You just received guaranteed, proven sales strategy advice on how to sell your product and grow revenue. A generous individual, who so kindly shared their valuable advice, said it was the best and only way to do it if you want to succeed. Then a few days go by, and you meet another generous soul, who gives you their invaluable advice on how to sell your product. They are trusted. Proven to deliver. And guarantee performance.
Well, now what do you do. Two completely different pieces of advice about how to sell your product, and both are seemingly guaranteed to work.
As an entrepreneur, you’re getting pulled in a thousand different directions at the same time. Ideas and advice are abundant if you’re willing to listen. But figuring out who to actually listen to is the hard part.
You have to fight the urge to follow all of it a common trap for early entrepreneurs and easy to fall into.
No guaranteed sales strategy
Just because a specific sales strategy worked for someone else, does not guarantee it will work for you. That’s the best sale going. Did the title catch your attention?
If you don’t want your business to fail, you must figure out your own sales strategy to sell your product. Not someone else’s strategy. Your own. Specifically for your product, targeting your customers.
75% of startups fail because they never get customer traction. Customer traction is the name of the game. Without customers, you have no revenue. And without revenue your company will eventually die. Even if you can raise more capital to alleviate your cash pains, eventually you will need have to make money from customers to survive.
So how do you define the right sales strategy for you product?
Does everybody have the right advice?
When you start your own business, a lot of people are suddenly willing to share their opinions and ideas on how you should sell your product. What you should do and how you should do it. But it is so hard to know who to actually listen to. You don’t know which advice will help you reach your goals. Which advice will waste your time. Or which advice will completely destroy your business.
No matter whether its advice on your sales strategy, marketing, operations, product design, capital raising, hiring etc. Sifting through all the noise is one of the most challenging aspects of being an entrepreneur. But just because its challenging doesn’t mean you cant do it.
I definitely messed up. When I started my first company, I took advice from everyone. Friends, family, entrepreneurs, press releases, blogs, books, conferences, webinars and all other channels shouting at me. What everyone else was saying sounded like gospel to me.
The kicker was that I took advice from certain people only because I thought they knew more than me. I took their advice because I valued their experience more than mine. Therefore, I thought following their words of wisdom would be wiser than continuing down my own path. Always making decisions based on what other people think is a dangerous habit.
If you’re experiencing this now, knock it off!
Take a step back and rethink your approach. Not doing so will only lead to disaster. This was a big mistake for me.
I was swayed by anybody who shared their opinion with confidence and illustrated a certain level of competency in the space. But over time, after heeding the advice of all these people, I realized I was listening to folks who were not even qualified to be guiding my decisions.
What happens if you follow everybody’s advice
If you follow everyone’s advice, you will lose focus. If you lose focus, your business will die.
One person recommends you make your product self-service online then just drop ship it. Someone else shows you their proven telesales system that will drive huge growth. And someone else suggests you forget about the smaller transactions, hire another business development employee and just focus on big partnership deals.
When you try to take all of their advice and adopt a little from each advised strategy.
You will fail, at all of them.
You end up with a primordial soup kind of sales strategy. And instead of bringing your sales to life, your business will die in a diluted mixture of efforts.
Lets say you should you sit down with a sophisticated investor to discuss an investment in your company. They will ask you, how will you generate sales? If you respond by listing off a series of different sales channels and strategies, they will tell you to focus on ONE. And probably say, were not ready to invest at this time, but lets keep in touch.
Listen but don’t always follow
There’s a distinct difference between listening to everybody’s advice and following it. A big part of being an entrepreneur is blazing your own trail.
Of course, its good to listen to new advice and ideas. You never know when that one piece of advice unlocks the door to opportunity. Find time to have conversations with lots of people. Gather up as many different ideas and opinions, so you can make the most informed decision. But DON’T act on everybody’s advice. Its better to collect knowledge on as many different sales strategies first. Then see how they fit into the sale of your own product and your customers.
And finally consider your resources. You must align your sales strategy with your available resources. Hiring a direct sales team to drive larger opportunities may be a great approach, but if you lack the capital to hire anyone, then starting with online, self-service sales may be a more strategic fit.
Learn the potential strategies (will cover in future posts), then decide which one aligns with your vision and can be executed with your current resources. There’s a lot of people willing to share their advice. Its your job is to listen and process it. Just make sure your strategy decisions are the product of your own conclusion.
How do you overcome the noise and follow the best advice?