A good product won’t turn you into a marketing success, but neither will aggressive sales tactics. Here’s what you need to know in order to understand how to sell your product correctly and take your startup as far as possible.
In the case of startups, knowing how to develop the best product possible and how to sell it are two completely different things. The biggest advantage a startup has is the ability to focus on the product and make it truly phenomenal. Unfortunately, this is also one of their biggest problems when it comes to actually making sales.
After a continuous period of development during which every last ounce of your energy is invested in the product itself – when it’s finally ready and you’re ready to bring it to the world – it’s understandable why you would feel that there’s no way it will fail because it really is the best product there is.
But, successfully selling a product doesn’t depend entirely on the product or its quality (which is an important condition, but not the only one). Success also depends on the perception create among potential customers who won’t always be as excited as you about complicated technical details or the functions of your product.
We have gathered 5 principles we adhere while conducting marketing and sales processes with the startups we work with. The better you follow these principles, the less effort you’ll need to invest in aggressive marketing and the more sales potential your product will have. Oh, and you’ll have some fun along the way.
- Look for the right story
It’s probably safe to assume that you’re already aware of the fact that beyond a product, people are buying an experience when they make a purchase. This is even more true for startups. Older, bigger companies selling an existing product surrounded by certainty and a good reputation for many, but for you, the potential of your product (at least at the beginning) still hasn’t proved itself over any period of time.
Behind the potential of your product is you, and many people will follow you out of belief in you and a connection to your story much more than a feeling of security in the product itself. That’s why your story must proceed you, during sales and throughout the entire journey.
- Put practicalities aside and look for value
Startups fail on this point more than others. Your in-depth level of familiarity with your product, your emotional connection to it and the time you spend with it, all alongside the fact that most of you are probably very analytical people, makes it likely that you’ll create a sales pitch that focuses on technical aspects of the functionality of your product but doesn’t exactly connect to the person you’re trying to reach out to.
So, how do you sell things in a way that speaks to your potential customers and creates a connection between you? Our tip is to stop thinking for a moment about what your product does, and start thinking instead about what users are going to do with it, how they will feel with it and how their lives will look with your product. We’re all chasing a dream, but everyone’s dream looks a little bit different. If you can optimize and personalize your message for each individual, you can dramatically increase your chances at making a sale.
If you are in the phase of approaching investors, visit their worlds of content. Think about where an investment in your product might take a specific investor and how his future might look after making the investment. And if you’re reaching out to users, take this same line of thought from their point of view. Where will they each find themselves with your product? What will it give them? Show them what’s going to change and how they’ll feel about it.
It’s also important here to consider your ability to tell a story. If you’re a very practical person, we suggest that you build some bridges with people who know how to tell your story in the best way possible.
- Don’t forget passion
We’ve covered value; now let’s talk about passion, which is no less important when it comes to successful sales. Your passion is what will make potential customers want to be a part of what you’re doing and the product you create. The point here is to not be motivated by looking for what other people want, but to do what excites you. From there, you can start to look for ways it can help others. In other words, the value you provide shouldn’t be coming from a place of wanting make a sale, but rather your passion to do what it is you do. Always remember who you’re talking, what their interests are and how your product is going to serve them
- Use video to illustrate your product
Quality video content (putting emphasis on quality) is one of the most effective tools you have to improve your sales process. A 60-second video can tell viewers about you and your company, show the story behind your product and create the necessary connection. But even more than that, videos can illustrate the uses of your product and what needs it fulfills, or, in other words, the “dream” it makes come true.
This is even more true when you need to show a new product, especially one that has never existed before and is hard to imagine. Instead of talking about it and explaining what it does in different ways, you can use characters, animation and many other methods to create the exact image you want in the heads of your target audience, whether they be potential customers or investors.
If your product is technologically complex, video content is a great way to show off its technological benefits while showing it in action. There are more than a few smart formats you can use to communicate several layers of information via your videos, from the appearance of the product to the technical details behind it to the values you want to connect it to. As far as ROI is concerned, video is without a doubt one of the most effective tools in your workshop to improve sales processes.
- Look for different distribution channels and sales strategies
Sales is often seen as a choice between two options: direct sales (in person or by telephone), or via a digital campaign. But marketing your product externally isn’t necessarily the right thing to do, and there are many other sales and marketing channels besides the classic B2C model.
Before you get started, it’s worth considering other sales or distribution strategies, or even combining several. For example, it’s sometimes better to give up on a digital campaign in favor of a specific action like attending the right conference where you’ll be able to make a connection with an important figure for you. And there are many other sales tactics that are worth considering, like launching a Kickstarter campaign, pre orders that create early demand, joining a major manufacturer, retailer or distribution body and lots of other options besides.
In many ways, your success depends on the correct use of your budget, which is why we suggest you try several different sales channels and see which bring you the best results. In many cases, you’ll find that you’ll see the best ROI using methods and channels you wouldn’t have even thought of at the beginning.