Sales challenges are unavoidable in any business, regardless of industry. From curating an effective sales process to pinpointing your ideal customer, solving these sales challenges is crucial during the early stages of your company.
As business leaders themselves, the members of Young Entrepreneur Council have faced their fair share of sales obstacles when starting their companies. Below, nine members discuss challenges new businesses often face in selling their product or service and how they can work to overcome those difficulties.
Young Entrepreneur Council members share obstacles you may face when starting your business.
Photos courtesy of the individual members.
1. Identifying Why People Buy
The biggest obstacle most companies face early on is truly identifying why people buy. We create businesses and products because of a passion or a skill set or a gap in the market, but forget to truly understand why someone would buy it. People buy based on emotion and justify with logic. You have to be able to tie your product or service into the emotional connection. It doesn’t matter who your ideal client is—it’s emotional. – Ryann Dowdy, Uncensored Consulting, LLC
2. Misunderstanding Your Numbers
Many new entrepreneurs focus too hard on their sales funnels, marketing campaigns and branding while paying little attention to their finances. Knowing your numbers is half of the selling process. Understanding your margins, landed costs and customer acquisition costs is the only way to truly scale your business and succeed. Without a proper understanding of the sales numbers, you have no way of knowing which products are profitable and how much you can spend to increase your brand awareness. Most things in business come down to the numbers. You should eat, sleep and breathe your sales numbers. Spend the time learning about basic margins and profitability ratios. This will help you make better decisions on purchasing, pricing and selling your products. – Shaun Conrad, My Online Accounting Course
3. Differentiating Your Sales Pitch
A big obstacle new companies face is how to differentiate their sales pitch. When you already have a well-established brand, the product sells itself. However, as a newer entrant into the market, you have to invest the time in sales collateral and sales enablement tools to make it easier to break down any buyer reservations and generate more sales. When you have prospects who are unfamiliar with your business, you have to work harder to supply them with the assets and confidence they need to choose you over more-established competitors. – Firas Kittaneh, Amerisleep Mattress
4. Attracting The Right Clients
You want to grow your business and close sales, but you aren’t confident enough to refuse work that isn’t aligned with your core service offering. As a result, you do work you don’t want to do and serve people who might not be a good fit. My advice is to know your target client and start getting comfortable saying “no.” See how saying “no” creates bandwidth for you to gain right-fit clients. If you do feel desperate and accept work that isn’t a strong fit, you need to acknowledge that you are making a compromise. Try not to let it change the course you are paving for your new business. – Trivinia Barber, PriorityVA
5. Managing Processes
Early-stage businesses need to have clearly defined processes, signature services and a thorough understanding of how their budget is bringing in leads. Additionally, knowing how they measure and define success is key. Define processes and have a clear understanding of what your company does and how it does it. Once you have that, some tools can help manage those processes, such as Asana or ClickUp for remote teams. It’s also important to get buy-in from employees on the new tools and processes. They need to understand why the changes are happening and how these will benefit their work and productivity. After all, they’re the ones who will be implementing the new processes. Finally, it’s crucial to be patient. Implementing new processes takes time and won’t happen overnight. – Tonika Bruce, Lead Nicely, Inc.
6. Growing Profitable Email Lists
Many new business owners struggle with growing their email lists. If you’re in this position, don’t worry. There are quite a few ways you can overcome this issue. I suggest creating a lead magnet, which is an exclusive piece of content or promotion. In order to take advantage of this deal, visitors will need to subscribe to your email list. The key to making this strategy work is to make sure the content or offer is something your audience actually wants. I create content for our readers based on their unique goals and pain points. I also include promotions for specific products on targeted landing pages. If you follow this advice, you’ll slowly begin to see your email list grow. – John Brackett, Smash Balloon LLC
7. Creating The Perfect Offer
Creating the right type of offer plays a pivotal role in how well you sell, and crafting your offering so that it compels people to buy is very challenging. Many new business owners just slap a price tag on a product and hope that people will buy. However, you need to learn how to bundle your product with other things. Doing so will have your audience believing that they’re getting an amazing offer at a great value. You could bundle your product with a guarantee, free tutorials, free upgrades, servicing and more. Spend time learning to bundle a solid offer and then test it out. Doing so will ensure that you create the best chance of driving great sales from the start. – Blair Williams, MemberPress
8. Gaining Consumer Trust
Gaining trust is definitely one of the greatest obstacles during the early stages. At the end of the day, you don’t have a track record you can refer to, often both individually as well as with your product. B2B founders especially have to persuade risk-averse business managers that they deserve to be tried. There is no magic sauce beyond two timeless pieces of advice: Work harder than anyone else, and never lose your humanity. People always buy from people, and no matter how good your solution is, you need to be able to build personal relationships and gain the trust of your counterpart. Act with integrity, be true to your word and don’t make any promises you can’t keep. – Brian Pallas, Opportunity Network
9. Agreeing On The Budget
Getting an agreement on the budget was a tough obstacle to overcome when our agency was in the early stages. Nothing can derail a deal faster than a mismatch between expectations and reality when it comes to budgets. Most of the time, prospects were reluctant to share their budgets, and most of them simply did not know them, as they are asked to collect quotes from several providers in order to identify how much their company will be willing to spend. What I found the most helpful was educating people on how to evaluate creative services (our area of expertise) as a whole and being transparent with them about our place within the rate ranges. When starting out, knowing your worth and being transparent and logical about price formation is key during these conversations. – Daria Gonzalez, Wunderdogs