- Posted by Steve Gruber
- On March 21, 2017
- 0 Comments
- B2B Sales, B2B Startups
As a startup, closing new business is challenging on a good day and even harder if you are looking for your first few clients. We have and continue to work with startups on a regular basis helping them sell and I have outlined a few of the tips that have worked for us in successfully closing business.
Offer a Free Trial
For one client in the IT software and solutions space, we suggested they offer a free trial to their first client. This was successful and to be honest, it wasn’t just a free trial that ran indefinitely rather the free trial was part of a formal Agreement that, if successful, would see the customer keep the solution indefinitely post trial if it met all performance objectives. What we wanted to do by offering this was not to give something for free but rather provide a “no risk” environment for the customer to try it. If it didn’t work out, we would pick up the solution at no cost. This worked successfully and after less than 1 month of the free trial, the customer has ordered three more units – all of which they are paying for. The other aspect of this was working with the customer for some positive customer feedback in the form of a blog and success story which would help support other opportunities in the funnel.
Take a Percentage of Revenue Generated
We have another client and they were looking to expand their footprint in a new geographic market and one thing they were lacking was results in this new geography and so could not provide prospects with any solid case study references. Through our outbound sales activities we found a prospect that was interested in the Western Canadian offering but was short on budget and concerned that we did not have any results from past customers to share. Our client decided to take a new approach in this market to drive traction and adoption and offered their solution at no upfront cost and rather took a share of the revenue generated. This secured the win, allowed our client to get a foothold in the market, created a user case study backed by metrics and drove a new stream of revenues.
Walk Before Running
In another example, we were able to help a customer secure a new client but due to the fact that their solution was new to the market the customer was hesitant to move forward. We were able to convince the customer to start with one unit first to test drive it and provided it to them on a month by month basis. Over the next two years, the customer found great value in the solution and took 8 more units savings them over $30,000 annually.
What I am trying to highlight by the above examples is that sometimes you need to start small and minimize the risk to your customer to gain the longer-term reward. In addition, you may have to be flexible in your pricing strategy. In a perfect world, we would all love to be paid full price for our products or services but for most startups that sort of thinking makes it tough to acquire new clients and build a track record of success. If you are expecting your customer to take risk on by going with you, you should be willing to take an even greater risk than them.
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