Let’s meet our investor! – I remember Comperio.co co-founder’s excitement. There was an event called Venture Day. We thought that we will go there, rock the stage, get the fame, and we will be rich. All of that happened except for the last part. We didn’t get rich after the meeting. We didn’t see the money either.
We realized that talking to investors and startups doesn’t make sense, because they are not our target group.
So I started thinking: What can we improve on to make more sales? What kind of activities do we need to implement in our routines?
Sales at Google vs. Sales at a Random Company
I used to work for Google and it was nice. I was responsible for support and sales. To be honest, it’s easy to sell at Google. Everyone knows your brand. And people either like you or hate you but they will definitely buy from you, because you are such a big player. You don’t need to be proactive and try hard to persuade people.
On the other hand, when you are a startup no one knows you. You basically need to build Awareness, Interest, create Desire and encourage people to take Action. In each of these steps, you need to be creative and persuasive to make a foreign person your loyal customer.
People hate it when someone sells them something. They would feel uncomfortable. But they love it when someone helps them buy what they need. Do you get the difference?
B2B Challenges – The Process
It’s easier to sell products than services. Let me give you an example. Right now, I am responsible for selling Conventica – the event management tool as well as for selling IT services at DeSmart.
What do I do to gain new clients?
- It’s quite a narrow group so I look for people that are potential buyers: event organizers, event managers, etc.
- I make a list of 100 records – people who can buy my products (via LinkedIn, Twitter, some organizations and associations)
- I create dedicated content such as SlideShare presentation about the Advantages of Using Mobile Apps during the conference and I send it to them as an invitation to initiate further conversation.
- Then this results to 2 scenarios: They either ignore my message or they say “thank you” and ask me what do I do for living.
- Stubborn as I am, I need to get one of these answers: yes, no, maybe so. Then I would call them and nicely verify, whether they have used some online tools for managing events or not and whether they want to change that.
- If they are interested in the product, we’d then set up a call where I would usually ask them what their needs are and then I would only underline the features they need in my app.
- DONE. They end up either buying it or negotiating the price and buy it anyway.
OK, but what if they don’t want to talk with me? How can I reach the client that isn’t on my friendship zone list?
Well, you need to build awareness and start being visible. There is a great book by G. Vaynerchuk called “Jab, Jab, and Right Hook”.The main idea of the book is that you need to give potential foreign clients as much as possible (eBooks, presentations, great articles) to show them you care and make them love you. If they do, you can be sure they will buy what you have to offer. First relationship, then sales.
At my previous company Divante, we created a lot of presentations on SlideShare. It gave us enormous visibility and I was able to talk to the eBay Marketing VP or Gucci Marketing Director. They found my presentations interesting and downloaded them.
See some stats:
5 Steps to Create Some New External Leads
- Create stunning content (interesting for your audience – just ask them what would they like to read or what worries them)
- Distribute the content in places where your target groups spend most of their time (groups, forums etc.)
- Ask influencers to share your content (reach top 5-6 people who are gurus in the industry and show them what you have prepared. If the content is really good then they will share it)
- Measure results – (with tools like Brand24) – see who is sharing and discussing your article. Contact leads and start talking with them (conversation, not sales).
- When you will start to see the results try to adapt your solution to his or hers needs or simply ask for recommendation and introduction to other potential buyers.
How to sell more?
There are many ways to reach the goal. You need to create your own sales laboratory. Every product or service is different and should be based on different values that your potential clients find attractive.
At each stage (Opening, Talking, Negotiating, Closing), you can try a new approach. Small changes will help you find the right way. They will bring you the best results and make your whole process effective. Then you just need to scale it and use it as a part of your daily routine.
Generating leads, the very first step to begin the whole process, is very often the most difficult part. If you really don’t feel like you can do it, there are many ways to handle this issue. You can outsource generating leads for companies like RightHello. In their case, conversion (number of people who replied to the email) was 20%.
Remember one thing: Don’t be an annoying asshole.
Just talk to people, discover their needs, and advise them. Show them how your product or service might solve their problems. They always have a reason to buy something. You need to discover what it is and then make sure that you are the answer to this reason.
Be patient and stubborn
Sales are about being patient and focused. You will waste a lot of time, but you can’t give up. Sometimes you only get sales until the 5th or 6th client call. So you have to make sure you won’t miss your chance. One of the biggest problems I see among young people is that they are very excited in the beginning and then they lose their motivation as time passes by.
Believe me, if you are stubborn and goal orientated, you will sell a lot.
Make buyers and your boss or company happy + you will get thousands of valuable contacts. We are all just people and sales is about connecting with people and exchanging something for money. It’s that simple. If you sell with clear intention you will make new friends and have new opportunities.
What other effective ways have you done to spike up your sales? Share your thoughts with us!
Damien worked for: Coca Cola, Reuters, Kainos, Google and now Divante – e-commerce solution for advanced merchants. Traveling, sailing, developing himself and watching other people creating good stuff for humanity is what he enjoys. He loves to read books, discoverer. Watch TED and share inspiring Ideas.