After creating a product or service, your first priority must be finding your first clients. Cash is the lifeblood of the startup, and your savings/capital will not last long without it. If you find yourself unsure where to start with your sales and marketing efforts, today’s article will provide three practical steps for you to start generating leads for your business.
Invest in marketing cautiously
Marketing can be a bottomless money pit. Be careful if you ever catch yourself thinking “If I just invest $1,000 in this campaign and gain one sale from it, it’ll pay for itself!” Marketing is seldom this straight-forward. Further, I would hate for you to join the ranks of startups that have spent thousands on marketing that bring no returns. You will find that there are numerous factors that affect the success of campaigns, such as:
- The marketing platform
- Your ad copy
- Market – solution fit
- Audience demographics
- Length of campaign
- Much, much, more
If you are going to invest in marketing, my key tip for you is to focus on one campaign at a time. This will allow you to test, measure, and learn from your experiments. In addition, make sure that when you generate leads that you have a well-defined sales process. In short, you need to respond quickly, follow up diligently, and close the business confidently!
Pick up the phone & persevere
Don’t expect marketing to solve all your selling problems. Cold calling is still a completely legitimate and viable method for generating new leads and business. Yes, it will be difficult. Even after all these years of practising and teaching sales, I still get nervous when picking up the phone to call someone I haven’t yet met. However, if you persevere at this age-old art of selling, you will find that you are improving much more than a skill. You will develop personal traits such as courage, self-mastery, and personal pride. Don’t make the mistake of hiding behind emails and other electronic communication tools – nothing will replace the sincere, enthusiastic, and caring sound of your voice! The phone will be your best tool for generating sales in the short-term.
Begin expanding your network
As much as I believe in the efficacy of cold calling, I would not recommend it as a long-term strategy for your business. After all, it is emotion, energy, and time-intensive. Expanding your network is the ideal way of building your business for the long-run. By building meaningful relationships with likeminded individuals, you will set yourself up to earn referrals that will reduce the need to proactively reach out. My key tip for you is to choose one or two networking groups that you can attend regularly. Find ways to add value to the people you meet without expectation of return, and meet with them outside the official functions.
The startup phase of a business is the most crucial time to focus on selling. Marketing is certainly a viable method of generating leads, but must be engaged with cautiously. There is no replacement for picking up the phone, but must be supplemented with building your personal network for long-term viability.
Sales Ethos provides sales training in Melbourne, Australia. Led by Ben Lai, our vision is to inspire and equip sales consultants and entrepreneurs to sell with integrity. Our core belief is that Integrity + Skills = Success, and achieve this through sales & business training, coaching, and consulting.