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How to sell when you have no experience!

"How long have you been in business?"

This is a dreaded question if the sales person dodges dealing with it up front. Look, if the company is relatively new you must SELL the benefits of the people who started it or you are DEAD!

Do not wait until it comes up as it is a perceived Achilles Heel by the buyers, especially if you appear to be avoiding the issue by not addressing it yourself.

Take the negative and turn it into a positive. Talk about why the business was founded, about the people behind it - their previous experience and reputation IS PART of the experience of the business and in this way even a business without a single account can gain new clients.

Hone this skill, it will work well even after you have high profile accounts. In fact, you can play down your accounts and bring them up AFTER you play up your TEAM and EXPERTISE of TEAM MEMBERS ... the referance to existing clients then is just icing on the cake!

Best of luck always,
Steven Burke

PS I apologize for being "gone" in teh last 6 months. Had to launch a new company and, of course, this was the catalyst of my post. - by Gold Calling
Take the negative and turn it into a positive. Talk about why the business was founded, about the people behind it - their previous experience and reputation IS PART of the experience of the business and in this way even a business without a single account can gain new clients.

Hone this skill, it will work well even after you have high profile accounts. In fact, you can play down your accounts and bring them up AFTER you play up your TEAM and EXPERTISE of TEAM MEMBERS ... the referance to existing clients then is just icing on the cake!
Incredible insight, Steven.

Having been in that situation, the words I developed were: Actually, our company today has been part of an evolution. We originally had the idea....etc.... It caught on and what you see today is a refinement....etc.....My own background in this goes back to....

Lesson: NEVER let the bricks and mortar BE the company!

Again...Great Post, Steven! - by Ace Coldiron
Hey Steven,

Your post made me chuckle, remembering a colleague who started his training and consulting practice 8 years ago. Sitting in front of a Hospital HR director and his team that had taken my friend months to arrange, they asked the big question, "How many workshops have you done?"

He said he did not skip a beat and responded with a nonchalant confidence, "My first one is next week." The room was silent and the HR director said, "I guess you will find out how you do next week." My friend was as cool as a cucumber as he responded, "I was hoping you would send a few folks to report back to you exactly how well I do." The hospital sent the people and became his biggest client for two years.

What I take away from this story is that genuine confidence would be a quality you would want to have plenty of when selling a new idea or business.

Thanks for sharing and making me chuckle.

Rene - by Sales Manager Now
I must agree.

There is no replacing confidence and enthusiasm. One thousand pounds of product can't do what attitude can. - by Gold Calling
I love sales managers nows post - it's so true.

A couple of things spring to mind but I can't quite remember the exact quotes.

The quote - "90% of the the things we worry about never happen"

Or something like this. The point is very often the fear of the question can become a self fulfilling prophecy if you let it. If you go into the meeting expecting the worst when they ask that question then your response will be unconfident and uninspiring.


I am also remembered of a section in the book trusted advisor by david maister (a good read). David describes an early learning experience he had from one of his mentors.

They were in an important sales meeting for a large consulting project when they were asked

"How much experience do you have in this Industry?"

David says he got flustered and was about to try to defend themselves because they had no experience in that Industry. He was about to tell them of all their accomplishments, their size e.t.c. He looked over to his mentor he confidently said:

"Absolutely none. Is that important to you?"

To which they replied:

"No. Now how can you help us with........"

I'm obviously paraphrasing but that section has stayed with me since i read the book many years ago.... - by peter-odonoghue
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