One of challenges that many startups faces is not actually launching, but is selling product/service to customers. The Summer Venture Program Adviser, Jeff  Schiebe recently gave insightful tips for selling your business.

Selling with Jeff

When entrepreneurs sell their products and/or service, they should be able to answer the following three questions: what are you selling, who are you selling to and why/when would they buy it. Answering the first question, the answer is not necessarily limited to choosing between product or service but also can be a concept, idea, or prototype. Possible answers for the second question can be industry, market segments, or others. Last, customers buy product/service when they find a product that its value proposition solves their pain point.

According to Schiebe, selling is like playing a game of baseball. When selling, one cannot simply run into home plate in one step unless he or she hit a homerun. Every business model cannot always get a homerun. First base is suspect, the second is prospect, the third is qualified and the home plate is customer.

The first big obstacle is getting to first base –suspect. This is the discovery process, when entrepreneurs talk to potential customers, understand their needs, see if the value proposition resonates, and develop an understanding of the market. The key to this process is to get out in the field and talk to people face-to-face.

Reaching the first base is when entrepreneur determine the customer’s pain point. Knowing customer’s pain point helps developing the value proposition for customers.

In order to attract buyers, entrepreneurs need to determine motivation, budget, and decision process to ensure whether they are qualified to sell to these buyers in terms of delivery, quality, and service. If the service level is lower than what buyers expect, the entrepreneur is not ready to sell.

Entering the home plate is when customers understand the value. This is a stage which buyers realize the value proposition, solve their problems and decide to purchase what is being sold.

Idea, prototype, or actual product reveals its value when it is selling. Be confident in your product/ service and know your value proposition. With this knowledge and your credibility, you will succeed in selling