You’re reading an excerpt of Founding Sales: The Early-Stage Go-To-Market Handbook, a book by Pete Kazanjy. The most in-depth, tactical handbook ever written for early-stage B2B sales, it distills early sales first principles and teaches the skills required, from being a founder selling to being an early salesperson and a sales leader. Purchase the book to support the author and the ad-free Holloway reading experience. You get instant digital access, commentary and future updates, and a high-quality PDF download.

For the first-time sales pro, the scale of person-to-person interaction is a massive adjustment. Think about how many distinct people you typically interact with in a given week. If you’re like most professionals, it’s likely a constellation of one or two dozen people with whom you have frequent, ongoing interactions that build over time and with whom you have substantial history.

With sales, it’s the opposite. If you’re doing it right—see comments above about the importance of activity orientation—you’re having dozens of new interactions a week, and maintaining a pipeline of anywhere from a few dozen to north of a hundred ongoing, concurrent conversations.

It’s a substantial change of pace, and it also puts substantial stressors on you to be able to quickly build and maintain rapport with a new contact, while juggling key deal information, over the cycle of the sale. (Why do you think the weather and sports teams are the sales pro’s best friends? Instant conversation topics.) It puts the onus on the sales pro to keep readily accessible details of these individuals, their organizations, and their pains, as well as general rapport notes—which, of course, is not possible for a normal human brain. It can be exhausting, and it can be taxing. That’s why record keeping and CRM excellence (more on this later) are paramount.

This isn’t to say that these relationships are fake or that they’re not valuable or meaningful. They just demand a different way of interacting with other professionals than what you’re likely used to. To make the most of them, and manage them correctly, requires a change of mindset.

Assume the Sale Is Inevitable, and It Just Might Be

Approach your sales conversations with the stance that the prospect will inevitably be a customer. This is more applicable when you’re at the scaling stage, when it is now clear that the solution that you’re presenting has product-market fit. But it can be helpful even at the earlier stages of your go-to-market period.

What do I mean by a mindset of inevitability? If you have indeed qualified an account as a good fit, then the mindset should look something like this: “This is going to happen. It makes sense for you. This solution is the future, and it will make you more successful now and going forward. So we can do it now or we can do it later, but it’s going to happen, either with me or with a competitor of mine.”

A few helpful things come out of this mindset: First, it frames the conversation as when instead of if. This naturally makes the conversation more consultative and focused around business needs—“This solution exists to solve this problem, and we have validated that you have this problem, so clearly this solution makes sense. Let’s figure out when and how it should be implemented.” Second, it provides a confidence boost to the sales professional, related to the necessary expertness and fearlessness that we’ll talk about next. Third, it sets the groundwork for an ongoing relationship with the prospect; even if they don’t close this time through the funnel (and odds are, they won’t), they will be prepped for the next pass. It will also reinforce your own record-keeping processes, since you’ll know that recording these interactions will enable your future self the next time this prospect passes through the funnel.

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