Start-ups face a huge number of hurdles, but biggest is how to sell their products from the get go. Whether you’re at the pencil and paper stage or have already leased a unit in the Dubai Mall, it’s never too late (or early) to get your sales plan in place.
Have a target
Your sales should be integral to your business plan. How much stock, or how many hours of time, do you need to sell to make your business profitable. Working off that you’ll have a more realistic idea of the sales task ahead of you, than from just guessing.
Know your customers
You might not have any customers right now, but you need them, and plenty of them to make your business succeed. So figure out what type of person is going to be interested in what you’re selling. Are they young, middle aged, older? Do they have a high disposable income, or are they looking for products that will last. Are you selling to small businesses with tight budgets, or international corporations who naturally distrust new companies?
By establishing your target market, you can build a profile of who they are, where they’re based and how to approach them.
Everyone responds differently to a sales approach, and you have to adjust your style to suit your market.
A start up sales person has a steep climb to the top of a big corporate but if you’ve worked hard enough to secure a meeting, being creative and respectful in your approach will ensure you’re more likely to be remembered. Practice your presentation and make sure your product looks as good as it possibly can. One entrepreneur turned up at a big supermarket with his product beautifully wrapped for the prospective customer to enjoy opening – the effort and the solid quality of the product was appreciated and the supermarket rolled it out across all their stores.
Selling a less tactile product like a service is more difficult as the customer can’t touch it. However, great design and an easy to grasp outline of features can be a real winner.
If you’re selling from a shop, make sure it looks enticing. People will always try a new shop if it looks great. A tatty frontage, poorly laid out store is a major turn-off. If you can afford to employ a shop designer, do. They’re skills and knowledge will increase your turnover and profits.
Don’t be afraid to ask
The ‘Ask’ in sales can be a real hurdle for start-up businesses. You may have a great idea but asking people to buy into your dream can be daunting. But you have to get over that fear. Without asking people outright to buy your product, your business is going to fail.
Your sales people are incredibly important to the success of the business, so it makes sense to hire the best you can find. Do a full check on people, talk to their previous employers to ensure their boasts of big sales are true.
Go on a course
If your budget is too tight to hire in talent, and you’ve not got any experience yourself, invest in a sales course. As a start-up, you can’t afford to step into a sales meeting with your perfect client without the sales tools to cope with the situation.