When an entrepreneur makes a sales call to a potential investor, what results can be either the beginning of a company or sometimes the end of one. The goal for the meeting is to persuade the investor that an investment in the entrepreneur’s company is worth the risk. With the amount of money at stake and the meeting’s intended purpose, a successful entrepreneur has to sell with a focus and vision that gets results. Salespeople can learn to apply the entrepreneur’s methods to their sales strategies.
What’s your point? I’ve heard investors say that entrepreneurs should be able to write their concept on the back of a business card. That’s how clear they have to make the idea and how concisely they have to be able to communicate it. When asked about their business, successful entrepreneurs can say in 30 seconds, 2 minutes, or 5 minutes the essence of their business idea. Depending on how much time they have, they’re ready to pitch their idea. They have thoroughly thought through their product, process and business in advance. They are prepared for any presentation format. They can present their idea simply and clearly in various time frames and adapt to all of them.
When you present a new product, a complex idea or a technical product to a customer, have you clearly thought through how you are going to explain your concept to your customer? Would your customer quickly and clearly understand what you are presenting? You may talk to prospects on the telephone. You are doing well if your customers ask specific questions that relate to your product or idea after you have presented the concept. If they are asking for you to explain before they become engaged in the conversation, your message is unclear. You have more preparation to do.
Have you prepared a presentation that could be delivered in 1 minute, 5 minutes or 15 minutes? With busy and unexpected schedules your planned hour meeting can get cut short. If your selling message is part of the last 30 minutes, you’ve just lost your selling opportunity.
Are you using your customers? Entrepreneurs will tell you that customers are the best thing to happen for your business and money is the worst. This is because money doesn’t add value to your business. When customers use your products, they provide feedback on whether your product is as good as you think it is. As daily users of your products and services, they see things that you haven’t. They will also see your product or service from a perspective that is different than yours. They can recognize the need for new and different applications. Those applications could lead you to new and different customers.
Too often when salespeople find new customers, they are quickly off to look for the next new customer. Your customers are a source of value to you when they provide feedback about how they have used your product or service; how and whether it meets their needs; and what new products they are looking for. If you are moving on to the next new customer before you learn from your existing customer, you are missing the opportunity to extract value from your existing customers.
Entrepreneurs and other sales professionals face many of the same selling challenges. Entrepreneurs’ strategies help them achieve their business objectives. Selling like an entrepreneur could be the beginning of many new sources of business for you.