Darren Marble is the CEO of CrowdfundX tech startup. He explains how you can create something from nothing. Ask the right questions and persevere to achieve your goals.
In my earlier years of my career, I was a partner in Oracle that was purchased by an East Coast technology services company. After the announcement, an executive from the company explained how the firm would be integrated into its parent company.
He introduced himself to our team and made an unmistakable statement that I will never forget: “From now on, you’re either in sales or sales support.”
The human resources and accounting people were confused. The executive began to talk and it became clear. “Sales drive every business, even this one. I am here to assist you in determining how to best support our sales team, either directly or indirectly.
This meant that the accounting team could produce more detailed commission reports, since salespeople use this data. This meant that HR could use recruiting software to identify potential employees and help them find new deals.
Sales are more than the lifeblood of any business. Being a successful entrepreneur requires the ability to sell.
No matter if you’re trying to find your first client, or a strategic investor; your sales skills will often determine whether or not you succeed.
These strategies aren’t taught in college, and they will help you to ensure your sales success.
Although everyone loves to meet in person, some of my biggest deals in my career came from emails or phone calls. To build and grow your business, you need to be able to create something new.
Personalizing your communications with people you don’t know is key. It is important to personalize the subject line and first paragraph of your email. The hard truth is that nobody cares about your company or product. People care only about themselves.
This simple truth will help you achieve more.
Spend some time researching the person. Any personal information that can help you personalize your email will prove invaluable. It is usually simple to find the name, title, and company of a person’s employer. The content that you post on LinkedIn, or the quotes you give in an interview are all very personal. Don’t forget to praise the person you are praising in your first paragraph.
You will be able to distinguish yourself from the 99% of people who are trying to get your attention by proving that you know the details about the person you want to do business.
Keep in touch. You should contact them again after you have sent your first email. I typically have to contact them 6-8 times before they respond to my email. It’s worth it when you are dealing with a billionaire investor.
Selling is all about asking the right questions. This is what successful entrepreneurs know. I ask a series of pointed questions to prospects when I talk with them on the phone. I also take notes. I aim to ask around twenty questions and answer the most important questions. Why should you buy my product/service? Why not buy now?
Inexperienced entrepreneurs often launch their product or service without consulting their clients. They are less likely to succeed as the potential client does not know their needs, evaluate criteria, or how they will pay for it. They also run the risk to make bad deals (no budget etc. This is a wasteful use of time and energy.
The smartest question you can ask your prospect is about their decision-making process. Assume you are talking to several vendors. What are their top three criteria for evaluation and how would they prioritize them? This question will help you determine where your focus should be, whether it is referrals, cost or technical capability.
Another important question to ask is: Have you budgeted for this project? Is the money available right now? How do you decide? Who is the signer How long is the decision-making process? How would the success of the project impact your business? Can we close the deal if I can show you that you have the best solution? Do you have any questions that are important?
Potential customers are likely to ask questions about pricing and the process. It is your job to politely stop them, assure them that you will be happy to answer their questions once they have completed their questions.
Asking the right questions will help you get the information you need in order to close the deal. You can reduce sales cycles by tailoring your pitch to each investor or potential customer. This will increase your momentum and help you close more deals.
Entrepreneurs often give up too quickly. This is one of the reasons they fail. Entrepreneurs fail to sell deals and feel defeated by their own self-doubt. They are rejected from all investors they attempt to attract and leave before they receive their first “yes.”
Ironically, when entrepreneurs are most likely to fail completely, it is often when they are at the brink of success. They don’t see it.
Entrepreneurship requires perseverance and endurance. Persistence is the most important quality in sales. It is important to persevere in the face failure and not take rejection personally.
It is possible to reach 50 investors to obtain 10 meetings. If you are lucky, however, an investor will be found. It’s a numbers game. It is even more challenging when inertia starts at the beginning.
It is important to keep going until you achieve your goals. Albert Einstein once stated, “It’s no that I’m smart, it’s that I stick with the problems longer.” It’s okay to take your time.
You are destined for success, but it is not easy.