The Six Rules of Selling for Start-ups

Hi readers,

This blog is a result of my current professional engagements with 2 great start-ups, that I believe will disrupt our markets in India and empower the key stakeholders in their respective eco-systems, like never before.

THATs why I am with them!!

START-UP number 1 – Confidential / Secret/- Disruptive tech based and enabled platform for the $ 5 billion marriage services market.

START-UP number 2- http://www.fleximoms.in/ – Disrupting the flexible work niche in the labor market in Indian AND empowering women (yaay!!) at the same time!! (Double yaay!!)

These 2 great start-ups define awesomeness! and as I would say in Boston, …they are WICKED cool !!

So , the question is you have a tech enabled platform, ready to rumble and roll, NOW WHAT?

Well…revenues silly!

Who gets the revenues? The sales team of course?

And how do they do it in a start up? thats the million dollar question I wanna answer in this blog- hope you like it…

Selling for a startup presents unique challenges even for highly experienced sales professionals. Because your company is new, your potential customers don’t know anything about it and, sad to say, in business unfamiliarity breeds contempt. Not to worry, though. Here are the six rules of selling for startups:

  1. You are an entrepreneur. You aren’t in a big company, so ultimately the only person you can really count on to get things done is yourself. Don’t hesitate to do whatever it takes to move the sale forward, even if it means giving up your weekends.
  2. Don’t be afraid to bail. If a deal doesn’t make sense for your company, it’s not worth pursuing. Don’t let wishful thinking propel you into wasted effort. For example, if you can’t meet with the real decision-maker, you aren’t going to get the business. Period. Move on, without regrets.
  3. Don’t be taken advantage of. Insist that every customer relationship is a relationship between equals. Adopt a policy of “Quid Pro Quo” – that anything the customer or prospect asks you to do give you the right to ask them to do something comparable in return.
  4. Believe in your greatest strength. What startups offer customers is unique, and that’s good news, because top executives don’t have the time to sit with down with cookie-cutter sales reps, but always have time for somebody who can redefine problems and devise solutions.
  5. Don’t scuttle your credibility. Never take on an apologetic air, try to explain away the inexperience of your firm, or (ugh!) beg for the business. Savvy customers can smell fear and will ask for steep discounts or even amuse themselves by making you jump through meaningless hoops.
  6. Dare to be honest. Share your feelings with the prospect to move the sale forward. If you believe that the customer is treating you unfairly or asking too much, respectfully point out why you see the situation that way and then ask for reasonable concessions.

Priceless Contribution of our political class- fundamentalists in a secular democracy!

This goes out to all enlightened Indians, across the globe, and definitely in India.

I hope that these series that I propose to write regularly as the contribution of our political class will become a platform for serious debate on what has really transpired under the guise of “parliamentary democracy” for the past 65 years.

These thoughts in these blogs are also meant to highlight the reality of the Indian democratic system and its evolution ( de-generation) over the past 65 years.

Thoughts, inputs, and ideas are very welcome, obviously.

Today Kamal Hassan made a heart rending appeal to his fans and the common man , demonstrating his utter helplessness to fight a political heavy , and skewed system, that will not even listen to independent thought leaders, and will use power to buttress power brokers, and illiterate voting populations ( ever heard of the VOTE BANK…if you haven’t , it exists in India, and has been nurtured for the past 65 years by the political class by keeping these voting banks, illiterate, un-educated and on the fringes of poverty and deprivation…cool strategy hunh!!)

His latest movie, VISHWAROOPAM, has been embroiled in controversy, which was ostensibly started by a fringe Muslim group, protesting the depiction of terrorists as being from the Muslim faith!! This was ably fanned by political class of ALL hues!!

Now the question you must ask, is why did ALL political parties start supporting the muslim protesters–……well, didn’t I just tell you about voting banks!! NONE of these political leeches, would wanna fritter away the opportunity to get the muslim vote now ..isnt it ?

So here is this artist, who should have freedom of expression of interest under our “democratic” constitution and institutions, BUT has to run around the courts of the land to scree his film, whose future has been hijacked by a few protesting muslims, supported by the political class, who have kept these muslims illiterate for the past 65 years, and the muslims dont even realize who is to blame for their pathetic situation, and are therefore for lack of any substantial cause in life, take to the street, at the behest of their equally illiterate, uneducated leaders to protest an assault on their religion!!!

Is this convoluted or what!!

Has not this country not been converted to a dignified banana republic in a matter of 65 years , and its potential quashed by the political class through the following INITIATIVES… (Yes folks ..the following are the ONLY INITIATIVES that the political class have been serious about , since taking our rule from the British and ruling this country..)

  • Siphoning off tax payers money into overseas accounts.
  • Converting money laundering ( tax payers and bribe money) into an art and a science ( Mafia , eat your heart out, come to the academy of the Indian political class, and they will teach you tricks you didnt even know existed )
  • Using graft and bribe money to buy into vote banks- over and over and over again, till death did them part from their office!
  • Dodging responsibility by converting “passing the buck” to an art and a science- slippery as an eel has a different level in India and for the political class.
  • Turning QUID PRO QUO to an art and science- One political party uses state instruments, which are supposed to be independent, as gatherers of dirty secrets on political opponents, and leveraged to ensure that their very own dirty secrets are never revealed by their opponents, should they come to power in the veneer of our democratic institutions!! So all these political parties, the political class know each other dirtiest of secrets and make for a perfect understanding under classic quid pro quo terms!!

While the political class has ensured its continuity into geriatric politics, they have deliberately done nothing about investing in educating the teeming uneducated masses, that remain uneducated, illiterate to the day. This has proven beneficial to them in many ways, most notably these illiterates have lost the faculty to think rationally and analyze logically, laying them open to emotional and casteist exploitation by the political class over 65 years….the nest result, ready to use, ready made , illiterate , fundamentalists in our secular democracy!!

If there ever was a strategy that worked for you this would be it !! Kudos to our Indian political class!!

 

Effective Sales Questions that get results!

Hi readers,

This blog follows the other topics on which I have written about in the past weeks.

During the training programs that I attended and conducted over the last 18 years, I was often asked, and I myself asked of my trainers- which are the best questions to ask your clients/customers, so that the response meets your key objectives in the sales process?

By compiling elements that I learnt through class room training, numerous Rank Xerox PPS (Professional Selling Skills) programs and field sales experience I have come up with the following questions that I believe are effective , cutting across domains and verticals.

While these questions are primarily derived from my experience with B2B clients, I suspect that they will prove to be just as effective in the B2G  ( Business to Government) business eco-systems. ( Let me have your views as I have no understanding of this space)

Here are the fourteen absolutely indispensable questions ( power tools)  that should be in every sales rep’s bag of tricks:

  1. What can you tell me about your organization… and yourself?
  2. What do you like about what you’re currently doing?
  3. What don’t you like about your current situation?
  4. What would you like to be enhanced or improved?
  5. What can you tell me about your priorities?
  6. What prompted you to start this project now?
  7. What can you tell me about your decision-making process?
  8. How do you handle budget considerations?
  9. What other options are you looking at?
  10. What can you tell me about the people involved in the process?
  11. What obstacles are in the way of moving this forward?
  12. How will you be evaluating different options?
  13. How will the funding for the project be justified?
  14. How much support does this have at the executive level?

According to me –

Get the answers to these questions, and take action based on those answers, and you’ll get the sale. It’s that simple.

This is based on the KISS principle- Keep it simple and sweet!