It might sound impossible to compete with strong brands in sales for a beginner. Customers prefer to buy from well-known companies with proven credibility. In these conditions no matter how loud you shout and how ingeniously you pitch about your product – it’s hard to get heard.
However, there is always a way to break through.
In fact, sales aren’t that complicated. Everything is extremely logical here.
To perform sales one basically needs 3 things:
1) what to sell → quality product/service/solution/idea that somebody needs (or might need)
2) whom to sell → potential buyers that need or might need your product
3) how to sell → way/place to reach potential buyer (phone, lap-top and relevant contact details are perfectly enough these days).
Though nowadays we tend to overcomplicate things.
We mix sales with marketing, branding and advertising, thinking that one is impossible without the other. And when there’s a trouble with sales, we have an excuse – bad or no marketing strategy, no money for branding etc.
I prefer to keep sales separated from marketing, branding and advertising (check other sales strategies). At least in my mind. This simplifies the analysis process when problems occur. Keep the three pillars of sales in mind (what/whom/how). You sure everything works properly there? Like:
Do you have your solution validated and sure there are people who need and want to buy it?
Have you defined your target clients correctly?
Does the way you try to reach them work?
and so on…
If everything is fine with that, but sales suck anyways – the fair question is
wtf? why? And you can start thinking…
Maybe salespeople underperform?
It’s typical to blame salespeople for all deadly sins.
If a problem really lies there – it’s actually great. It’s rather pinpoint and relatively easy to solve: train them or hire new.
But what if the problem lies deeper? Sales scapegoating will definitely lead you nowhere.
What if people don’t know or don’t trust a company?
Lack of recognition and trust is a common problem for young companies. One needs time and money to gain that.
In the beginning, when resources are limited, business needs to prioritize what things to focus on. And logically a solution and a business process around it go first.
When a company can provide the value it promises and a business process works without major bugs – it’s time to focus on developing its marketing, branding, advertising strategies and other stuff that can boost your sales.
But for building a good solution and an effective business process you need early adopters, and feedback, and cash, and a lot of practice… In other words – you need to start selling early-on (read more about why early sales are important for your business).
And here you have a situation that nobody buys from you since you don’t have strong reputation yet…
Vicious circle, you might think?
No panic – there are many things you can do about it. Even without gargantuan spendings on marketing, branding, advertising and all this stuff.
Direct selling is the key
Convincing a crowd is hard, expensive, time consuming and sometimes pointless. Approaching every person from that crowd individually, even though it might look painstaking, is more effective. The things is – it’s easier to keep attention, be persuasive and build trustworthy atmosphere tet-a-tet.
This is why direct selling can rub potential clients’ eyes when they’re blinded by stronger brands on the market. With direct selling you approach every contact personally, start building trust and special connection with them step by step.
But how to break into direct conversations with your potential clients?
Stalking on them, catching at public places/networking events, crashing into their office directly sounds like fun, but can be illegal… and creepy.
Direct selling should be smart, organic and not annoying. Start from asking people from your network to introduce you to somebody they know, or provide you with referrals/recommendations.
If you want to approach as many potential clients as possible – you can do it simply by emailing them. This is so called cold emailing (technique that substituted cold calling).
With cold emailing you approach exactly the ones you see as your clients with short and sweet messages focusing on providing a value for them. To make your offer valuable you should learn what are your potential clients’ needs, goals, wishes and how your solution can help with that. Like this but 1000 times better:
Sounds like shitload of work to find proper contacts, learn their needs and then send out hundreds or thousands personally crafted messages?
It’s indeed… if not optimized. Thanks god we live an era of of IT and AI
Software under human control can do miracles. This is something we are experimenting with at RightHello.
We’ve hacked direct selling by:
a) using the app that finds best matching potential customers, and
b) optimizing the process of sending personalized email.
This way users just need to set criteria, pick a target and our system + team ensure a flow of new customers dropping straight into their inboxes.
Among advantages of cold emailing: stability and predictability of the leads flow, low costs comparing to high ROI, time saving. Minuses – your sales will grow so fast, you won’t be able to catch up. Sounds unbelievable? Check how one of our partners reached 4000% lead generation ROI from one cold emailing campaign. You can read in more details how cold emailing works here.
Build company’s reputation online
One thing you should do for successful direct selling is good looking web-presence.
Ever tried knocking on the stranger’s door. The first things you’d hear: “Hello! WHO ARE YOU?” Sending an email to a stranger isn’t much different. In virtual world people google those who “knocked on” their inbox.
Small tricks can help making nice first impression online:
it should be easy to find online information about the company and key people behind it
this information should be adequate, persuasive and honest
the company’s website should be up and running properly. Take care about appealing design and user-friendly interface too
professional social media profiles should be filled in with relevant experience, achievements and recommendations
personal social media profiles of founders… well… should look decent at least
Next level – show you are an expert in your field
Go further and show people who’ll Google your company that you’re a whizbanger. Customers’ testimonials, case studies and success stories are the must for that.
Next step – start sharing your knowledge and expertise by writing super smart quality content, being active on professional platforms, answering questions on Quora, Reddit and so on.
To sum up:
Never listen to voices in your head repeating “your business is young and green… you cannot succeed in sales… there are strong brands you cannot compete with… blah-blah-blah”. There is always a way to get to your customers saying: “Hey, my company might be young and green, but our solution is f*cking awesome and you’ll love it!” Direct selling, cold emailing, minimum online reputation can help you with that.