I am no master salesmen. When I first started out in this game I couldn't close a deal to save my life. But years of being on the front line of startups often times with my own money on the line I had to learn in order to survive.
Not everyone is buying what you are selling:
If you are selling sunscreen chances are you won't sell much in Alaska 6 months of the year. Even if you have a perfect product market fit the customer may not want to hear it.
Lets say you have an amazing product that will revolutionize a thousand year old industry. You bring it to a guy that has run his business for the last 40 years and the business is doing "Just fine". He doesnt want to be told that he was doing it wrong for the last 40 years. He knows best and implementing your solution is a risk. He is doing "Just Fine" and doesn't want to jeopardize that.
It is a rather short sighted point of view, but that is the way people get when they get content. Doing worse than "just fine" is scarier than doing amazing.
Us young whipper snappers full of piss and vinegar in the startup world (and the old ones too) don't see it this way. But you have to keep in mind that the vast amount of businesses in the market are NOT startups.
If 99.9%(fake statistic) of business are NOT of the startup mind set of "go big or go home" then how do you sell your product to them.
The trick is to find the right ones. How you do that is the real trick. Read the following section closely. It is simple, but none the less extremely important know how to find the right customer before expending significant amounts of energy trying to sell to them.
Look for change:
If a business is changing then it often times is experiencing pain and if you can provide them with the aspirin then you have yourself a sale.
Please make sure the aspirin you have created actually cures the pain otherwise you are just selling snake oil and that is a dick move.
What kinds of change should you be looking for?
A loss of business. Contractions in the market. Layoffs. Obviously losing money is painful and people will go to some extremes to figure out how to stop and reverse the cause of their financial hemorrhaging. If you have a way to do that then why shouldn't they buy your product.
Sometimes growth can be just as painful as shrinking. Its more exciting and has a brighter looking future but it can hurt all the same. Communication breaks down. Culture shifts. Resources are stretched to make deadlines. Again if you can ease any of these pains then it makes their decision making process and life much easier.
Changes in people:
A decision maker retires; Someone gets promoted to department head. Two department get merged together or split apart.
If someone is recently appointed to a position of authority they will be trying to make their mark. Help them do this by making their processes more efficient using your product.
When people transition into a new spot there is a short period of time when the are acclimating to their new position that they will be much more open to new ideas. Help them by presenting your solution to them when they are ready for it.
Like I said, make sure you have a damn good product that actually solves people's problems before you try and sell anything. Selling people things that will not help them is just bad karma.
If you do have a product that will help them then who to talk to and when is key. Look for changes, expansions, contractions, and it will become much clearer who your target customers are.
What is the most important thing I know about sales?
I'll save that for another post. I am still learning it and taking notes under the tutelage of a great leader. I will write a post when the time is right.