HomeHow to Start a Business: Making Your First Sale

How to Start a Business: Making Your First Sale

You’ve got the vision, the hustle, the product, branding and the marketing. Now it’s time to bring it all together! Here’s how to make your first sale.

How to Start a Business: Making Your First Sale

When you’re starting out on your entrepreneurial ventures, there’s nothing that lights your fire quite like the vision of your first sale. Through the late nights, early mornings, failed experiments and hair-pulling mistakes, there is still the solace that comes with knowing that someday, somebody is going to buy this thing.

Then ideally, that somebody turns in many bodies and the someday turns into 7 days a week. That’s the power of momentum, the momentum that can only happen once that first sale is made.

So how do you get there? You do your research, connect with your circle (and beyond) and believe in your brand wholeheartedly.

Whether you’re selling online, in-store or offering a service, there are fundamental pillars to salesmanship. Today, you’re going to learn what they are.

7 Tricks of The Trade to Make Your First Sale

Know who your audience is, and what they want

Knowing your customer back to front is the best way to secure sales.

In a consumer-centric world where 76% of customers expect companies to understand their needs and expectations, you need to be agile and you need to be resourceful.

Before anything, your product or service needs to fill a need. It needs to soothe a pain point and appeal to a specific market. You may think that you want everybody and their son to invest in what you have to offer, but you would be missing the mark.

The most successful salesman knows their audience and pivot all of their strategies around that knowledge.

Maybe you do know your audience well because you researched before launching your business. But the work is not over, you need to know how they like to be sold to.

Are they skim readers? Do they prefer texts over phone calls? Are they too busy handling four children to listen to a lengthy pitch? These answers are important for creating a well-rounded sales strategy, so revisit your Ideal Customer Profile and dig into what makes them go from a potential customer to a converted one.

Go to Market

Do you know what doesn’t sell? Silence.

If you expect your customer to stumble across your product on their own, you’re going to be mightily disappointed. As a business owner and budding entrepreneur, you’ll likely wear many hats. One of these hats will be the hat of the marketer.

Your marketing strategy is completely linked with how well you know your customer and you may find that different members of your community need to be approached in different ways. No matter if you’re an online retailer or sell directly from your store, your digital presence is essential to making your first sale.

Jump on the Socials

Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Reddit. Which one holds the most of your audience's attention? Taking into consideration that 81% of people use Instagram to research brands, services and products, you would be missing out on a huge chunk of engagement if you aren’t findable.

Of course, you can use social media for paid advertising which helps you bring more traffic to your page. You don’t need to do this straight away, but it’s a good idea to put it into your budget.

Want to learn more about doing it for the ‘Gram? Read our article on how to start an Instagram page for your business.

Email Marketing

We would suggest incorporating email marketing into your pre-first-sale marketing. It’s classy, it’s personal and it’s a fantastic top of the funnel avenue to generate leads and customer retention. Take time to start gathering your mailing list and sending out exciting content surrounding your product launch.

Remember that you’ll be walking the fine line between spam and cool, relatable content. Send out content that is informative, personal and downright delightful.

Word of Mouth

The way YOU talk about your brand is marketing. Just because it doesn’t take the form of a creative campaign doesn’t mean it won’t make a difference.

We know it can be hard to talk about your new business because you don’t want to hype it up only to be met by failure. But failure is your greatest ally in this game, so get the word out and start talking with people about your business journey and how you think your product is going to make a difference.

You may find that by spreading the word, bloggers and business enthusiasts reach out to you to write about your product. They’re always looking for content, so make sure your brand is known as the new kid on the block.

Offer More Than the Sale

People respond to businesses that give a damn, but 54% of consumers don't believe that companies have their best interests in mind.

That’s a lot of people you get to prove otherwise. Before you start selling, start sharing. Cement yourself as a brand that freely shares what they know and what they’ve learned for the benefit of your audience. For example, if you’re in the skincare industry, you could write content or create videos on gut health and skin health, staying safe from the sun during summer or opening a discussion about diversity within the make-up industry.

It’s all about humanising yourself and giving your audience some food for thought instead of shoving a sales pitch down their throat.

You can find cool content ideas by diving into the hashtags your audience and competitors are using. Learn more about this strategy in our article: How to Use Hashtags Like A Pro to Grow your Business.

Be Open to the “No”

This is a big one in our books and a lesson every entrepreneur should hold close. Be open to the no. Why? Because a no doesn’t always mean no – it just means not right now.

Your customers have bills to pay and mouths to feed and maybe they’ve been saving for a product this month that just doesn’t happen to be yours. That’s okay, it means that you need to spend more time nurturing (not harassing) that potential client for when the time is right.

There are important lessons to be learned when somebody decides to decline your product or service. Make notes and take it in your stride.

Make Use of Your Network

Sure, you may feel like it's cheating to market to the people you know but they could be the starting point you need. A sale to a family friend may not feel as invigorating as a sale to a stranger, but money in the bank is money in the bank.

You don't even need to push sales onto them. Asking them to donate a share or review is worth a lot and will instantly cast your net further. Letting your network in on your journey is also a great way to hold yourself accountable: once they know launch day is approaching, there’s a slim chance of you backing out or postponing.

Choose your Front of House

If you’re selling your product directly from your store, you need to be wise about who you choose to run your front of house. We know it can be hard to hand over the responsibility of sales to another person, but it will be necessary as you begin to grow.

The person who runs your front of house needs to know your product inside out and be able to answer any questions. They will be personable, polite and present themselves well. Essentially, they become the face that local shoppers will associate with your brand, so think carefully about who your brand would be if it was a person and hire accordingly.

If you want to give staff quick access to product information and seamless sales technology, you should check out our POS systems here.

Get the Best Sales Technology

Card machines improve sales. They’re safe, quick and cashless: the ideal payment solution for your customer. As a business owner in 2021, you need to stay on top of how people prefer to pay. And they prefer to pay by card. A card machine gives you the edge you need to be considered a legitimate and secure business.

If you’re worried about high transaction costs and rental fees, we recommend you check out our card machines. At iKhokha, our card machines empower everyday business owners to take control of their sales. No monthly rental fees, no contracts and low transaction rates.

To find out more about what our card machines can do for your business, get in touch with one of our leading customer support members. Simply call 087 222 7000 to find out more.

Taking all of the above into consideration, we wish you all the best on your sales journey. Be yourself, create value and know that you’ve created something fantastic. We trust we will be crossing paths soon!


state-of-the-connected-customer-report-second-edition2018.pdf (sfdcstatic.com)

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