I once read an article by entrepreneur, investor and philanthropist Mark Cuban about the starting blocks of his business. In the article he uses the phrase “sales cure all” when discussing his first business venture. His assertion led me to wonder … do sales really cure all?
No matter what issues a business may have, do high sales numbers cure any inherent problems?
Do Sales Really Cure All? If So, How Can We Sell More?
Sales can go a very long way in building company morale, not to mention the mere fact that sales keep the lights on and the paychecks plentiful.
My background is in property development, where renovating a house or a block of units is a very strategic and well thought out process; so is the art of selling a product, especially one that has never been seen or heard of before.
In contrast, during the beta stage of Productify (my software company), going out and meeting influential business owners in various industries was core to the success of getting our first few clients. The daily basis of our sales campaign was first-hand industry knowledge. We needed to know the pain points our customers suffered on a daily basis, as well as what our potential customers would require to solve these issues.
Once all of the information was gathered, it was an easier sell. This is because our clients were impressed that their comments had been communicated thus, the element of trust was born.
We learned to never dismiss any information given to us, no matter how irrelevant it seemed at the time. For example, often, a customer would talk about issues they were experiencing in a separate facet of their business. By the end of the meeting we would be discussing the potential fix to their problem using Productify’s technology.
Build Relationships that Lead to More Sales
In a startup, everyone strives for more sales. Increased sales doesn’t just mean that your company is making money, it means that your product works. If you can get your company to a stage where you have credit card details on file, you are that much closer to getting an investor – and hopefully without losing a chunk of equity at the same time.
But how can you develop relationships that indirectly build sales momentum? Here are my top ten tips in dealing with potential clients to close your next deal.
- Know your product or service and it’s market potential.
- Be confident when meeting with clients, and always look professional. A suit and tie is not required but when you look good, you feel good.
- Be persistent, but not annoying when you set up the initial sales meeting.
- Listen and take notes. This applies no matter how irrelevant you think the discussion may be at the time.
- Ask as many questions as possible. Generally you only get one chance to meet a prospective client before they expect to see a working product (or service) the second time.
- Be patient. Prospective clients always take longer to engage than you anticipate.
- Always keep an open mind. Never discount any ideas or thoughts given to you.
- Trust your offering and the reason you created it. It may not be for everyone, but you developed it for a reason – stay true to that.
- Stay positive! It is very easy for a potential client to want to stay with the processes they currently use and not see the advantage of your business.
- Always under promise and over deliver. There is nothing worse than promising a deadline and not being able to meet it.
Dean Steingold is the co-founder of Productify, a Sydney-based software company which allows brands to easily manage and share their product information with suppliers in a real-time secure environment. Productify was founded from the pain point of sharing product information between suppliers and their retailers. Although Steingold grew up in Sydney, he recently returned from a two-year stint in San Francisco where he is a co-founder of a real estate foreclosure company which recently turned over its 40th property in the Bay area.
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