“Many entrepreneurs think they are bothering people. There is no more cold calling, we have access to too much information. We know who we are reaching out to. We can lead with insights.” – Patti Pokorchak, Topic Expert
When we sell a product or service, what we are really selling is an experience, feeling, or the desired outcome. Selling is a skill built on listening, emotional intelligence, and being of service to your clients and connections.
In June, our Startup Women Podcast host Kayla Isabelle sat down with founder Sheena Brady of Tease Wellness and Patti Pokorchak, Sales Coach and Expert. Together, the three explored sales and selling and how women entrepreneurs can set themselves up for success, gain confidence and grow their business.
What are the challenges that come with sales and selling for entrepreneurs today?
Patti Pokorchak: There is a generation generational gap in that they’re women of a certain age, they 40 plus still think sales is sleazy. And their biggest concern is I don’t want to be sales. And I’m living proof that sales are a learned profession. Selling is a process and there is a discipline to it and a skill set, and it isn’t trickery. Sales are being of service to others, you’re there to help. Women need to have more confidence, and they need to know how to sell. So learning how to sell is the biggest barrier.
How can founders be persistent with selling, but not pester?
Sheena Brady: You can’t give up after two reach-outs like you can’t. If there’s anything that I’ve learned, you know, from some of our biggest opportunities at Tease like we’ve been on Dragon’s Den, and we’ve been on The Ellen Show, so two awesome, like PR opportunities for us. Dragon’s Den like we got rejected, like two years in a row before we actually got an audition with the producers. And we just kept on the producers after we were auditioning, to make sure that we actually got in front of the dragons. And then with the Ellen Show, it was I think, like 18 months of like, pitching, again, products over and over again, based on what I know, their niches or demographic and curating the right products and experiences for their customers over and over and over again. And sometimes we would hear nothing. And sometimes you would hear, okay, send a sample and then you send a sample, and then nothing. That persistence is so important.
Patti Pokorchak: To not pester, is always to leave something of value. Never ask how are you? Never say you are following up, never make them feel guilty. Say something like Hey we just did this and it will apply to you, are you interested? Keep it short, keep it simple, you start with baby steps but you always leave value.
How can founders emphasize that what they are selling is more than just a product or a service?
Sheena Brady: I think sometimes people don’t realize like you’re not selling your product, you’re selling the experience that it comes with, right. And maybe that experience is just making someone’s life a little bit easier. With Tease, our tea is adding a level of support in their day. Something that has worked well for us is coming up with creative statements that are so authentically aligned with the experience that you’re trying to give your products like, this is not a cup of tea, like this is your, you know, your secret elixir for sanity. I think that’s so important to remember, you’re not just selling a product, arguably, you’re not even selling a product, you’re really selling the experience, like how can you zero in on what that experience is?
Patti Pokorchak: There are so many emotions, you gotta hit people in their hearts, and less in their heads. You know, I always say you know, for sales and marketing, use more of this and less of this, you know, instead of throwing money at a problem and doing more ads – be more creative.
Want to continue learning from Sheena and Patti? Listen to the episode to hear how Sheena balanced being a solo founder which also meant she was the marketing team, the sales team, and the fulfillment team and hear how you can begin to practise and strengthen your sales muscle.
Resources mentioned in this episode:
Startup Canada Business Owners Tool Box: Sales and Marketing
Read The Sales Bible by Jeffrey Gitomer
Business Development Bank of Canada: Sales
Scotiabank Women Initiative: Advice, Insights and Resources for Women Entrepreneurs