What fundamental sales principles entrepreneurs must understand?

Creating urgency is an art.

Most founders are great “middlers”. They are great at explaining not just what the product does, but what it can do to solve your problems. No one is better than a founder at this.

And then … the deal often never quite closes. The prospect got interested, took the call and the meeting, but … didn’t ask for a contract. Or sign up herself.

What a great sales pro will learn is how the heck to add thoughtful urgency to a sales process. When really, almost any SaaS purchase can be put off a month or two.

It’s not easy. But the tricks include:

  • Discounting. Easy to do wrong, but done right, creates urgency. Done wrong, it just devalues the product and/or leaves you with less revenue than you’d otherwise have.
  • Asking. If you don’t ask, you don’t get.
  • Asking — After Having Provided a Ton of Value. If you have helped your prospect plan, upgrade and even pilot an important and valuable change to their business process, they you have added value. Ask for a favor back after (“Can we get it signed this month? It would help me a lot.”). It often works.
  • Getting Used to No. Sales is hard. You get a lot of No’s.
  • Talking to More / Other Stakeholders. The person that inbounds is often not the only stakeholder in a buying decision. The more you talk to, the higher the chance the deal has to close, usually.
  • Constant Follow-Up — without crossing the line of being annoying. Great sales reps know to touch base as often as possible once a deal is in flight. But not so often to break the deal. This is an art. And founders aren’t very good at it. One key is to keep adding value during each touchpoint.
  • Knowing The Competition Cold. The better you know the competition’s products, the better you can clearly show a prospect where you win. And be honest about where you merely have parity, or even gaps.
  • Getting on a Jet. Showing up in person always increases the odds a deal closes.

Most founders sort of get a B- at demand gen. Somehow, they create interest and leads. Then they are an A/A+ at the middle of the sales process (demos, qualification). Then a C- at closing.

You need help. You need a dedicated professional. But — only someone better than you at this. For real.

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Published on August 7, 2019

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