Consider this scenario: you’re a new vendor about to enter the market – or you’re an established vendor about to launch a new product, or expand into a new market. You’re new, is the key factor: this isn’t a space you’ve sold product in before.
You’ve been working on your product for a long time, polishing, refining, preparing it for launch: you’re proud of what you’ve made, and you believe you’re ready to put it out there.
But to sell successfully into a new space, three things must be in place.
First, your product provides genuine value. Second, you have the buyer’s confidence and permission to operate in the new space. Third, you’re selling to the right person. Consider the following questions as you plan your entry into a new market.
Are You Providing Genuine Value?
A customer buys a product or service because they have a problem. The way you gain authority is by having the only tool that can solve that problem – and if you can’t manage that, you try and dominate a crowded space in other ways: the most versatile tool, the most affordable, the best. But you’re not going to get permission to operate in a space unless the tool you’re providing is of value to someone. Unless your new tool works better than existing solutions, you’re going to struggle to prove you have any right to be selling it to the buyer sitting across the table.
Can You Sell To The Market?
Your product might be just what your clients will need, but do you have the credibility to pull off the sale? You and a client might go way back – but it’s a big jump from selling trombones to selling SaaS software. Can you reassure your buyer that the same level of quality you brought to previous products can make the jump to a new product line, and that you are competent in the new space? Do you have a credit line of credibility? If you do, do you know how to spend it properly? On entering this new market, are you targeting the sectors you need to target? You might want to sell to massive enterprise companies, but if they don’t know you, and you’ve never been a blip on the radar, then you’re selling beyond the reach of your credibility. Start with the market segment you know – your existing customers – whenever you can before expanding beyond them.
Are You Selling to the Right Person?
If you read our Whether or Which One article, you’ll already be familiar with this question: it is as applicable in a new market as in an old and familiar one. Say you’ve got the credibility you need to enter a market, and your tool is solving a problem for your clients. Are you certain that the person you’re negotiating with is the buyer, or merely an information getter? Examine the information flow – where is your sales pitch going after you’ve pitched it? How many people are between you and the final decision maker? You may need to look for opportunities to equip your champion more effectively, or broaden the conversation to include more people.
What Comes Next
It’s a long list of questions – but the sale of a new product is not something that should be approached lightly. You need a strong sense of your new market and how you are positioning yourself for entry. So think about these questions the next time you sit down with a potential client. Are you walking in there certain that you have the credibility you need? That your tool is the right tool, the best tool? Are you selling to the right person – and showing how you can solve their problems? How are you demonstrating your product has value? By understanding the market you’re entering and your place in it, you can start selling with confidence.