01:33 - Building vs Selling the Product
06:01 - Outsourcing Sales
09:00 - How to Win Your First Customer
11:02 - Tips on Improving Your Sales Pitch
12:19 - A Founder's Unique Role
Julie Maples is a co-founder and managing director at FYRFLY Ventures, where she has made investments in companies such as Boundless, Rosalyn.ai, and Mobi Systems, among others. She also serves on the board of the V Foundation, a non-profit organization that supports cancer research. At The Wharton School, she earned a BS in entrepreneurial management and an MA in Finance.
It may appear strange to consider a founder being involved in the sales process. However, a founder's responsibilities extend beyond just running the business; a founder must make the first sales of their product or service to reap valuable lessons from these sales sessions.
Some founders may enjoy building the product, but they may dislike selling it. It is important to change that mindset and replace the word "sales" with "partnership". It is critical to view your potential customers as evangelists who will be your biggest champions if they like your product or service, especially in early customer meetings. When you satisfy your early customers and learn from them, you learn what works and what doesn't.
Even if you don't think you have a passion for sales, you can change the way you approach it by letting go of the idea that it must be done a certain way. You can simply speak honestly about your vision while listening to the person across from you. If you pass up the chance, you can miss out on important information from early customers that could help you develop a better product or service.
It is also critical to recognize the value of the sales process, because outsourcing sales in the early stages of a business may not be the best move. It deprives you of the opportunity to learn and incurs additional costs. When your company has grown, it is a better time to outsource. As a founder, you'll always be doing sales. When you approach sales as a partnership, you will fall in love with sharing your passion with others as often as the opportunity presents itself.
“You don’t have to love sales; just share your vision authentically and learn from the person across from you.”
“Your early customers are your biggest champions.”
If you would like to listen to our previous episode with Julie Maples on fundraising, check out episode #287.
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