When you start a company, everything is a sales process:
- First you sell your idea to a business partner or partners
- Then you sell your idea and prototype to early investors
- After that, you sell your new company to early employees to bring them onboard
- You are are continually selling the vision and mission of the company to all employees
- Then, hopefully, you are selling to customers who are paying you for your product
- You sell strategic partnerships with other companies, and institutional investors
- Then eventually you flat out sell your company, either to another entity (acquisition) or to the public market (IPO)
If someone asks me what they can do now to prepare to be an entrepreneur I would say get practice selling.
The most important part of selling is listening. Uncovering and understanding what the other party needs, then assemble a return on investment case including your offerings. For example, when selling to a business partner first learn what they are interested in. Is it money, the chance to change the world, or the opportunity to work on something exciting everyday? Then present your businesses in a light that reflects what they need.
That’s why there is no such thing as a standard sales pitch. It has to adapt to every single party you talk to based on what information they give you.
Mark Suster has some of my favorite articles on selling including this one about Evangelical Sales.
So get out there and sell. Have I sold you yet?