When starting a business, entrepreneurs are likely to encounter many barriers to success. Discoverability can be difficult, as companies may struggle to find new customers or clients at first. Cultivating an audience can then be an even larger challenge when it involves a new product or service. Customers are sometimes hesitant to spend money on something new.
But these and many other entrepreneurial challenges all relate to actually selling that first product to your first customer and building sales from there—and convincing someone to actually purchase your product isn’t always as straightforward as it sounds. Below, nine experts from Young Entrepreneur Council share the key facts every company founder should know about sales and how that knowledge can lead to greater success down the road.
1. It Isn’t About You
The must-know fact is that you have to make everything about the customer—not your brand. They are buying a transformation and a solution to their problem. Your brand is the delivery of that solution but not the “hero” of the story. Too many times businesses focus all on themselves and not enough on the needs of the customers. Buyers see right through that. They connect with the brands that make them feel seen, heard and known. – Diego Orjuela, Cables & Sensors
2. You Have To Truly Believe In Your Product
Some founders will create a business around a product or idea that they see growth or potential in, but then have no personal attachment or passion for the business. In my space, convincing someone to work with me and join my events is all reliant on my ability to sell the idea to them. I find it a lot easier to convince someone they want something when I am passionate about it. I love yoga, so it’s easy to express my love for it to someone else and get that infectious enthusiasm across. You can hear someone’s passion in their voice, their facial expressions and their body language. Relay that passion to your customers and they’ll be excited too. – Kyle Michaud, Experience Expositions
3. You Have To Make Your Product Stand Out
You can sell the same thing that hundreds of other competitors are selling or that people can buy anywhere, but what makes your brand stand out? Founders get too caught up in reinventing the wheel when their offering and brand need to have defining characteristics that aren’t just attractive, but also make buyers want to come back. Staying focused on what makes the offering and brand unique from competitors and working to naturally adapt and evolve with the market is crucial. By always embodying that ethos when making heavy marketing decisions, creating new products or services or simply reenvisioning your supply, change will be what propels your company ahead of everyone else. – Emily Stallings, Casely, Inc.
4. Selling Means Alleviating Customers’ Fears
The key to selling successfully is overcoming a customer’s fears and reservations. You need to understand your audience’s pain points and then carefully address them via marketing copy and graphics. A few practical things you could do would be to offer a money-back guarantee, provide easy refunds, highlight secure payment practices and more. When audiences see that they risk very little by buying from you, they’re more likely to make a purchase. – Blair Williams, MemberPress
5. You Need To Tell A Story
Storytelling is much better than talking about specific features. It is a great way to captivate your audience, address any form of objection and really make them fall in love with your product or service. Our brains are wired to understand and retain stories, and stories engage more parts of the brain as opposed to just data. Using examples of how you dealt with clients and helped them solve their problems is an efficient way to convey your value proposition and make your service or product come to life. – Saana Azzam, MENA Speakers
6. No One Wants Your Product
It’s that simple. Many founders think they can start a business, put their product on the market, and everyone will come pounding on the doors to buy it. They send out 1,000 email messages to prospects. They spend money on Google and Facebook ads. But no one bites. The reality is that consumers are bombarded with messages and options these days. Founders need to understand that it takes more than a one-off email message or a handful of ads to get people interested in a product. Bottom line: set aside a sizable budget for marketing and sales from day one. – Jonathan Prichard, MattressInsider.com
7. Targeting The Right Audience Is Critical
The key to developing a sustainable customer base is to target those who will actually love and use your product. It is more important to develop a loyal following and to find clients who will keep coming back for more than to sell to a wide audience. Getting the product in the hands of consumers is great, but if your energy is wasted spreading your product around widely, chances are you’re spending less energy making sure you’re finding the right consumers for your product. Once you have a devoted and loyal following, it is much easier to scale up. Think about the difference between throwing a bunch of seeds into a field versus planting fewer seeds but taking the time to cultivate the soil, water regularly and make sure the plants get enough sun. I’d bet on the second approach every time. – Ryan D Matzner, Fueled
8. Relationships Are More Important Than Transactions
One of the most important facts that we can be aware of as founders is that when we focus on the relationship as opposed to the transaction, we will create sustainable growth and our success will be inevitable. If we can shift our perspective out of being in “sales” and into being in the “reorder” business, we will begin to understand that when we build true relationships, the “sale” will be a byproduct. Transactions will sell a product, and relationships will create evangelists who will spread the gospel of your entire brand of present and future products. – Kelly Cardenas, Kelly Cardenas Salon
9. Your Job Doesn’t End At The Sale
When your customer buys from you, there’s a good chance that your relationship with them is just starting. They’ll come back to you for help or if they’re unsatisfied with your offering. You need to have a good customer support team to help your customers, and you need to continue talking with your customers by asking them for feedback and by creating products that they really want. Your customer support plays an important role in selling. There are many people who will willingly pay more because they can rely on good support from a company. In fact, good customer support can help you distinguish yourself and stand out from the competition. So, keep your customers’ needs in mind and focus on support to build sales. – Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner