Lesson 3: Tips for the Sales Journey

Tips for the Sales Journey

Now that you know how important it is to track your sales metrics, let’s look at four important tips to remember when embarking on the sales journey as a startup.

1. Prioritize your sales conversations

Decide early on who you are going to try to do business with, and who you do not want to do business with. By now, you should have defined the pain or gain your product or service is addressing so that you can hone in on those individuals that you do want to sell to.

2. Learn about your buyer’s journey

Once again, everything goes back to looking through the eyes of your customer and understanding their point of view. Listen to what they have to say (good or bad), and develop your business and sales process from that.

3. Never declare yourself the Uber of anything

Understand how your business differentiates itself from others in the marketplace. What makes you the expert in solving a specific pain or adding to a specific gain? Calling yourself the “Uber of X” might tell prospective customer what your product or service does, but it doesn’t explain why they need it over something else. Make sure your USP (unique selling proposition) is clear!

4. Define the sales hypothesis, not the sales process

Try not to overthink and overwork your sales process early on. Rather focus on your sales hypothesis (what you think it will take to get to the final stage) and then act on it. Use friends and family as your first customers, and test your hypothesis with them. Once you’ve either proven or disproven your hypothesis, you can start focusing a bit more on the details around your sales process.

Why is this important? The opportunity cost of focusing too much on a detailed and “perfect” sales process early on in your business is just too high. Being an entrepreneur means constantly moving forward, learning at every possible moment, and refining as you go.

Slimey Sales

We’ve all heard the jokes about dodgy sales people or had a chance encounter with an ever-so slightly desperate salesperson who just made your skin crawl. Sales and sales people definitely have a bad reputation, but it doesn’t have to be this way.

Dan Pink, author of To Sell is Human, stresses that selling should be about “moving people” to behave or think differently. It should also be viewed as a collaborative and mutually beneficial process directed at finding a fit between need and offer.

Think about it; we all play the role of a sales person in some shape or form. Pink gives the example of a doctor who “sells” the idea to patients that they need to adopt healthier lifestyles. Teachers “sell” the idea that students need to listen, learn, and participate in class to further themselves in life. The idea of an aggressive, pushy and disingenuous sales person needs to be eradicated and replaced with problem-clarifier and problem-solver relationships.

As an entrepreneur, much of your time is going to be spent selling and, whether you feel comfortable with it or not, “moving others” to see the benefit in your solution. With this in mind, you need to review some specific sales techniques and get into the right frame of mind!

Before embarking on your sales pitch, take some time to reflect on the below points:

  • Ask yourself: When I think of myself as a sales person, what words come to mind? Are these words positive or negative?
    If the words are positive, great! If they are negative, decide what you might say to yourself that’s more nurturing, encouraging and hopeful. Make this your mantra!
  • Think back to what we learned in Module 1 about fixed and growth mindsets and how we can move ourselves from a sometimes negative and fixed mindset to one that’s more optimistic and reaffirming. Instead of “I suck”, try, “Not everyone will want what I have to sell, and that’s okay. I have a wonderful product/service, and I’m doing my best to get it out there.”
  • Take your mantra and remind yourself of how far you have come on your entrepreneurial journey. Repeat your mantra when you feel disheartened and need a bit of a pep-talk.

Selling is not easy, but if you start viewing it as a conversation and approach it with an open and growth-oriented mindset, the sky really is the limit.

Check out this Ted Talk on what consumers want

Read 3 Differences in Slimy and Successful sales people.

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