The Often Overlooked Ingredients
For many social enterprises sales can be a function of the business that is under nurtured and for some it is completely forgotten. There can be a misconception that just because you are doing something good everyone will want to get on board and purchase your product or use your service. There is also a misconception that selling and sales is pushing products on consumers and employing forceful tactics. We want to tell you that sales is not a dirty word, but in fact it is the lifeblood of growing your business! And growing your business means growing your impact.
When you break it down sales is about promotion and connecting the dots between your product or service and what the customer’s needs are. The reality is that it doesn’t matter what sector you are in you have to promote your offering, reach your target audience and convince them that they need what you have. There are many ways to sell your product in an open, honest and ethical manner.
One of the great things about social businesses is that they often have a great story to tell. It’s about giving back to society and filling a particular need. Don’t be afraid to tell your story. It’s one of the easiest ways to get people engaged with you and your business. Your purpose and your motivation to do what you do is a unique differentiator. People want to know why you’re different and why you do what you do, so share it around.
Nail your elevator pitch. Time is precious so you need to be able to succinctly communicate your ideas to grab people’s attention. You need to be able to convey your message in 30 seconds. A successful elevator pitch will buy you another 3 minutes to keep engaging and develop your story. A solid elevator pitch will get you ready for an opportunity whether it be a new client, partner or investor.
If the idea of going out and pitching your business or product makes you squirm find someone that can help you sell. This could be a mentor to give you some coaching or a business partner who can complement your technical or business strategy skills. Many great entrepreneurs are introverts including Mark Zuckerberg, Warren Buffett and Steve Wozniak. Steve’s business partner, Steve Jobs brought energy and creativity and coupled with Wozniak’s technical genius they founded Apple.If you aren’t comfortable promoting your business keep practicing but also make sure there is someone on your team that can run with the promotional activities and bring your business to life.
Telling your story and promoting the business should not only be the role of the business’ founder. Everyone can sell. It is important that opportunities to build connections and promote your product are maximised, especially during the startup phase. Ensure there is someone who can lead by example whether it’s the founder or dynamic partner who can encourage and support other staff. When meeting new people, whether it’s at a networking event or a family bbq, don’t be afraid to talk about what you do and start to build a following.
As a social business you have a great story to tell, which is an added feature of your offering. Keep the message simple and easy to communicate what you will find is that word of mouth will help to spread your message and it is the best endorsement. Don’t be afraid to collect testimonials and use it for your promotional activities. Don’t forget to get out there and always be closing.