One of the main misconceptions about sales is to push your potential buyers toward committing to do business with you as a startup. Not in 2020!!
I have seen many startup founders who are falling into this trap. As majority of founders and co founders are coming from engineering background, like myself, we used to believe that as a sales manager, you need to be pushy and have an aggressive behavior towards hitting your targets and goals.
The myth says, for you to be a great sales man or sales woman or even to be a great sales leader, you must have great talking skills, you must be pushy and be able to sell ice to an Eskimo. You must be able to persuade people from zero interest into your product or service to an absolute happy buyer.
As a technology founder, all these myths eventually become a story that you tell yourself over and over again and finally it become a self limiting belief.
Many startups fail because the founder is not engaging in the sales process in early days of their startups. And guess what happens?
As the startup is in ideation and MVP (Minimum Viable Product) stage, it is crucial for founders to look for customers and early adopters. Because founders are normally passionate and excited about their idea and service, they are naturally the best people to sell their vision to potential buyers as well.
You simply cannot transfer that to a sales rep who still have no image of product market fit within your startup space. You must do this yourself.
You, as a tech founder, must put yourself out there and present your vision, and later down the road your services to your potential buyers and do the actual sales as well.
There are two key components when it comes to be successful at selling that you need to master.
Forget about all the myths out there about successful sales people characters and mindsets. What you are hearing online and in social media is just noise. The core of being a successful salesman or saleswoman is to build trust. that's it. You need to connect to your potential buyers in both logical and emotional level when you interact with them. Listen to them and do not talk about yourself and how great is going to be your startup. Be humble. Listen carefully to your customers pain and empathy with them.
In every 1 hour meeting, your customer should talk about 45 minutes. You should talk no more than 15 minutes. This is a good portion when it comes to sales meetings. Do not fall into the trap of talking = persuasion. It is not.
As you talk more in your sales meeting, you tend to listen less to your customers and you are illustrating this mental picture that you do not care about them. You only care about yourself. This is the beginning of downfall of many startups.
Number one principle in sales is to listen actively to your customers and acknowledge their pain.
When it comes to taking your idea to the next level and making sure that people pays for it, is the education mindset. Do not go to sales meetings to sell! People will see through it.
Go there to educate people. Educate them on the problems and pain points they have. Talk about other startups and how you helped them to solve this issue. Give them case studies or bring stories from your other jobs on how you solved similar problem.
There is always more to educate. Education is not finishing by creating few YouTube videos and a whitepaper. It is an ongoing practice from day one to the day you exit your startup.
Use all the channels that your target market are using on a day to day basis. Social media, videos, podcast, blog, influencers and so on.
Hope this make sense for you as a founder and you don't get yourself in a self limiting belief that you are not a sales person. We all are!