Selling Skills for Startups

Why Selling Skills for Startups is  a critical skill  especially for Solopreneurs ?

Understanding psychology of customers is critical and also why they buy your product and what price they are willing to pay.This skill can be acquired only by practicing and not just from textbooks.

 Selling Skills for Startups- Experiential Learning

"Working at the stores helped me understand how much money people were willing to spend," . "I started to learn the psychology of people who buy my product."-Suzanne Somersall Allis-KiraKira

 Off hand, can you think of the most critical skill a startup entrepreneur should have, to succeed?

Selling Skills for Startups- A Case Study

Joe, a  20 something, who is graduating from college had this query.He does not want to be an employee.He wanted to be of his own in 2-3 years time. I asked him ,’Can you sell ice to an Eskimo?’

Selling Skills for Startups-Entrepreneur- Skill Sets

The entrepreneur has to be a 10 headed avatar.Each avatar having a particular skill.

  1. Leadership
  2. Marketing – Selling
  3. Convincing - Negotiating
  4. Passion
  5. Persistence
  6. Networking Skills
  7. Creativity/ Innovation
  8. Listening
  9. Analytical
  10. Facing adverse situation( failure)

Selling Skills for Startups - Necessity

The startup entrepreneur has to take on multiple roles, as most of the businesses are run by a single individual.  Will one individual have all the above skills?

In the initial stages, selling is the most critical skill needed.

“Focus on sales. You can’t have business unless somebody buys something from you”-Tim Conely

 Lack of selling skills has been identified as one of the roadblocks for the business to succeed even when the product/ service is innovative and has a growing market.

Selling Skills for Startups-  Why ?

 SELLING – is what, as a  startup entrepreneur,you need to focus on-when you talk to customers; while telemarketing;or when personally targeting corporations.When you are networking, you are not just making contacts — you are selling yourself.  When you talk to your investors you are not only selling your concept  but also yourself.

For all that you learn about marketing, they don't teach you about effective sales. Nobody teaches the process from prospecting to suspecting, to lead development and nurturing, to closing the sale”. ---Jon ClineRokit SEO

Image Courtesy: Master Isolated images

Quite a few have a natural aptitude for selling. It seems to be in their DNA.  Whereas for most, it is trial and error.  Many entrepreneurs have worked for somebody else in the beginning to learn the ropes and then started off on their own.

Joe had this dilemma when he approached me. He was interested in setting up a business in about two years’ time and wanted to know how and where he can pick up selling skills.

 It is something like-To learn to  swim you have to get into water. You cannot swim just by  attending theory classes.

I suggested to Joe that  he should work with a startup who cannot afford a full time sales or marketing person. The only way Joe can learn the skill is by working in the field. 

Hitting the street

A start up entrepreneur had launched a state of the art security Camera. He, being a technical person with experience in technology and operations, looked after the manufacturing and also was tapping his network for selling. The entrepreneur is planning to launch another business. He was therefore looking for a sales person on a commission basis for marketing  the security camera.

I introduced Joe to this entrepreneur The owner employed him and trained him for a week. 

Moments of Truth

Joe had  mixed success in achieving sales. He felt embarrassed when some of the customers asked technical questions which he could not answer. The customers were skeptical of the product features.

Joe for the first time could relate to the concept “Moments of Truth” which he learnt in the marketing class. Every interaction with the customer was a learning experience.

Rewards for Joe

Joe learnt the art of convincing and has also developed listening skills. He achieved sales target successfully over a six month period. The owner was impressed and has offered partnership in business. He has pledged to support him to achieve his goal of becoming an entrepreneur

Selling skills for Startups- Recommended Book

How I Raised Myself From Failure to Success in Selling - Bettger 

 Review By Ravish Gupta 

It’s a great book, if all the principles advocated in the book are implemented in right earnest it would lead to fabulous results, the issue remains, we can’t become a great swimmer by reading book on how to swim, lest we practice. But whatever said in the book 100 years back it still relevant in today’s world for a professional sales person,

Selling Skills for Startups-Nuggets