Nervous about selling and persuading clients to buy your products? You are not alone. Many young entrepreneurs and business owners continue to struggle to put out their products to market and to convince prospects.

As many startups increase in Africa, many of those businesses fail before they reach their fifth anniversary. Malawi, Angola, and Uganda are reported to be the leading countries with a high rate of business failures in Africa.

Sales are highly fundamental to the growth of any business. And have always been among the top reasons why businesses fail. Many young entrepreneurs think first a lot about having money than they actually do think and plan about how to make the money, how to make sales happen and who actually to sell to.

On the other side, most of the attempts by millennials have been made commonly on the marketing side; focusing on branding, printing some marketing collateral, having a website and social media accounts up, and sitting back to wait for customers to come and buy.

Marketing supports sales, having a strong sales plan will highly impact the growth of your business than just having an elegant brand display, social media page or marketing collateral.

Today we want to understand more about sales and how we can become better at selling our products.

But what is Sales?

Sales are activities related to selling or the number of goods or services sold in a given time period. The seller, or the provider of the goods or services, complete a sale in response to an acquisition, appropriation, requisition, or a direct interaction with the buyer at the point of sale. – Wikipedia

Photo of women selling bananas in Africa

I look at sales as an exchange of value, more like barter trade, but only that today we are not only exchanging goods for goods or services but also for cash. Having this perspective totally changed how I approach my prospects and how I looked at product development.

Most of the times, startups are working backward, literally doing first things last, I will explain how!

We create the products and ideas first before we think about the value we are going to deliver. We also most of the time understand our core customer segments after creating the products/businesses.

Which is totally understandable, because most of the ideas are born out of passion, obsession, and love. But how can we be more intentional about starting businesses? How can we work the right way when it comes to developing products and making the selling process easier?

Selling is not persuasion

Selling is not persuasion, its helping and it’s all about delivering value. More like barter trade still. Exchanging a product or service to get what you need (Get paid). Unless we create with this mindset and thinking, we are most likely to take a little longer to break-even and to profitability.

African young man selling water melon

Customers buy because they are facing a challenge/problem, so they head out to look for the best possible solutions to their problem, as long you position yourself among these possible solutions, you are most likely to make more sales with ease.

Of course, this can be coupled with some marketing and advertising tactics, but trust me, if you are solving a real problem, you will be amazed how many referrals will come along your way; and this can highly help to reduce your marketing budget and spend, especially in the early stages of your business.

Does this mean we should not persuade clients?

No, persuasion is part of your marketing and advertising tactics, but it’s not a sales plan. Persuasion can be in many forms, for example, radio ads, Facebook ads, or giveaways.

On the other hand, your sales plan should include specific targets that need to be achieved over a period of time, target market, your unique selling point/product or value, and also the tactics (persuasion/marketing/advertising) that will be used to achieve your sales goals.

In conclusion

Sales is a strong part of your business if not, it is the heart of your business. Without any sales, you are definitely going to close your business, unless you are running a charity organization and you solely rely on donations.

But also, acquiring donations requires selling your idea and vision to people before they can give, so literally; if your charitable organization is not solving a problem, getting donations can be tough. It’s all about the value you are delivering.

If we can be more intentional when it comes to starting businesses, developing products, delivering value, and solving problems; we can make our sales process much easier. Good luck with your business.

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