Start selling before you even have a product

Will brings up an excellent point in his blog post: You Dont Need to Have a Product to Sell a Product. This is the problem that I have faced as a young CMO and I’m sure it is a problem that many of you are facing.

“How do I sell something that I don’t have?” It’s a tough question to answer and Will writes up a great strategy for it. I will tell you exactly how I’m doing it in order to give you a more concrete answer to your question.

Make sure your potential client understands your product

Our product is FD World, which is a virtual world that makes THIS world more productive. What does that even mean? Well, I have found that the first rule of marketing is to make sure that your target market is able to completely understand what it is that you are selling them. In this case, we are creating a virtual world. It is very easy for me to describe what I am doing to someone in the Y Gen. All I have to say is, “In essence, we are building a 3D Facebook where students can network with other students and professionals.” My generation is able to easily understand this. However, the company representatives that I am pitching this to are not in my generation and have never experiences virtual worlds. I solve this problem by describing my product in terms that they are able to understand. I have effectively used our visual concepts that we have developed in order to create a concrete image in the minds of our target market.

Start from the bottom and work your way up

Big corporations have a lot of bureaucracy. If I waited to start selling my product once we built it, it would take another 6 months to get past all of the red tape that most corporations have. This is why selling early is crucial. The easiest way I have found to do this is approach the people at the bottom who are eager to jump at the chance to start something new and contribute to their company. Our product is very relevant for recruiters, so I go to many career fairs in order to meet recruiters and to tell them about our product. Once I get their contact information, I immediately follow up and push to schedule a meeting where I can delivery my pitch.

Persistence pays off

How long does it take you to reply back to your friends’ emails? These are your friends and you still sometimes take a while. Don’t be discouraged if your contact at a company never gets back to you. The best thing for you to do is to stay positive and email them a follow up email. As a general rule, I usually send 3 emails before I give them a call. All your emails must give the feeling that you’ve been emailing back and forth already. Don’t write “hey I haven’t heard back from you”; instead, you should write, “hey how was your weekend? Mine was amazing because I had lots of fun and was productive.” Marketing is a numbers game; the more people that you reach out to, the higher the chance of converting a lead.

I want to thank Will for blogging on such a great topic and you should definitely check out his site.