Importance of an Entrepreneur’s Selling Skills in a Start-up
Selling is a constant job that an Entrepreneur has to do. It is a very key skill within a start-up. you will need to sell your company to investors, your products to clients, your projects to employees, your business to board members etc. An entrepreneur should be a good salesman. While selling, you should not say what you know, but what others want to hear. Example, you may sell a concept rather than a product to your client. Or you may sell the solutions to customer problems, or ways to grow client business, rather than your services.
Selling to Investors
You will need to sell your business plan and the team to the investors so they chose to invest in your company. This is not easy as a good investor must have loads of options to invest into, and limited resources at their disposition. You will need to find ways to distinguish yourself from the crowd. Your passion and team can do the trick if you manage to build a good one. You should also know your investors, where else have they invested before, are there any synergies they could bring etc.
Selling to Clients
Most likely your target clients would not be willing to move from current provider, and would be busy that they won’t spare too much time for you. You will need to understand your client’s psychology, what do they want, how can you help solve their problems and become relevant to them. Having some experience in selling helps here. Do not sell them your products or services, but ask them what are their problems and tell them how you can help solve them through your products.
Selling to Employees
Not many employees are keen to move to start-up due to typical human risk averse nature. You will need to show them how they could learn a lot more, make difference for the future, and learn tremendously by working in your start-up. They must buy your vision and be willing to become part of your dream. Plus compensation should be competitive, with possibly some equity sharing etc.
Selling to Partners (including Board Members)
It would be better to have some partners, stakeholders, board advisors etc. associated with you. These people are typically quite experienced and can help mentor you and do lots of relevant introductions for you. First you would need to convince them that you are creating a great potential start-up company which has decent probability of succeeding. This may happen over several meetings and hopefully you will find a good no. of partners assisting you at different levels.