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Monday, September 17, 2012

Selling and closing are essential to the success of business

Money:  You got it and we want it!
One of the best lines I ever heard came from a CFO during a meeting with potential investors.   The investors asked what we wanted.  The CFO responded, “Money, you got it and we want it!”  If this concept is foreign or uncomfortable to you, consider retiring rather than starting a company or small business.  Any entrepreneur focuses on this key goal even if they are altruistic by nature.  There is an absolute requirement for money to start, build, run or even close a business.  That said, there are differences in the type of selling that is required and many customers require extra effort to close the transaction.

Selling something requires showing the person that the product is what they really want and need; i.e. creating that desire for the person to have the product.  This may be a real tangible item sold wholesale or retail like software, drugs, diagnostics, or electronics.  The item must appeal to the individual enough that they are willing to hand over their hard-earned money to pay the full value of the product.

The desire to own something also applies to investments.  Investors seek to earn money by investing and holding their ownership in a business until they can exit making a profit.  Showing the investor how the investment will make money and how your plan will protect the down side is a critical part of the selling process. The investor needs to understand the retail product(s) and share in the vision that retail customers will want the item or service.  Showing the investor how they can earn a multiple on their investment in a limited time is critical to the selling process.

The products may be different but investors and retail customers are just buying a different output from the company.  They each require being shown the benefits of what they intend to purchase.  The investor buys part ownership in the company; the retail customer buys the output from the company.  Selling is so fundamental to the overall process of building a business that being successful requires development of the ability to convince people the product is what they must have. 

Showing people what to buy is part of the cycle.  Getting them to CLOSE is the other part.  Many people have a very hard time giving up their money.  This is the same for investors and for retail customers.  Getting them to realize the value of what they intend to purchase requires lots of handholding and demonstration.  Eventually there comes a time when it is important to press them to close the transaction and handover the money!  This can be a tense moment where all the time spent selling was wasted if the person fails to purchase.  However, some people need that extra push to close.  For example, after months of rounding up investors, informing them of the need to put their funds in escrow or that they will be left out may help bring the financing to a close (one way or another). Even then, it may require constant pressure on the process until the financing is complete.

Selling and closing the transactions are two skills that must be developed.  Applying to heavy of a hand on either selling or closing may result in loss of the sale.  Likewise, not enough may result in the same negative result.  Make sure you work on these skills and your company will benefit and grow.

  Taffy Williams is the author of:  Think Agile:  How Smart Entrepreneurs Adapt in Order to Succeed to via Amazon