Should a startup be honest about their current situation or sell their product’s vision?

If you’re a founder of a startup, you’re the one with the perspective on how great your startup could become. You’re the one with a thriving business supported by a team of competent staff. You find yourself having invented a fantastic product which helps satisfy your customer in a way no other company can. You have loyal customers passionate about your work. But then you take off your rose-tinted glasses and are faced with the reality: your startup is having a hard time, and your product is still lacking. The user interface is just about enough for customers to use it but nothing more.

However, if you base your sales pitch on your company’s current reality, the sales will go downhill quickly. You would scare away customers who could be an excellent match for your company in a few months when your current plans and improvements will be put into action.

On the other hand, if you focus too much on selling the prospect of where you’re heading. You will likely promise too much and deliver too little. Both of these strategies are bound to disappoint the customer and result in a bad outcome, with both sides unhappy.

But how could you find a middle ground between vision and actual situation?

1. Don’t oversell the prospect.

In any pitch or sale, you will feel the urge to paint yourself in the best light. This need is driven by the usual salespeople’s attitude of unwavering optimism. As you want to convince the other party of your idea, you’ll be prone to exaggerating just to reach your goal. In this situation, your mindset is likely too optimistic, which is great because you’re convinced that your product will be amazing. The update you’ll soon make will improve your product, and all these changes happen quickly in your mind.

In reality, it may be months or even years until you reach that goal. The discrepancy between the picture you painted and reality is bound to disappoint your customers. And will put your business in a bad light. 

2. Tell about your vision but stay realistic.

Make sure, to tell the truth about the difference between your current offer and what your customer would expect in the ideal solution. Are the desired features available in the following two to four weeks? If that’s the case, then you may start offering your visions. Just tell them about the future plans as to when the updates come online so they can decide if they want to start the use of your product already.

If the given situation is that your product will be completely ready for use only in a few months. You can still sell it today if you’re honest about the timeline and offer a specific deal. An example of such an offer could be that they sign the contract now. Including that feature X is going to follow in the next X months and additionally present them with a discount for this time. Consequently, it is of great importance to actually introduce these features to the market in the timeframe you promised. 

If you’re unsure still, make sure not to promise too much and instead deliver more than expected. Inform the client that you will give them their features in four weeks when you know you can do them in two. In this case, they’ll be positively surprised if they receive it in two weeks, but you also won’t be in trouble if you should need four weeks for it. 

3. Be patient with letting them buy

Consider not accepting clients’ money until your product delivers to the customer’s expectations. They will appreciate it. If the feature they want takes longer than three months, add them to the contact list and notify them then. This is especially needed if you’re not sure whether you can make the update on time. Tell them now that the product is not yet ready to buy for then and say you’ll inform them once it is. Keep them in your sales customer relationship management and maintain them in your loop. Keep them updated on the progress you’re making and tell them how these updates will help solve their business’ issues.

Once you’ve released the feature, you can come back to your clients and secure the deal. The client will be positively surprised by your effort to get them what they need before taking their money. 

4. Get brand advocates

The clients who are aware that you want the best for them will appreciate you and recommend you to other possible customers. If you give them the feeling that you value their interest over yours, they will appreciate it. This leads to them giving others referrals to you as you didn’t push the sale when it wasn’t a perfect fit, and they appreciate your support in their success. Likely you’ll even get referrals from people with who you ended up not closing a deal as they appreciate your honesty in not selling when it wouldn’t have been the perfect solution.

As a startup, it is incredibly crucial that you honestly care about your clients as this is what is going to make you victorious in the long run and might make you stand out against bigger companies. 

So, here are the three steps you’ll want to follow to pitch your startup successfully

  1. Be real about where you currently are
  2. Prognosticate where your product is going to be in the future
  3. Give them a prospect of where you’re going in the next few years

Bear in mind to be honest, and realistic with your customers about the product. If you’re not prepared to satisfy the customer yet, then don’t accept the deal. Keep in touch with them and close the deal with them later on when you’re confident in giving them what they need.

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