You can have the most amazing idea for a product or service, but if you cannot sell yourself, you’ll never succeed.
Sunny Lu Williams, Vice President of Business Development at Telamon, shared her tips on sales strategies at our May 18 Startup Study Hall. She answered five more questions for us while flying between client meetings (thank goodness for in-flight wifi):
1. What do you enjoy most about your work in sales with Telamon?
“I oversee our Medical Solutions division as General Manager. My favorite thing about business development at Telamon is the opportunity to work cross-functionally with each of our sister Divisions—Telco, Auto, Business Process, and Energy. It's an incredible learning experience and I'm motivated by our dedicated teams, the breadth of knowledge, and the genuine impact and innovation we provide to each industry.”
2. You mentioned you were not a fan of the 30 second pitch. Could you explain again why?
“It limits the presenter. Yes, intros need to be clear and concise, but they don't all need to be short and sweet. Not every idea is simple. It requires a true interest to make a partnership. Making it too simple and a "soundbite" doesn't necessarily benefit the presenter nor does it benefit the receiver. What did I hear versus what did I want to hear? At some point, you're going to have to go deep. Might as well understand if your potential customer/partner is a good listener before you do so.”
3. What do you think is the biggest mistake entrepreneurs make when they start to sell their product or service?
“They sell only the product or service. Entrepreneurs are valued because of who they are. We prize entrepreneurs because of their ability to innovate. A successful entrepreneur on product one, service once, company one will always be asked— what's next? The impact is in the person taking idea to concept to product/service. Entrepreneurs should never shortchange themselves. Who are you? Why are you doing what you are doing? Founders First. One success breeds more opportunities for success. Don't get so caught up in selling product/service that you forget to present yourself.”
4. Any quick tips on how entrepreneurs can start conversations that makes prospective clients want to know more?
“‘I am... I did...which lead me to...and then I created my company.’ Everyone likes a good story. Something to believe in. Something to aspire to. Entrepreneurs have to drive passion, belief, and shared understanding. The prospective client then responds with I understand... I want to help you with...which leads me to ...this action.”
5. You talked about how entrepreneurs should pitch until they "fail." How often should entrepreneurs revise their pitch?
“Pitch to know your customer. Not everyone subscribes to the same messaging. Revise your pitch with every conversation. You have to understand the audience—whether that's an audience of 1 or 100. There must be consistent elements to the pitch—but the intro, sequence and conclusion depends on your audience. Customers in various industries, experience, prior background have different vocabulary—pitch to many audiences of 1 before pitching to audiences of 100. Treat every interaction as a focus group/feedback session on you, your company and your product/service.”
Get to Know Sunny Williams
Favorite Quote: "This is a life perspective really"
"If it falls your lot to be a street sweeper,
Sweep streets as Raphael painted pictures,
Sweep streets as Michaelangelo carved marble,
Sweep streets as Beethoven composed music,
Or Shakespeare wrote poetry."
- Martin Luther King Jr.
Favorite Business Book: Blink/Malcom Gladwell (“It's not a business book per se ... but it's an excellent philosophy on business interaction and prospective relationships.”)
Favorite Female Businesswomen:
Jane Addams “Philanthropist, civil servant, businesswoman who defined fundraising/venture philanthropy/social entrepreneurship and founded Hull House in the early 1900's in Chicago"
My Grandmother: She is the “second daughter of a second wife in old Shanghai that ended up being a police woman, real estate magnate, entrepreneur and savvy investor...still alive and kicking today...walks minimum of 10K steps per day and she's still investing!”