When you take a new idea and turn it into a commercially viable product or service you may feel you have to be an expert at everything. This is a dangerous assumption because the reality is that you may really only have specialised knowledge of the product or service you’re developing and your potential users.
How are you going to package your product? What about your offer? People don’t buy products, they buy solutions to their problems. You have to put together an offer that is different to your competitors and better.
Where will you sell your product? Through what channels? Do you have a marketing plan to support your sales?
If you’ve been in sales, all is well and good. But if you don’t know how to sell, then what? Please, please don’t listen to these lazy excuses for sales people who say they sell by not selling. This is just self-protective rubbish that poor order-taking salespeople use to con themselves that they don’t need any training or justify their absence of professional sales training.
The product or service in your small business will not sell itself. You have to light a rocket under your product or service. If you don’t know how to do it yourself, you may want to think about getting someone else to do it for you. This doesn’t mean you need to hire a salesperson. That may be too costly for a start-up. Rather get someone to sell for you freelance.
But your next problem will be to select someone who knows how to sell and has a track record. People will bluff you that they can sell. That they have contacts when they don’t. That they see big potential in your product. They’re almost as bad as all the underemployed graphics designers out there who call themselves marketing experts and branding consultants.
When you do find the right person, negotiate hard. They will want a “fat” retainer with little or no sales performance. Make sure you politely decline these offers. If someone can sell, they won’t be frightened about working on commission. In fact, the best will grab at the opportunity.
An effective salesperson will free up your time to take care of your business but just make sure you’re not entirely dependent on him or her. Your salesperson should secure new or additional business for you, not sales you plan on getting anyway.
I recently spoke to Tamaryn Brown of Wildfire Consulting who has designed and developed packages to assist small business owners who don’t have their own sales team in place.
You can download the podcast here.
In this podcast you’ll,
- Learn about a new service that acts as a virtual sales function for your small business
- Find out about the biggest challenges small business owners face
- Understand the secret ingredient that draws customers to your business like a magnet
- Get advice on what to do before you start your own business
- Hear about the three biggest challenges that small business owners face in this economy with crushing regulations, an unprecedented crime wave and spiralling costs (no, it’s not these three) and how to tackle them head on without draining your bank account.
- Be startled by an unusual way of looking at the big mistakes small businesses make (it instantly wipes away any tinge of embarrassment you may feel after your biggest muck-ups). You’ll discover how to flaunt your shortcomings rather than trying to cover them up and hang your head in shame.
- Discover how to make your selling a breeze without stepping one foot outside your business. It doesn’t matter whether you are a small food manufacturing business, online outfit in the cloud, dentist, chiropractor, accounting or tax preparation service, business coach, mom-and-pop bed-and-breakfast or self-catering accommodation business.