Securing a new company’s first revenue is a monumental milestone. It is the sum of an entrepreneur’s purpose and a company’s vision/mission which has successfully injected passion into the psyche of every employee, contractor, intern and vendor of the company and most importantly, the VALUE (ROI) of the new product thoroughly understood by a customer.
This customer belongs to a tribe – other customers just like him. He frequents certain local, national or global events. Reads similar periodicals, and is often found on the same social sites online. To sell to this customer – the entrepreneur must go where the tap is already turned on. She must stand next to the customer under the same tap and demonstrate useful knowledge and solidarity with the customer.
The first piece of revenue is often secured by a relationship between the entrepreneur and the customer. Either forged directly or by the entrepreneur identifying complimentary partners that are already selling to her target client – and leveraging the trust that is already present with her prospect. The entrepreneur has listened to the customer in such a way that she’s been able to tune the value story of the product to suit this first customer’s need.
A nimble startup will chew on this sales person’s story of the customer success and tease out the littlest ingredient of success –the dash of salt that moved this prospect to a qualified prospect – the perfect presentation that secured the first $1 to move the prospect to a customer.
The sales person will tell the story in such a way that the marketing team will create the appropriate sales aids (.ppt, brochure, online video, social media splash) to more clearly target the 1st customer’s tribe –the group of folks just like this first customer that are most likely to purchase with a similar value story.
It’s often NOT the same story for the second or third piece of revenue. In fact, an entrepreneurial sales person will be tuning each sales aid to suit their next prospect.
By the time the company has secured the 10th purchase order – patterns should start to emerge – and the initial value creation story has repeatability – a modest sense of repeatability.
This is NOT a game of wills and mathematical formulas. X# calls + x#emails + x# presentations only works in 20yr old companies that have proven and clear products and markets. And by the way – one stellar email has more success than 100,000 lousy ones.
Entrepreneurial sales is a game of listening and making a friend of your future customer – such that he is willing to tell you exactly what you need to present to get his order. And if you listen, he will give you the PO.
Oh, and by the way, once the first order is secured, it is only the first hurdle with your customer. Customer Care is summed up by DELIGHTING the customer with your product/solution in such a way that he tells you how to tune your next release and make it better. He will tell you what additional features will differentiate you in the market. And, if you are lucky, your first customers are ongoing, forever relationships – not one night stands.