“You can create a business, choose a name, but unless people know about it you’re not going to sell any products.”—Richard Branson
The above quote from one of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs, Richard Branson, sums up a key question in selling—has your product touched base with customers?
While both big and small companies need to sell, selling for start-ups could be relatively more challenging, especially at the early stage.
Indeed, anything that you would be doing as a start-up entrepreneur is selling, a lot of selling.
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So, even as you rejoice over all the hard work that went behind shaping up your product, it would be good to set a few things right as you set out on your selling voyage as an entrepreneur.
Selling for Start-ups: Where to begin from
The important link: Clients
Open any good business book, and you will see sales strategies that work best.
But you should not lose focus of the fact that a good selling exercise is more human than purely strategic.
Hence, as you start on your entrepreneurial march, you could be sharing your business plan/idea with your family, co-founders, board of advisors, investors.
But the most important link on your sell thread, undeniably, is your clients— the customers. Your customers decide the progress of your business idea—be it service or product.
How to strengthen your bond with clients/customers: Two key points
Share your vision with them: It’s important that you stay close to your customers. You can put across your vision of a product or a service to a unique set of clients in your initial days of entrepreneurial journey.Share your vision– about how your product/service can solve a particular problem that might have been affecting productivity at your client’s end.Let the customer do the talking and you take on the listener’s role for a better understanding of what they are looking for in a product or idea. Tell them what you want to know, not what you know.
Listen to them: Customers need to be heard. It’s important to gain insight into the problems your customers could be facing in the use of your product or service.You will be required to give your valuable time listening to them, especially if you are selling to a large institution.Also, staying close to your customers gives you a good picture of what the market is, and where your product stands.Your customers might just look at just their immediate problems in the event of changing market conditions. But it’s good to adopt that need to your plan, if required.
Is your price strategy oriented to your clients’ comfort?
Three points could be critical to laying out an effective pricing strategy:
Basing it on your cost base, target, growth etc.
What you think is its worth to your customers. Are you helping them save money, or they could have opted for your competitors’ product? You can let your customers test your product/service and then arrive at a decision.
Ask your client what they are willing to pay after they have realized its value.
All said, it’s good to keep in mind, though, that sale and cash flow are not the same thing. Sometimes your product could take a long time to strike a chord with customers.
More so, if you are targeting large institutions, in a business-to-business model.
Summing it Up
As they say, the heart matters the most. Hence, with honesty and sincerity you could be halfway through selling. You will be remembered for all the efforts that you made in your initial days as you make your way, steadily and patiently, through the maze of the corporate regimen.
This article is written by Sudeshna B Baruah based on a webinar by Kunal Nandwani CEO u-Trade Solutions. You can view a recorded copy of the session here.