Public Speaking for Sales

For early-stage founders, outstanding technical skills aren’t enough. If you can’t sell, your business won’t succeed.

Fear of sales is a common and understandable thing. Sometimes it requires speaking in front of multiple people. It always requires making yourself vulnerable and setting yourself up for potential rejection.

And rejection will happen, especially when you’re just learning how to sell.

The first five businesses that my partner and I pitched to were restaurants that we patronized. We were very reluctant to go out and pitch to them but were hoping that at least one would say yes.

All 5 rejected us. It seemed like our fears had been fully justified.

But we built up our courage to pitch again. In a few weeks, we pitched our services to my dentist, and this time, we got our first yes!

Persistence paid off.

My recommendation to early founders:

  1. Understand that fear of public speaking and pitching are natural. Most new business founders dread this aspect of sales in particular.
  2. Adopt the mindset that sales is do-or-die for your business and that you have to confront the fear.
  3. Get some inspiration by watching others pitch, especially in your niche. Watch videos on 4- YouTube, and attend in-person sales-related events when you can.
  4. Practice in front of the mirror.
  5. Practice in front of your spouse/partner or a friend.
  6. Go out and pitch at every reasonable opportunity.
  7. Learn from your successes and failures and continue to refine your approach.

Eventually, after lots and lots of practice, sales will start to become second nature.

If you can succeed at sales and your company grows, you’ll eventually want to hire sales support, but don’t immediately hand sales responsibilities over to someone else.

Go through the early struggles of selling first-hand, and then potentially find the right resource to help. As the founder, the early learning experience in sales will be critical in informing all aspects of your business and leadership going forward.

Feras Alhlou

Feras Alhlou

Feras has founded, grown, and sold businesses in Silicon Valley and abroad, scaling them from zero revenue to 7 and 8 figures. In 2019, he sold e-Nor, a digital marketing consulting company, to dentsu (a top-5 global media company). Feras has served as an advisor to 150+ other new startup businesses, and in his current venture, Start Up With Feras, he's on a mission to help entrepreneurs in the consulting and services space start and grow their businesses smarter and stronger.

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