Lots of people think they can sell, but in reality they are usually poor at selling. Startups tend to be founded by the nerdy guys, the back-office people who couldn’t sell a glass of lemonade if they tried. They tend to “look down their noses” at salespeople as having no hard skills / talent. Boy, that couldn’t be farther from the truth! There is a lot to learn to make your sales process successful, so here is a short primer guide on why you should respect and build your own sales capabilities as you grow your own startup.
The Top 8: Do’s and Dont’s
These are some General Rules of Engagement / Defining your own Attitude towards Sales:
- Clarity: Establish from first contact what your intention is - be clear you are not some starting FinTech you are a serious business partner so that you are taken seriously.
- Punctual: It is critically important that you stay on time during your meeting - be super self- aware of time with iPhone in hand! Im serious.
- Flow: Never get hung up on any one topic - shift from topic to topic naturally, creating a flow during meeting, transitions feel “natural” - take the cues to shift through agenda.
- Trust: People trust people - be a person to trust. Confident but not cocky, informed/expert but not nerdy, Can do attitude, but say also what can't do - overall goal create “pull”.
- Focus > Smart: Don’t get bogged down in an intellect mutual fight about some topic like “the future of banking is...” - Nobody Cares. You are here to make a product sale and ultimately to make money.
- Goodwill: Do NOT let any sales contact “use you” in a meeting just for education - they would be happy if you lecture of 55 of the 60 minutes to educate them on how you do what you do - do NOT let this happen.
- Attitude: You need to decide before you walk into the room, that you are here to make a sale. Be hungry to close the sale - project this as focus and confidence in what you are doing there.
- Bold Enough to Ask: Challenging Salespeople sell 10x what “Wimps” do. You do not need to agree or be friends with your counterpart. You need to identify during the meeting whether they have the authority, credibility, power and budget to buy your thing - and make them understand they want to buy your thing.
Step 1: Put Yourself on a Position of Authority
- Agenda Flyover: In the first 30-seconds, walk through the headline topics you will cover. Stay in the position of Power. Control the Agenda and Time, be in charge for this 60 minutes. People love to be lead. LEAD!
- Personal Introductions: Go around table 90-second limit per person • Role, authority, main goals today
- About our Company: Establish credibility: what partners you have, how many customers, how many countries, which verticals, what you do - SaaS, White Label.
- Our Expectations Today: Why we are here, i.e. Our goal is a LOI to resell our product to your end clients...Our goal is to partner under NDA with private access to your data to create pilot...
Step 2: Start with the Why
- Use Case Deep Dive: Showcase your knowledge of the industry vertical and how you attacked it with your product.
- Market Need: Frame the wide market need for your product, Start With The WHY, and identify where you specifically can help them (client) achieve their strategic goals - what part of their customer life cycle improves • ie. prospecting, lead gen, client UX, feedback.
- Show The Product: Explain using a few slides or video as background how it actually works, say technical integration details at high level ie. “We are an SDK”, “We are Open API".
- Document Their Reaction: Stop Talking! Ask a few Questions - and (important!) - Don’t try to answer - take a lot of Notes to document all their concerns, views and points for follow-up - these are all points of entry to widen the lead into a warm one, for example:
• He is concerned about automating rules in back-office processes, or• She wanted to know white label SaaS and pricing for license• He wants combination of video integrated with UX, or• She reacted positively to behavioural finance training themesBased on above you know what follow-up actions to take that will catch FIRE!
Step 3: Identify Hard Leads
Ask How: Find out what Proof-of-Concept test they envision, ie. “We could use your retail bank clients data to test these algorithms for 3 months”Take Names: In many cases people will drop names of others who would decide this -take careful notes, look them up LinkedIN right there in the meeting room and confirm you know who they meanMake a Date: Who calls who by when? Is someone going out to dinner? All you need are two things: Name, date. List these actions quickly in your PC/Smartphone. You need to be typing like a madman! This gives the counterpart confidence you will actually deliver.
Step 4: Diligent Follow-up!
- Action your items with a Thank-You note within 24-hours after meeting. So many startups drop the ball here - you need to act as professionally as an Enterprise software provider - have a structured process, be punctual, friendly, firm and challenging. Think of yourself having a boxer’s stance - wide feet, stable so a house could fall on you.
- Stay organised: Track all actions for each lead in a Lead Gen(eration) excel - as these things pile up you need to keep contacts flowing and keep sales traction warm! Delegate smartly and make sure things get done orderly, not perfect, but on-time and with quality / value.