How to Find Your First Customers When Your Startup is Ready to Sell


The place you should start any Complex Sale is the place where you have the greatest degree of credibility. – Robert Miller and Stephen Heiman, Strategic Selling Authors

You met with a lot of stakeholders in the business. At what level do you start selling? Do you sell high to executives? Or low to the management staff? How many people in the organization need to say yes in order to make a sale? In what order do you need to contact these people?

To analyze which prospects are more likely to buy, you must understand their company’s situation. There are four situations an organization can be in:

  1. The company is in growth mode. They seek optimization looking for more, better, faster, nicer, etc.
  2. The company is in trouble. They wish to bridge the gap between reality and their business objectives.
  3. The company is satisfied with their current solution. They — wrongfully or not — perceive that their current solution meets their objectives.
  4. The company is over-confident. They over-estimate the situation they’re in, misreading the trouble they’re in.

People buy when, and only when, they perceive a discrepancy between reality and their desired results. – Robert Miller and Stephen Heiman

Although it is possible to sell to a company satisfied with its current situation, your first customers are more likely to come from companies seeking growth or a way out of trouble.

You must understand the roles of your prospects to avoid barking up the wrong tree. Would they be the ones buying the solution or would they help influence others to buy?


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