Entrepreneurs are a special breed – they are risk takers, innovators, and problem solvers. They are often enthusiastic, passionate and willing to stand up for their beliefs. But many entrepreneurs struggle with sales and marketing.
If you’re one of these new entrepreneurs getting ready to launch your company, pay attention to these tips on how to get your sales and marketing done right.
New Entrepreneurs Must Learn To…
Choose Your Customers Wisely
Just like the old saying, “choose your friends wisely,” many entrepreneurs need to be more selective about which customers they accept.
This advice might sound counterintuitive. After all, aren’t we supposed to take as many customers as we can get? Especially for new entrepreneurs, can we really afford to be picky? If you try to be choosy about which customers you accept, won’t that drive customers away and ruin your business?
The truth is, your business is not going to be the right fit for every single customer, so you shouldn’t try to please everyone. Instead of trying to be all things to all people, spend some time figuring out which customers are definitely not the right fit for you. If you can avoid the “wrong” types of customers, you can spend more time and energy pursuing the customers who need (and are happy to pay for) exactly the solution that you offer.
Diversify Your Lead Generation Portfolio
The first rule of investing is “don’t put all your eggs in one basket.” But many entrepreneurs make this mistake by over-investing in certain types of lead generation and marketing activities. If you spend all of your time and energy making cold calls (and none of your time and energy building a decent website and social media presence), you’re going to miss out on opportunities.
The reverse is also true – if you spend all of your time and money creating an elaborate Web presence, but don’t spend any time researching and proactively reaching out to prospective customers, you’re not going to make very many sales.
It’s best to take a balanced approach in marketing. Divide your resources and time investments so that you have a good mix of outbound lead generation (email, sales calls, direct mail, advertising) and inbound lead generation (SEO, website content, social media).
Don’t Let Enthusiasm be the Enemy of Sales Success
Many new entrepreneurs are their own biggest fans – which is appropriate, since you need to believe in your company and be enthusiastic about what you’re selling. The challenge comes when your enthusiasm causes you to lose sight of certain truths about your product, or causes you to lose touch with the needs of your customers.
If you’re too eager to close a deal, you might drive away your customers or put them on the defensive. If you’re too excited about what your product can accomplish, you might lose sight of the situations where your product is not the right fit – and try to force a sale that isn’t the right solution for the customer.
Enthusiasm is important, but make sure it’s not blind enthusiasm.
Be a Problem Solver
Sales and marketing is ultimately about solving problems. Entrepreneurs are natural problem solvers – they get into business because there’s something they want to create or improve or develop to fill a need in the world. Often people get the idea that sales is about “talking people into buying something” or “overcoming objections.”
The truth is, the most successful sales people are the ones who know how to build relationships, focus on their customers’ needs, and find innovative ways to solve their customers’ problems. If you can focus relentlessly on helping your customers get to a better place, you will have no shortage of sales opportunities for your business.
Entrepreneurship is a constant learning experience, and there’s no better way to learn how to sell products and market a business than to become an entrepreneur. If you can avoid some of the “rookie mistakes” that go with being an entrepreneur and stay focused on improving your customers’ situations, you’ll be a successful entrepreneur.
Entrepreneur Photo via Shutterstock