I know the sales process pretty well — I started my career in sales selling cellphones. No, not smartphones. I’m talking about those clunky things people used to keep in their cars. Hey, at the time, it was the highest tech thing out there.
Over the years I made the jump from sales to media, getting my start on local TV and radio before moving to the national stage of CNN and the TODAY Show. But, as not just the talent but a small business owner and entrepreneur, I’ve had to continue being the top sales person on my team.
Whatever you’re trying to sell, whether it’s concert tickets, a food truck service, a smartphone app — it can be anything, really — my No. 1 tip is to make sure you’re selling to the right audience before you pivot.
Through public speaking, television and events, I’ve had the opportunity to speak with tens of thousands of entrepreneurs over the past decade. So, I’ve seen the people make the same mistake again and again. The sales process isn’t working, they’re getting “no’s” left and right, so they give up and try something totally new and different. Sometimes people go years changing up their strategy every few months without ever making a serious dent in sales.
Now look, there’s never a magic bullet with sales — sometimes, those “no’s” are because it isn’t a great product. But, other times, you need to ask yourself, “Am I pitching to the right audience?” Because you could have the right product, the right idea, the right service, but be pitching it to the wrong audience.
Here’s a recent example I encountered: While pitching my own talk show, I assumed that the networks would want it. One of the major broadcasters, or even an obscure cable network if I had to go that route. So, I was taking my show to network executives who would make decisions about whether or not to buy in on my idea.
We got a lot of rejection, and a lot of people saying “no.” So, I had to start thinking, Is it me? Am I bad as talent? Is it my idea? Is this a crappy idea for a show?
But, once I thought about it, I realized I was pitching it to the same audience over and over again. I was assuming that the only way to get a show was if a network picked it up.
What did I do instead? I changed my audience. Instead of pitching it to networks, I started pitching websites, Facebook pages, YouTube channels — basically, anyone with a large enough audience to help me make the same impact as being on broadcast television. Because at the end of the day, it wasn’t the networks or the executives I needed to reach, it was the people, and I just had to find a different way to get there.
That talk show, the Never Settle Show, launches April 5. You can learn more here.