Sales Fundamentals for Entrepreneurs

I have met several techies (including website owners, mobile app developers, entreprise software developers etc.) in the past, who have all the love for creating cool products but rarely any inclination for selling. Reasons for that may include any or all of the below:

1. Fear of facing the customer’s rejection
2. Lack of confidence
3. Lack of skills and sales tactics
4. Feel sales is a low order job to be taken care of by someone else

Sales is the most important trait of any entrepreneur; and this is what makes the difference between a cool techie and a tech-entrepreneur.

Imagine if Bill Gates or Steve Jobs never sold or marketed their products; would Microsoft and Apple still be what they are today!

To learn some of the soft and hard aspects of sales, I recommend below action points:

1. Plan, prepare and practice

Any sales call should require some amount of planning, preparation and practice. Do some research and learn about your customers; find out their pain points and prepare a short pitch to sell to them. Do a few mock sessions before going out in real world; and after that, just be yourself.

If you are confident about your product, you will be at ease with the customer and able to handle her objections.

2. Communicate

Whether it is via personal phone calls (not only for sales talk but also during other times), emails or newsletters, communication with
your customers is a must. Keep your message clear, concise and compelling (3Cs of communication) and you will see your products fly.

3. FAB Model of sales

Too many techies are focused on the cool features they build–the one thing that early stage customers neither understand nor need. Then what is it that they are looking for? They are looking for benefits–what is in it for me, what will I get, how much I have to pay?
Features – Advantages – Benefits – that is what the difference between a cool techie and a successful entrepreneur. Ever observed Steve Jobs or Bill Gates? They spend little time on how cool their products are but more time on how their customers can have fun with the products.

4. Learn to accept a no

Handling objections is a key salesman trait. Not every customer will like what you have build, and as an entrepreneur you have to be intelligent to understand customer pain-points. Do not take it personally; just take it as a natural process in the sales function and keep moving. The more pipeline or prospects you create, the higher the chances of your success. Always try to bring in the sales closure or next step towards closing sales. Also, its better to ask for something like demo, purchase order, pricing etc. and not get it, rather than not trying it at all.

5. Be proud and motivated

Respect for sales job is a must. If you cannot be proud and motivated to sell, do not expect your customers to be enthusiastic about your product. Treat your other team members who are in the sales function with respect, and remember sales is what makes a difference in an entrepreneurs life.

Amit GroverAbout the Author

Amit Grover is an IIT Delhi and IIM Indore alumnus, an individual with a passion for entrepreneurship. He is the founder of Nurture Talent Academy (www.nurturetalent.com), which has conducted 35 programs, across 10 cities, attended by 550 startups. It conducts programs for budding entrepreneurs on areas like finance, business plan, marketing and setting up a company. He is also a member of Mumbai Angels, a group of early stage investors and has led over 25 deals in last 4 years.

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