LLet’s face it. Sooner or later you are going to have to start selling, but first you have to learn to handle rejection. After all, every "no" takes you one step closer to "yes". And you will have to pluck up the courage to ask for the sale in the first place.
B2B Sales for new ventures
If you want a successful business you had best face up to the fact that you will have to sell. Don't worry. Sales is a time-honoured tradition. And it’s well known as a skill that can be learnt. To get you in the right frame of mind we have put together some handy introductory guidance.
Tip 1. Rule out the time wasters.
If you want to crack the sales nut you will need to focus your energies where they stand the best chance of success. Forget the nice guy who makes interesting conversation. Exert your sales efforts pursuing those who show the most interest in your product or service.
Tip 2. Put some process behind your activity.
Don’t enter the sale waters unless you are properly kitted out and know how you are going to reach your target. Build an Excel database of prospects, or if you’ve got the money invest in a CRM. Whatever you do, keep your list of sales prospects up to date and find a way of noting the likelihood of conversion for each lead. Once you've identified the most likely prospects make sure you put the most effort into progressing those leads.
Tip 3. Always be prospecting
People talk about a sales fsunnel. Make sure yours has plenty going into it and quickly eliminate the time wasters. Set aside time every day for prospecting new B2B sales clients. Be tenacious and keep going back to prospects, use your judgement to tread the fine line between being persistent and annoying. The ideal is to keep reminding propspects of your existence so that when they have a need for your product you will be the first person they call.
Tip 4. Remember that no doesn’t always have to mean no
Many buyers will wait to see if you have staying power before choosing to buy from you. It makes sense to see customers who haven’t bought from you as customers who haven’t bought yet. Find a way of connecting with them on a regular basis if only to let them know that you are still on the playing field.
Tip 5. Do your homework
Don’t just cast about for clients willy-nilly. Spend time researching and segmenting your market so that you can hone in on the most profitable segments. Understand their buying patterns and the drivers that influence their decision making process.
Tip 6. Focus on building reputation and relationships
The higher the value of your product or service the more trust you will need to establish before you get the sale. Work on building credibility. Give advice freely on subjects where you are the expert.
Tip 7. Listen
Talk less and listen more, ask gentle probing question and focus on determining what the real challenges, needs and obstacles are for your customer. People are complex and so are their buying habits, so invest time in understanding them. Ask open-ended questions that will bring you ever closer to that sale.
Tip 8. Sales 101 for startups
Contrary to popular belief sales is a science. A science best executed if you build a process about it. Spend time developing your sales methodology and processes to support them and then implement. Listen to feedback from prospects, especially those that turn you down and then improve your sales approach to reflect their input. In this way your sales will ramp up over time as you improve and refine your approach. Getting serious sales for your start up will take serious perserverance.
Oh and remember to ask for that sale!