or services in front of members of the right audience—your target audience. Once you’re in contact with those prospects, you can work on building relationships. All of that initial research and consistent communication will positively impact your business’ growth and credibility. – Blair Thomas, eMerchantBroker
Source by www.forbes.com