Selling is integral to the survival of startups, and to sell well you need to have both the right strategy and the right attitude. As an entrepreneur, you need to be both your brand and your best salesperson. One entrepreneur who has nailed this is Christopher Hanvey, founder of bold photography and creative consultancy business Shots by Hanvey. Here’s his advice on how startups can sell like champions.

Consider your audience

Without our audience, we don’t survive. They are the reason we do what we do. I know that we sometimes I would like nothing more than to say “World be damned… love me AND leave me alone (and leave your cash on the table)!” But it doesn’t work that way.

So, how do we find our audience? They say it’s all about demographics, but you will never be sustained by an audience found through assumptions. For example, I am a 34 year old male, obsessed with boxing, tattoos and hardcore punk. I also love ballet, opera and Richard Curtis movies... where do I fit?

Your audience has class. They have intelligence. And they are brutal – you have to impress them. So, think laterally, and remember: it’s always about taste. So get online, and get on those streets, and be undeniable. Sell your product with complete conviction and your audience will fall deeply in love with you without even realising. Just like a Richard Curtis movie!

Do things better than before

So what if something’s been done before? Do it better. There is no such thing as an original idea. There are only things that ‘feel’ like an original idea.

The truth is that your industry is probably oversaturated. We all know that. So, how can you break through?

You must get to know it from the inside. You must know your competition. You must know their strengths, and learn from them. You must also know their weaknesses, and learn from them. You must be exhilarated by them.

But don’t be intimidated. Trust your vision. Doggedly cultivate it until your industry adapts to YOU. Then your audience will come.

How to sell like a champion - Shots by Hanvey

Entertain your audience

Content is king. We demand to be engaged, and people need it quickly. So, you had better get good at it. Look at the brands that inspire you. How do they engage you? What are they doing right, and what are they doing wrong? Study them day and night.

As David Bailey said: “People shouldn’t borrow, they should steal”.

So, get creative. Get visual. And get on Instagram. All you need is a phone and wifi. However, that’s not to say that it is easy. There is nothing worse than awfully executed content. So, hire a professional if you feel you can’t do it yourself – it could save your business.

You are your brand

You conceived your brand, gave birth to it, nurtured it from infancy, and got through those tricky teen years. Congratulations - it has now grown to be a thing of beauty, ready to be put out into the world. And it will be judged by EVERYONE. But that’s cool, because your product is a warrior. However, it isn’t indestructible. Your product needs to be protected too, because every product has a weak spot.

I see so many who are embarrassed by their product. I don’t understand that. Why would you put so much of yourself into something, only to abandon it?

It’s not enough to just be the eyes and the ears of your business - you have to be the face of it too. If you’re not comfortable with that, then get comfortable quickly. You’re aspiring to have the greatest product on the market, right? Then believe that you are the greatest. And your audience will believe it too.


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