This post was written by our CEO and co-founder, Amal Dar Aziz.
Last week, I chatted with a #poweredbyAMI community member about sales pitches and strategies. I told her about my very first sales call after starting AMI (formerly Maven) and joked about how it was a disaster. Now that it’s been 4 years, I can laugh about how terrible it was, but as I was going through it I remember feeling mortified.
Members of our community often share that they’ve never done any kind of selling before. The same was true for me when my co-founder and I first started AMI. I had experience building products, but I was never on the line to go and sell them; it was “someone else’s job” and always felt outside of my comfort zone as an introvert. Even when I was an Editor-in-Chief of a magazine, I remember giving away free copies because I felt uncomfortable asking people for money.
After leaving my corporate job and devoting 100% of my time to AMI, I quickly learned that knowing how to sell is absolutely necessary to keep your business strong and to continue to grow. When I reflected on that first AMI sales call, I pinpointed 3 key lessons I learned to get to “yes” more easily in the sales process.
Lesson #1: Trying is better than perfect
To prep for my initial call, I had scripted out exactly what I was going to say and how I was going to respond to questions. But even with a roadmap, you can never totally predict what people are going to ask you or how the conversation will go. After a few more conversations, common questions and concerns became clearer to me and I was able to improve my “elevator pitch.” Even though it wasn’t perfect, I had to start with an initial story that I was open to adjusting over time. This experience is also why every Sell with AMI follow-up comes with a default message template: to help our community of direct sellers dive right in instead of agonizing over what to say. The first few exchanges might feel a little awkward, but you will find your groove, learn your strengths, and perfect your “pitch” as you keep starting conversations.
Lesson #2: Focus on building relationships
When I first started pitching our AMI Partnership Program to direct sales companies, I thought I had to focus on what the app does in the first conversation. After all, that’s what people in sales do, right?
I didn’t think to share with the potential customer why they should even care about our app in the first place. This got in the way of my first sales call, especially because I was so focused on getting the app demo right for more than half of the 30-minute call that I didn’t try to learn more about the person I had scheduled my conversation with at all.
Sales is all about relationship building. When I talk to potential customers now, I give a brief introduction but then I spend most of the initial conversation learning about them. What are their challenges? What are their goals? How are they hoping AMI can help? I listen. I use this information to tailor how I talk about the app later, focusing specifically on how it can help them achieve their business goals. This is also why AMI’s follow-up templates to recruit potential team members, for example, don’t focus on making the ask to join immediately. We recognize that it’s so important to first get to know a person that could be a great team member and see how the opportunity can fit into their lives.
Lesson #3: Sales is a numbers game
After my first nightmare call was over, I was so embarrassed that I didn’t do another sales call for weeks; I was scared the same thing would happen again. You may not get a sale the first time you ask or even the third, fourth, or tenth time. Sales is a numbers game. The more you reach out, the more likely you’ll find one — and eventually many — customers. Members of our direct sales community sometimes feel discouraged after sending follow-ups and not getting many responses. This doesn’t mean the effort was for nothing. Try a different message template or communication channels (Is your customer not responding to email? Try a text message). I’ll often send dozens of LinkedIn messages, emails, texts, and calls before getting a response. Sales takes a lot of persistence and consistency, so don’t be discouraged by a “no” or radio silence. It’s all part of the journey that helps you find your best customers, teammates, or hosts.
I’d love to hear more about your sales experiences. What have you learned about sales since you originally launched your business?
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