Today’s episode is explosive since our guest today, Patrick Helmers, is a double-edged sword who brings a lot of value on the table. He is not only a master on the tech side but he also has mastered the sales process.
Patrick used to be an engineer with a computer science background until he slowly gravitated towards the front end working with clients and customers and moved into sales realizing there’s a whole lot more to a customer buying your product or service – it’s the whole sales process that he’s fascinated about.
Today, Patrick talks about why sales comes first before marketing and he walks us through re-engineering the process of bringing a product out into the market which is totally genius.
Here are the highlights of my conversation with Patrick:
Why startups need to focus on sales over marketing campaigns:
- Sales is where you should begin
- Once you understand who your clients are and take that information, then you can do marketing.
- Marketing is more of an automation for sales.
Why people are more apprehensive to sales than marketing:
- People are afraid of sales.
- People are afraid of talking to people and meeting people.
- People are afraid to call them up on the phone or shake hands.
- People want the McDonald’s experience.
Strategies to start finding success with sales:
- Think of the fundamental value proposition.
- Define what your product or service is.
- Identify your target market.
- Do competitive analysis.
- Find and refine your niche.
- Don’t just focus on the things you built, but think about what the customer wants.
- Identify the problems, desires, issues that you’re solving for the client.
Why people are scared of selling:
- People love their product and they don’t want to hear bad news.
- Thinking that “everyone should have your product” or that “everyone would love your product” but you don’t know how to exactly frame it in a language they can understand
Re-engineering your process:
- Understand who your customers are first.
- Understand their problem.
- Build your product.
*Most business owners build the product first before getting the customers, which is something they’re struggling with.
Actionable steps when looking at creating a new product/service:
- Make a list of prospective clients.
Who makes sense for the product or service you’re thinking of building?
- Call them up and ask them for their advice.
Send an email or call and ask for their advice. Set an appointment as to the best time that you can speak with them. You’re not selling or pushing anything. You’re just asking for advice and people like to be helpful and like to share what they know. They love to have other people listen to them.
- Cold calling is still something you can do.
It’s a great way of qualifying to see if they’re a prospective buyer or you can be referred to the right prospects.
- Ask the “challenge questions.”
- What is your business’ goals and challenges? What are you concerned about in the next two months? (The trick to get them to start talking.)
- What is your biggest challenge out of all the stuff you talked about? (Look and try to figure out if you’re in their space. If not, it’s unlikely they’re going to buy your product. Get ideas first in the market before getting deep into it.)
- What would it take to overcome those challenges? (They will bring up things that are supposed to line up with the solution or product you’re providing)
- What would it mean for you to overcome those challenges?
- Everything that they say, write down their quotes.
Write down their exact language because this is the text you’re going to be using in your marketing content. Sales comes before marketing!
Patrick’s Major Takeaway:
Don’t be afraid of the phone. Pick it up and make calls.
Learn more about Patrick on The Sales Babble Podcast
Eric Ries’ book, The Lean Startup
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