cold call
cold call

Sales is a process.  It’s not done part-time; customers need to feel a connection to the sales person and want you to interact with them differently for different types of products. Companies often focus too much on the technology or product instead of the customer view and customer benefit.

At the latest Entrepreneurship 101 lecture on Sales, MaRS advisor Krista Jones discussed the principles of “selling value” to customers.

Watch the lecture video and read on to find answers to these commonly asked questions:

What role does selling play in a start-up?

Your business doesn’t start until you sell something.  Selling is a part of marketing and a sure way to test your product and all other company processes.  As a company leader, you need to be directly involved in selling activities from beginning to end.  Direct customer interaction will also help you build and improve your product and organization. Read more in our Entrepreneur’s Toolkit article, “Sales 101: The role of selling in a start-up.”

What is a sales funnel?

If you’re running a business you have to have a sales funnel – it describes your sales process from beginning to end and allows you to remove barriers to a sale.  Choose your sales channels fairly simplistically and find out how your customers want to be reached. Don’t confuse your ultimate goal with your first few sales – focus your attention on opportunities that remain in the funnel.  Read more in our Entrepreneur’s Toolkit article, “Stages of the sales funnel”.

How do I prepare for a sales call?

Preparing for a sales call takes time. There are several tools available to help you organize the information you will need:

Make time in your schedule to meet with potential customers, book a sales call and follow these five steps to be well prepared:

  1. Prepare the stakeholder management chart
  2. Prepare the sales call talk track
  3. Do your research
  4. Develop and practice your pitch
  5. Consider practical issues

Read more in “Preparing for a sales call“.

Why do I need a pitch deck?

A pitch deck is one of your most important tools and the first thing you will use when making a sales pitch.  Create a presentation that catches the attention of the audience.  It should send a clear message: you are solving a problem, make sure to explain that solution. Talk about how your business benefits the customer and meets their needs.  Each pitch deck is different but still requires 10 essential slides; have a look at the lecture presentation to find out what they are.  Read more in “Elements of a pitch deck“.

Once you have solved the problem that your customer has, you are ready to launch.

One final thought from Krista to get you on your way: Remember to face rejection and KEEP SMILING!

Marielle Voksepp

Marielle works as part of the education team at MaRS. She helps entrepreneurs get access to business resources both online and in-person. See more…