“Ask for money, you’ll get advice. Ask for advice and you’ll get money”
In the early days of your startup, the ultimate validation is money.
It’s worth repeating: people need to vote with their time and money.
That’s how you know there’s a real market for your product.
End-users might think your technology is cool, but they don’t often make financial decisions.
If your products and services cater to the b2b industry many times, the people you need to convince are C-level executives.
They’re always asked for cash
They get pitched every day.
You are not the only one who needs their time and decision
Your goals aren’t aligned to theirs.
If you are like me, trying to make a living off pitching to C-level executives, try making some tweaks.
In todays selling environment it is an understated fact : you have to stand apart.
#1. Ask for their expert advice
Yes, instead of pitching, like the hundreds out there, ask for their advice.
Cold-calling executives doesn’t work if you don’t know about the market.
To sell anything effectively, you need to understand their needs and how they buy.
When you reach out to them, say:
“We’re building a new technology and I could use your input. You’re an industry leader and I really value your expertise. I’d love to jump on a quick 15-minute call so that we can build this technology in a better way.”
Here’s why this strategy is effective:
You’re appealing to their ego.
People like to be experts and they like to give advice.
You’re showing them that their advice might directly influence the end product.
They’ll get exactly what they’re looking for with this new technology.
This isn’t a bait and switch, though.
You should truly want their advice.
You need to learn more about them.
They could be future customers, so you want to make sure that they’re happy with your solution.
If you get on a call, ask questions so that you understand:
- Who they are
- How they think
- How they buy
- How they would describe your product
- How they would use your product
- What they’ve identified as positives and negatives about your product
If they’re not ready to buy, don’t jump into your pitch
#3. Ease them into a Close
When you ask for money too early, they’ll likely get defensive and the relationship won’t go anywhere.
Instead, ask to stay in touch:
“Can I keep you updated on our progress? In a few months, once we’ve checked off some of the things we discussed today, should we schedule another 15 minutes?”
Most executives will say yes.
When they do, it’s your responsibility to keep them in the loop. The more they hear from you, the more invested they’ll feel, especially if you can deliver on their feedback.
If the call goes better than expected and they’re excited about the future, go for the virtual close
Ask questions like
- If you were me, how would you try to market this?
- How would you try to sell to people?
- How would you raise money?
- What would it take for you to buy our product?
Push them out of their role and into yours.
If the fit is great, say, “I get the sense that you want to buy this product. Would you like to be an early customer?”
There’s a right time for this, but if the opportunity is there, go for the close.
#4. Relationship takes top priority
In the early days of your startup, you need to build strong relationships, create a product with market fit, and generate cash.
Reaching out to C-level executives isn’t always easy, so make the best out of every opportunity.
You need to wrap each opportunity and every contact of yours in a cotton ball and mark the bottle “fragile”.
It takes a few words, your body language, your demeanour to go wrong and lose a relationship.
Relationship also works on compounding.
You keep investing a little, it grows into something spectaular over time.
Author bio: Karmesh Ghosh, is Sales professional; has been hustling, and closing deals for the past 1.5 decades. Avid reader and loves foreign language movies. Writes on sales and marketing strategies for small and medium businesses. Currently, lives in Mumbai. Loves food and fast bikes.