Entrepreneurs that Can’t Sell

Last month I was talking to an entrepreneur that lamented he can’t sell. No matter how hard he tries selling his prototype to prospects, his idea to investors, or his vision to potential employees, it’s just not clicking. After hearing this, I asked a few questions about his strategy and approach. It became clear that a little feedback was in order.

Here are a few thoughts for entrepreneurs that are having a hard time selling:

  • Go with Passion – Emotion and passion are critical for entrepreneurial selling. Figure out what’s energizing and ensure it’s shared with the audience.
  • Know the Audience – Prospects, investors, and potential employees all warrant a different pitch. Think through what the audience wants to hear and map it out in a simple Google Doc. Ask a friend for feedback and constantly refine the message.
  • Read up on Sales – Start with the classic sales books like How to Win Friends and Influence People as well as many others. In addition, there are a number of excellent sales articles online.
  • Find a Co-Founder – Look for a co-founder that has a complementary skill set — plenty of people out there love to sell and are good at it. Take a look at The Co-Founder Complement.

Entrepreneurs that can’t sell need to improve their skills to get them up to a modest level and find a partner that can help. Selling isn’t easy but with effort can always be improved.

What else? What are some more thoughts for entrepreneurs that have a hard time selling?

3 thoughts on “Entrepreneurs that Can’t Sell

  1. This is especially hard for technical founders with an engineering background. We are programmed to build and create, not sell. One-on-one help and practice goes a long way so consider hiring a coach in addition to studying up on the topic yourself.

  2. If the product/service really addresses an important pain point for a specific group, just asking open-ended questions to someone in that group, listening carefully, and following-up with related questions is a good start that will eventually get around to the potential customer talking about their pain. Dig-into this pain with more questions, rather than blurting out your solution right away.

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