Apologies for the sabbatical from my blogs…been busy on-boarding in my new avatar as Vice President Business Development of a great technology startup that will disrupt the social media space in the remote , rural , under-served, economically deprived, Bottom of the Pyramid Markets. The company I speak of is called GramVaani media (http://www.gramvaani.org/)
All this while I have addressed a distinguished gathering at the Rockefeller foundation‘s , Rock Talk event, and participated at the RMAI round table.
During all this, I have had the opportunity to engage with a group of very bright, young women who are raring to have a go at key account management and sales with a great new platform that is poised to disrupt the wedding services space in India.
They posed a very good question to me- what would be set of some basic key questions that could warm up a cold prospect in the first meeting, agnostic to the vertical or the profile of the prospect (client). And I started to think on this and came up with this list that I believe would serve many who have the same question bothering them.
- What can you tell me about your organization… and yourself?
- What do you like about what you’re currently doing?
- What don’t you like about your current situation?
- What would you like to be enhanced or improved?
- Have you spoken to other solution providers to address your current specific challenge?
- What can you tell me about your priorities and your options?
- What obstacles are there in the way of this initiative moving forward?
- What will be your criterion of evaluating different options if at all?
- How much have your budgeted for this proposal/project?
- When do you wish to start?
Try these questions with a cold prospect and write back to me with your inputs and comments…
more than happy to ideate with you !
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?
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.