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The Best Sales Advice You'll Ever Receive - "You Have to Give, to Get!"

For early stage entrepreneurs, generating revenue is the most critical part of getting your enterprise solidly underway. But, no matter how good your product or service, selling potential customers, even if you're solving a major problem or addressing a major need, is still difficult if you don't have much of a track record. Even when you've got some evidence of a track record and staying power, you still need to make sure you stand out against competition.

And the best advice to do that - "give to get!"

Now, let's be sure you understand exactly what I'm saying here. This isn't altruism or some lofty ideal. And while, I believe in it, I'm not talking about karma. This is just good business, both on a professional as well as on a personal level. You need to deliver real value before you can receive value in return. It's not a giveaway. It's more an investment. And not all investments bring returns. But if you don't invest, you're guaranteed no return. That's in selling; that's in building a business; that's in creating a relationship.

How does "give to get" really work and how can you make it work for you in your selling process?  It's about investing in and delivering value.

Deliver value to gain awareness and confidence.
Develop a promotional giveaway (this is part of your investment) that gives prospective customers an opportunity to know who you are, what you do and to begin to create credibility. It could be a white paper; it could be a free webinar. Make it a low cost item, but one that delivers real value and provides broad exposure. This is more a marketing function, but, as we've noted previously, they are joined at the hip.

Deliver value before any expectation of a return.
Provide a way for prospective customers to test your product or use your product before they buy it. Yep, they're using the full product for a time without paying you - again, part of your investment. So, you have to offer it to only those prospects with whom you feel you have the best odds of winning over. If your product is as good as you think it is, they will see that as well. Additionally, you should set their expectations and, at the same time, the potential for a sale. For example, "if the product does x, y and z, then we can install it in all five of your locations." Remember, it is "give to get." Your expectation is that, at some point, you will get.  Also remember, not all investments are winners, no matter how well you screen them.

Deliver value beyond what's expected or even contracted.
Once they've become a customer, "give to get," keeps on giving. Over-delivering is key to exceeding their expectations, especially early in the relationship. All you're doing is continuing to invest in the customer relationship. In most cases, it should and will provide you returns in future add-on business with this customer and references and referrals to new prospective customers from them.

Continue to deliver value long after you need to.
This is where the back end of sales - customer service - also joined at the hip with sales, continues to use the "give to get," philosophy. Providing superior response, addressing questions, going the extra mile, solidifies and expands the customer relationship. This is especially critical if your product or service is a subscription model or has a support element to it. It helps you maintain and grow your recurring revenue base.

"You have to give to get," should underpin your sales strategy, from first encounter with a prospect to day in, day out interaction with customers. Give is an investment. Get are the returns. Invest, first and wisely, reap the returns, later and ongoing.

"The Entrepreneur's Yoda" knows these things. He's been there. May success be with you!

As an entrepreneur, have you ever used the "give to get" philosophy?" Tell us how it worked out in your comments.It will help other entrepreneurs!

If you like this post, by all means, share it with your networks and colleagues.

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