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cloud network hunting note: hunting cloud network will be a month in the future roll out ceremoniously “taught you how to entrepreneurship” series. The project choose well-known venture capitalists in silicon valley, incubator mentor, famous Internet company CEO, entrepreneurial nova celebrities such as the founder of the company’s entrepreneurial experience, share of pervasive. In this series, the “entrepreneurial masters” will bring you from venture to venture financing, listed a series of constructive guidance, etc. In this paper, for the project of 33.
this course invitation Clever founder Bosmeny around the problem such as sales and marketing experience. Clever is a start-up, provide education data services in 2012 summer in YC entrepreneurship training. As a education application platform, Clever the success of the dust. Since Clever was introduced in two and a half years ago, the company has increased the tens of thousands of users to use its school platform.
I am a Clever, chief executive officer of this course is designed to share with you about sales experience. When I read the university majored in mathematics and statistics, always thought oneself after graduation to enter the financial sector, started his first job at a hedge fund, but was eventually persuaded to join a friend’s startup, engaged in sales work. Before this, I do not know anything about sales, spent many years learning sales there. Later he founded Clever, hope for the school to develop a education application platform, the other two joint founder of our company is product oriented professionals. I feel after sales experience should not have much help, but the result is unexpected, former sales experience would be a great addition to the rapid growth of Clever.
misunderstood “entrepreneurial marketing” : the best salesman is entrepreneurs themselves
first of all, is to correctly treat startup marketing concept. Most people think that sales is mainly rely on tips, such as to have a good cooked, sharp-toothed, ability to attract the attention of others and so on, these are what they think of some marketing trick. I have talked about marketing and many entrepreneurs, most of them will say: “we will focus on products, is committed to developing superior products, wait until after the success of the product development, marketing activity planning to hire a professional marketing personnel.” In my opinion, the best marketing personnel is entrepreneurs themselves. Graham often said that the start-up stage there are two things must be done as soon as possible, it is a product development, customer service. Customer service is refers to the marketing and marketing often let a person respect and terrible, many people with “I have never worked in sales, don’t know where to begin” as the reason, but entrepreneurs itself has many advantages in terms of sales. Enthusiasm for products such as entrepreneurs is one of, followed by entrepreneurs in the industry knowledge and solve problems in the process of entrepreneurial experience, both are in the real world business the winning a magic weapon.
in fact, Clever sales job to start a business is mainly composed of two of my friend, though they had never engaged in related work, but marketing itself is not difficult, just want to do with all my heart. Founded after the Clever, as long as crucial for the company’s problem, I will stop the work at hand, research solutions, with all my heart.
three basic way to gain the initial user
a lift sales, people will naturally think of the sales funnel, this way of selling in different stages, step by step and attract consumers to buy. The first stage is usually the most common is the sales forecast, to find potential clients, the second stage to further understand these potential customers, then pick some of clients signed an agreement with them, so that began after have income. In order to facilitate understanding, below each stage and the stage of some related strategies with explanation, these are Clever proved useful things, not very abstract, should is very helpful for business.
the expected process is the process of figuring out who will accept your product. According to the United States house of communication Everett Rogers, it puts forward the model of spread of social technology, there is a bell curve, which contains brave early adopters and early adopters, early late conformity, conformity and laggard five parts. Especially the curve of quantitative, making for a start-up companies, to understand the early sales is not so difficult, entrepreneurs can clearly distinguish which is part of early adopters, namely their potential customers. In this process, you might because only 2.5% of the company is a potential customer and feel very frustrated, but I don’t think so, even if only 2.5% of the company can consider to accept or invitations, such expectations of startup help is very big. You will realize the sales will be a Numbers game, even if want to cover the 2.5% or some achievements in the early sales, also want to send a lot of invitations, also had to introduce their products to many people.
Clever to start early, for example, we are doing these things, before the YC will contact for two months, more than 400 companies and trying to get through their phone to introduce their products to them.
for sales forecast and customer development, in general there are three main ways. One is to set up the company’s web site, I didn’t use this method; One is the exhibition, can attract the attention of many people; Another is known as the promotional emails. When it comes to the exhibition, can you think of the CES or E3 expo exhibition, product sales in the possibility of more after all these places. But in fact the early-stage, no matter what will be as much as possible to participate in the exhibition, because those places are your potential customers. If you want to other products to sell the company’s chief information officer, so they often gather to Milwaukee hotel, where is the place where you should go. Clever after the establishment has been involved in a lot of this exhibition, exhibition before they often participants’ information in advance, then send each participant invitation in advance and try to arrange time for meeting. Therefore, I and my friends to each exhibition, schedule is full gear, through these efforts we early harvest a lot of customers.
promotional emails explicitly mentioned just now, a lot of people don’t know how to write promotional emails to. In fact it is not difficult, the key is to simply, sell to write clearly in the email “who are you?” , “what is your product? , “you are very welcome to accept consulting? And “can discuss tomorrow if the customer want to know?” Etc, can be different according to different objects mail, as long as the right people, multiple some promotional emails always has nothing to lose.
this is the sales forecast, it is so important is that you have to build sales channels, this layer and then you can try to let others to accept your invitation. Next time if you got a call from marketing, don’t rush to hang up first, and patience to listen to bottom go to, the results may surprise. I helped many entrepreneurs, many of the first sales people are willing to know finally can always wait for their products, in fact, entrepreneurs in the past few months spent so much mind development product, is hoping to proudly introduce to each other your own unique products, including each characteristics of the product.
best seller good listening
don’t know if you have found that good sales people tend to say much, they spend only 30% of the time to talk, the remaining 70% of the time they used to build a phone, and questions are also very strange, mostly is “why are you willing to answer my phone? , “if you, about we just talk about how are you going to solve this problem?” , “what is your ideal solution?” And so on. In fact, they are not simply in a conversation, but try our best to find the needs of the customers, attempt to understanding customer’s problem, that is the secret of selling. If anyone of you used UberConference, know when hang up the phone after it will give you send a feedback email, content is compared to you and others speak. From which it is easy to find a rule, the outstanding sales personnel tend to be more good at listening, and how to listen more to know of the real requirements of customers.
sales entrepreneurs knocking the door of the only means: often hurt often war, perseverance
sales is a need to insist for a long time to work, when you send promotional emails have not received any reply, might as well try again hair again, didn’t get through the telephone, might as well leave a voice. Less easy to make a deal, need many steps, it is not by accident, but after the different levels of effort to complete. Such as send promotional emails received reply for the first time, and then sent or received back for a second time, the results for the third time when someone wants to buy your products. Such result is anyone, many times we might talk with customer on the phone, so the results after the email is sea, have not received any reply, this time if you consider customers who are not interested in your product, so that this business will soon go away. To make a deal was reached will always stick to it, can’t give up too soon.
but insist for a long time will be affected by the limit of time, after the start-up time is, after all, you are the only resource, very precious. You can’t continue to follow up every possible customer to buy your products, but to select a purchase intention of customers as soon as possible, otherwise not sure customers, the more the greater the likelihood of failure. To some extent, the customer refused to instead is a good thing, because that can help you to move forward, will put more effort into real customers to buy your products.
as a result, entrepreneurs different from ordinary people to have staying power and ambition, but in the right place.
when you call over all customers, and then continue to follow up some customers, and finally to achieve the trading, you are the last step. The final step seems difficult to actually very simple, is the negotiations both sides against the agreement content, finally reached an agreement. If the hatch is YC startups, more simple, because YC has its own standard agreement template. It is worth mentioning that YC will open its own standard template, after all to use YC standard template, this to want to do sales of start-ups is good news.
marketing promotion of the trap of “sweet”
in how often someone will go wrong, even if is a wise man may make mistakes. This is because they don’t have determined their goals, sales goal should be to deal with reference to the customer, after the agreement comes into effect, if you don’t do this, their company is finished. But surprisingly these smart people can double-check before signing the contract terms, until himself satisfied with the contract will continue to the next step, I have seen a lot of entrepreneurs fault with the indemnity clause. In fact signed directly proceed to the next step will be better, the contents of the contract too much argue sometimes might be a trap, but they may be in deep.
there is a trap entrepreneurs most often go. If the customer usually say “I will use your product, but I only need one of the two functions”, or say “you know, I like your products very much, but it does not have what I want this function, we’re not prepared to buy” refused to words, such as most people especially those who have ambitious entrepreneurs will want to improve their product features, make it accord with the requirement of the clients. But the problem is that it doesn’t work, I have ever met such a situation, when there is a lack of some function after the customer, I will this in mind, improve product function until after the return to find customers, and nine times ten times the customer to the lack of some kind or a variety of functions for the reason to refuse to use my product.
if the customer refused to buy on the grounds of products lack some function, and then you respond, “he said” no problem, then we can sign the agreement, the agreement can regulations will increase the product function “, in this case you are in a passive state. If is Clever in this case, I would have replied: “no problem, if the majority of customers have put forward this problem, then we will consider to improve products.” Once really have a lot of customers are put forward such a request, so that improve the product must be, you still don’t have to worry about this improvement is a one-off.
in addition, I strongly recommend entrepreneurs to avoid the trap of free trial. If the customer’s request for a free trial, this is reasonable, but the problem is very short startup capital, you need to clear the orders, require users to use your product, need to the customer pledge, all of which are free trial can bring you. You spent so much thoughts to do sales work, only to let the customer free trial, it is a terrible thing, do you think sales work finally has the progress, but the result is you have to again and again to let the customer free trial. In contrast, I, in dealing with the free trial request processing is very good. When a customer to ask for a free trial, we will tell the customer just Clever does not provide a free trial, only accept the one-year agreement, but the former 30 or 60 days can free trial, if the customer can’t accept, trading can’t go on. This approach can not only achieve the goal of the entrepreneur, and not to offend the customer, make customer feel uncomfortable. Therefore, and customers in the course, a little flexibility might cause to other results.