New businesses have it tough. Getting that first sale can be a nightmare, and the clock is ticking.
There are ways to stack the odds in your favour though. With a careful, consistent approach, you can find that first sale online within a matter of days. It’s entirely possible. Try these pointers out and you should be able to grab that first sale soon enough.
For that first sale, don’t rely on a salesperson
I’ve been there, and it doesn’t work. In fact, putting that initial sale to one side for a moment, if you are a small business, salespeople that are hired from outside are rarely successful. I remember being given two ‘leads’ that essentially turned into two pointless conversations that brought zero business. Salespeople, unless they know your business inside out, are rarely able to convey the passion required to sell your product or service. When you’re a large business and have the budget to train, it works. When you’re just starting out, it’s just another expense. Do your own selling. You love what you do, so get that across.
Sell on the phone. And keep selling
Some small business owners have a problem with selling on the phone. They think it’s intrusive to get on the phone and call people up. But it’s often the only way to get that first sale. It’s great if you’re starting out, because you are researching your market, and getting to know people. Nine times out of ten, it’s not that big a deal anyway. People who get angry when you cold call are usually busy and having a difficult day. It’s never personal.
The one thing you must do is sell. Get on that phone and sell a lot. Block out a certain number of hours in the day to devote to selling. And then get on that phone with no distractions. If you stuck to two hours a day for a week, that’s ten hours of selling that has taken place. Sorry to point out the obvious folks, but the law of averages pretty much states that this will, eventually, bring you that first sale through sheer persistence.
It’s worth persisting. The average salesperson makes just two attempts with a prospect (source: Hubspot), which means that if you call a company three times, you’re already above average.
Research your market
This is not about quick online surveys. Find out who your best customers are most likely to be and start approaching them. Not with a sales call though.
While you’re selling like a maniac on the phone, take the time to make a list of people who you know should be using your product or service and aren’t (yet). And then create a few questions for them. Then write an actual questionnaire.
Ask for a quick meeting with these people. You’re not selling. Make that clear. Tell them you’re simply researching the market and would really appreciate their feedback. Meet them for coffee or just visit their office for ten minutes. By asking questions that are based around what they want from a product like yours, or what would stop them from buying, you’re refining your sales process. You will learn more about your own offering, and how to make the selling easier.
Try the three ideas above and give particular focus to hammering that phone. If you give it your all, you’ll make that first sale within days.