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Sell Apples to Apple Buyers

By Gui Costin

Selling apples to apple buyers seems obvious enough, right? However, too often sales teams find themselves trying to convince orange buyers to buy apples—leading to dismal results. When you focus on those who are the right buyer and you have a high-quality product that you can effectively explain, you will be successful.

So how do you connect with your “apple buyers?” Before anything else, you need to stay focused on what matters most. Some people call it “keep the main thing the main thing.” Whatever name you want to give it, the concept remains the same. Spend your time focused on who and what matters most: spend time understanding your product and its market.

In sales, you need to be calling on and spending time with prospects who buy what you sell. Doing anything else really doesn’t matter, no matter how hard you try and justify it. If you are in sales and you are not spending time calling on and seeing people who buy what you sell you are wasting your time.

For example, our team is specialized in growing small mutual funds. Other people are experts at raising capital for hedge funds or private equity funds. Who buys mutual funds or who uses mutual funds to invest their clients’ assets? RIAs to start. Over 90 percent of their product structures use are mutual funds followed by ETF’s, separate accounts and then LP’s. Banks, Independent Broker Dealers and Banks also use mutual funds as their primary vehicles.

Therefore, if I were marketing a private equity fund, the RIA channel would not be my primary channel to sell to because it’s not their primary product structure. There are RIAs who do invest in long-term locked up product, but it’s a small total addressable market.

Effective sales processes require a deep and honest assessment of your product, its strategy and approach, as well as your product structure to determine the optimal fit. You can then expand out beyond the primary channel. Remember, the key is to always to focus on what – on who – matters.

If you can focus on the specific activities that lead to seeing people who buy what you sell, the process becomes much easier. You need an effective system for managing your sales process and prospects so you can easily and effectively connect with your “apple buyers.”

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