Besides paying the bills, well organised sales keep you up to date with customer feedback. Don’t lose sight of your sales early-on – how will you know what your clients need if you don’t want to talk to them yourself?
If you’d given me a dime for all the times I heard start-up people say “I don’t want to do sales, it’s not for me” – you guessed it, I would have been rich.
I know doing sales is hard, but I also know that talking to your customers means experiencing live feedback and objections. Which is invaluable for product development.
And yet I still see founders who, right when their companies are about to take off, start avoiding sales themselves – delegating, hiring endless well-paid reps, automating.
That’s not the way to go though if you want your clients to be happy! They miss out on many benefits of doing sales – because generating new clients is only one of them.
You need to hear customer feedback and learn how (and WHY?) they buy your products
Where do you turn to look for the best next step in developing your product:
- your co-founders
- analytical software with hard-to-understand data
- all-knowing monks in a faraway land?
You have to realise that clients are like a live streaming service for valuable product insights. And when you want to get rid of sales, you’re basically disconnecting your wi-fi. And we all know what that’s like…
If you want to become a big part of a market (and understand it better) – you just have to keep talking to your clients. Because sales can be a founders’ daily bread.
And there is no reason you should disconnect from your customers (too busy? Think value/time and delegate less valuable tasks).
I still hear various arguments for not getting involved – founders repeat them over and over (without considering other points of view). I’ll do a breakdown of 3 common ones that just don’t hold up.
Why founders don’t want to do sales
1. You don’t want to learn sales because you think it means forcing people to make decisions in your favor, being shady, poking your nose into their business.
The perception of sales (when it comes to people that don’t have experience) is that salespeople are similar to brokers from the Wolf of Wall Street (NSFW).
It might’ve been true in the 90’s. Right now though, it’s not that it “somehow” changed – you simply can’t be “that guy” anymore. Information is abundant right now. You can’t be dishonest or make unreal promises, because customers can discredit everything you say by poking a smartphone for 2 minutes.
This is the age of consulting salespeople, whose job is mainly to verify whether their product/service will be useful to a prospect – and close deals only if you can add value.
Plus, in B2B you’re not selling another magical vacuum cleaner – B2B products either solve very specific problems, or are amazingly complex all-in-one solutions. Either way – there’s a lot you can say to potential clients without using even 1 salesy argument.
Sure, you still have to be persistent, you still need the ability to “hack” people’s attention and focus it on you. Yet expertise, empathy, and ability to help are becoming more important. And I’m 90% sure you already have the second toolset, but you don’t know how effective it could be in a sales situation.
2. Only people with certain personalities can learn sales.
That’s bullshit and it’s related to the negative image of salespeople so prominent in the media. The best performing sales professionals are often the ones you’d never suspect of it.
Quiet, kind of introverted thinkers. Extroverts make new connections easily, but that’s not so important anymore. Introverts are often more persistent (laser-like focus), they choose their accounts better, and so on (there’s too many advantages to list).
In most cases, your personality can’t hold you back. It’s the other way around – your personality is your biggest advantage, because there is no other “you” in this world (just like there’s no other product like yours).
I’ve gone to great lengths not to write this cliche, but I’ll sacrifice my integrity because I want you to get the point – believe in yourself. There’s no description of a “perfect salesguy” because that guy doesn’t exist.
If you came up with an idea, developed it, and started building a company around it – you’ve got all the tools you need to find and close deals.
3. You think it’s super hard to learn sales.
Some say good salespeople practice and master their craft for years. It’s not exactly true. Some people have a natural ability to sell you just about anything, others can learn this over time – there’s no rule really.
Allright, you won’t be as good as “natural” salespeople when it comes to persistence, money-talk and self-confidence. But you substitute that with your advantages:
- domain expertise
- product knowledge
Which are more important than classic sales skills in today’s world, where you don’t have to pick up the phone at all to do sales – lern how to improve sales performance.
Don’t tell me you’re hopeless at sales
Don’t say you lack skills, are introverted and basically unable to do sales. It’s all in your head. Realize that your personality and knowledge are unique and you don’t need to become a “typical” salesperson to close deals.
Let your background and personality become your most powerful assets in the journey to find your clients. They won’t care if you’re not super-outgoing, confident or funny. This is the age of introverts.
And the power of introverts needs no proving anymore, just like the importance of sales.
So realise your power and get into sales! 🙂