During my bachelors, I took up finance and marketing. I hate to brag, but I think it was a perfect plan. Because out of all the startups that do fail – those related to financial services had a better chance, to be more precise – 58% were still around after 4 years.
But I believe that lack of great marketing & sales is one reason why startups fail. Which is also why Venture Capitalists and investors are eager to know how much you're going to spend on marketing (assuming you have a sellable product) and what your marketing strategy is, other than “we'll advertise on facebook”.
No sale, no revenue… no revenue, no profit. In short, nothing happens until something is sold.
And here's the thing – when I talk to entrepreneurs, I'm shocked how many of them find it difficult to presell. Yes, PRE-SELL. As if it's impossible.
Get past this invisible script. Preselling is perfectly normal, its how we do business. People pre-pay all the time. Think for a minute…
- Have you (pre)paid for a concert before even attending it?
- Have you gone to a movie and (pre)paid for the ticket before watching it?
- Have you (pre)paid an down deposit or advance deposit or even a mortgage on your house?
- Have you (pre)paid for college tuition beforehand, before even completing the course?
Ok, so what's your problem… is it because we call it “preselling”? Heck no. We're just bad marketers.
Hat Tip to Brian Tracy who taught me about Marketing Vs. Sales (or was it someone else, I can't remember).[Tweet “MARKETING = ATTRACTION (&) SALES = PERSUASION”]
That's all. There's nothing more to it. And if you're going to do something useful after reading this, grab these two books by Robert Cialdini
So if you're going to be doing something useful for your company, start marketing from Day 1. It saddens me to see so many crappy products being sold by great marketing. Imagine what would happen if great marketing was being applied to great products. If you're a builder or creator (like myself) – then hear this:
Your Success = 3x Marketing + 1X Creating.
Or (at least) 75/25.
You think Apple only focused on building a great product, hell no – Steve was a great marketer. So was Larry Ellison (he pre-sold Oracle before it was even built!).
I'm only good at giving advice, not great at implementing – which is why I'm in the hall of fame when it comes to advisors. But hey, that doesn't mean I don't stop learning – I'm still learning about marketing & sales, and everything in between.