There is an art in selling to an entrepreneur. A different breed of person, business owners generally hold certain characteristics that can mean selling to them is confusing.
Although some are highly calculated and cautious, the rest throw caution only to the wind. Rather than making hope their strategy, the best salespeople are figuring out how to get inside the mind of an entrepreneur to make more consistent sales with less energy. If your efforts to convert entrepreneurs to customers have resulted in too few sales, you might be making one of these mistakes.
Here are the 4 big reasons that entrepreneurs aren’t buying from you.
You’re too slow
When a classic entrepreneur wants something, they want it yesterday. Whether that’s the completion of a product, the operational support for a new venture or a price for a service, you can never get it to them fast enough. They want to dream up an idea and have it costed and scoped before the end of the day, and will seek suppliers who can match their pace. If you’re using the word “soon” then taking all week, you require chasing to come up with the goods, or you’re simply not responding before they change their mind, you’ll miss out on sales you could have easily secured.
Speed stuns, so be faster. Improve your processes to ship in half the time or enable an instant quote by collecting a few details. The early bird catches the worm and the lazy sailor misses the boat. Your potential clients are mistaking your lack of speed for a lack of enthusiasm and assuming you’re not bothered about their business. Don’t leave an entrepreneur hanging and you’ll be chosen more often over those that wait.
You’re not visionary
Thinking too small could mean entrepreneurs aren’t buying from you. Whether you’re selling a physical product, marketing service or admin support, communicate the upside like your life depends on it. Are you going to help them make more impact, more revenue or have more headspace? What could they achieve from there? Describe the big picture to catch an entrepreneur in their most visionary version and watch them get excited to bring you on board.
Marginal gains don’t impress, so think bigger with what you bring to the table. Figure out what matters to them and speak in their language. Relevance, accolades, money or freedom; each require a different approach to a sales proposal. Explain how you’ll change their life to secure the sale, then deliver on your promise to keep them forever.
They question your competency
While they’re more often away with the fairies than deep in the weeds, entrepreneurs spot patterns and notice inconsistency. If your story doesn’t add up, you’re found to have stretched the truth, or your words say one thing, but your actions scream another, it will compromise your sale. The little things add up, and sloppiness never goes unnoticed. An entrepreneur isn’t just looking to tick a box and sign off their marketing budget.
Doing what you say you’ll do, turning up on time, not making mistakes and remembering what you’re told all put checks in the boxes of trust and competence.
Don’t let something tiny raise a red flag and cost your company a new client. Cover the basics and practice what you preach. A-players only want to work with other A-players, so consistency in competence matters. Doing everything to a high standard reassures an entrepreneur you’re a solid bet.
They can’t see a way out
While they think big picture and are happy taking calculated risks, they want to be able to recover quickly from mistakes. Placing a bet for a potential win is fine, throwing good money after bad is not. Not giving an entrepreneur an easy way out might make them run a mile.
Long contracts might compromise their agile business strategy and high sunk costs might impinge their freedom. Both might prevent them signing your contract. They work on their own terms and they answer to no one, so the last thing they want to feel is backed into a corner.
Cover the downside. Communicate the worst that could possibly happen. Make them see it’s not so bad, so they view taking the leap as an experiment they’re willing to try. Explain that you’re playing the game together, and that you have their back. Make it important to you that they don’t lose money or look silly, and that their worst fears won’t come to pass.
If you’re too slow, think too small, appear inconsistent and incompetent or try to tie them down, you won’t make many sales to an entrepreneur. Acting fast, thinking big, practising what you preach and giving them an easy way out will appeal to their impulsive, sharp and visionary tendencies and mean you’re in a far better position to sign up those entrepreneur clients.