Let’s face it - the odds aren’t exactly stacked in your favor and because the success of your start-up hangs by a thread, your focus needs to be on developing the skill that ushers the biggest impact.
A skill that doesn’t help grows vanity metrics like Social Media Engagement or Number of Shares. But rather, facilitates the true-north growth of your business is the "Profitable Customer Acquisition".
Customers are the lifeline of any business, and why we don’t pause and vigorously discuss this mysterious skill enough, is beyond me. So what’s the #1 skill every entrepreneur needs?
The Ability to “Sell”
Pause. Let that sink in.
Raise your hand if you get goose-bumps when you get that fresh new idea. Raise your hand if you pull 18-hour days and nights, working hard to create the first version of the product. Raise your hand again if you grind through with product testing, improving the product, and making it look all pretty.
And now raise your hand if you put all that zeal, enthusiasm, and passion in creating your pitch deck. Or in writing copy for your sales funnel. Or in the active hustle of pulling 18-hour days and nights, cold-calling prospects.
Selling is uncomfortable. I get it. But it’s also indispensable.
The reason why so many of us don’t proactively learn how to sell is that we are attuned by society to despise salesmen. When asked by your teacher in school, who ever said: “I want to be a salesman when I grow up”?
The Selling Mindset
Before I get some frowns, I want to make one thing clear: I’m not asking you to stop chasing your ideas and start learning how to become a salesman/woman. My consensus is that we as entrepreneurs should be able to “tune” our minds to think actively about how to sell more product.
I call this “The Selling Mindset” and developing this mindset is critical for the success of your start-up.
Companies like Apple, Google, and Samsung organize their product release events every single year. And these events are heavily covered by the world media. Millions of people watch the live stream coverage. Many more read about it in newspapers, blogs, and social media.
What are these events really? Sales pitches, is a stage to convince the world to buy their product as soon as it’s released.
For early stage start-ups, the most important factor is: Customer Acquisition at a Positive ROI. It could be either long-term with backend revenue or short-term with a net profit on acquisition cost. Here, I am referring to ROI for traffic, sweat equity and time equity.
In the Blogging/Books world, there’s an interesting school of thought: Writing “high-quality, interesting, and mind-blowing” content is just 10% of the work. The majority of an author’s time goes in content promotion.
Apply that same school of thought to your start-up. Create a version of your product that does what it’s supposed to do. And then sell it. I mean - really sell it.
Create sales funnels, develop sales teams, write persuasive copy, cold-call prospects, email your leads, start those ads, split test, write blogs, reach out to influencers, host webinars, get interviewed, contact the media, create multiple traffic sources, recruit affiliates.
And when you get those customers: upsell, down-sell, cross-sell, develop relationships, increase retention, decrease detention.
Every business model is different and the selling process will vary - but learning how to sell effectively will give you a strategic advantage over your competitors. There’s a side advantage too.
Developing this selling mindset not only helps acquire more customers but also helps when you “sell” your business model to investors for capital inflow. It helps “sell” your vision to your employees. And it helps ‘sell’ your plan to friends and family.