Questions for You
How comfortable are you asking for things? How comfortable are you with silence?
What two words would people use to describe your conversation skills? How concise are you in your description of the business?
What are the impact questions you should be asking your customers? How will your product make a difference?
Listen to the founders featured in Founder Genius talk about their approach to these conversations. How can you ensure that you really listen to your customer?
Questions for Your Team
What two words would you use to describe your founder's conversation skills?
When you first considered joining the team, how did the founder convince you that this was an endeavor worth joining?
What could he/she have better described the business?
Tools and Exercises
Qualify (PDF): Qualifying is simply asking questions. Budget, timeline, and decision-maker are the holy trinity of qualifying questions. But every entrepreneur will have additional qualifiers that must be answered to close a sale. Technology fit, team compatibility, cultural considerations, and risk tolerance are just several qualifiers that must be addressed.
Create a Sales Trailer: Sales Trailer(℠) - A question you'll often be asked is "What do you do?" And you should have an answer to that. I call it the "Sales Trailer(℠)." The Sales Trailer(℠) is the 'movie trailer' of your business. Every day, someone asks me "What do you do?" And I say; "I help companies build and tune their sales engine." That's my Sales Trailer(℠). It's tight, clean, and it gets the job done. I call this an "on-ramp to conversation." It's not meant to tell someone everything about my business…that's too much. It's simply meant to start a conversation in an engaging way. Entrepreneurs often say WAY too much (I know I do!). The Sales Trailer(℠) is a way to be engaging, concise and open a conversation. That begins the selling process!
James, Geoffrey. 2 Sentences That Engage Customers. Inc. Magazine. June 3, 2013.
Deighton, J. and Das Narayandas. Siebel Systems: Anatomy of a Sale, Part 1 Case Study. Harvard Business School Case 503-021, 2003.