We're ready to start selling our (free) software product to local businesses. Don't worry, we make money another way :)
So, by selling, I mean of course, pitching them and getting them to use the product.
I need some advice on some good sales techniques. I have to walk into these local businesses and get them to listen to my pitch. I've never done this before.
I would buy some books on Amazon. Some of my favorite sales books are by Jeffrey Gitomer. Quick reads and very practical advice and approaches.
Not sure if you have a specific niche or market or if you are canvasing an entire area of local businesses.
In general it helps to have a "warm" call or introduction versus a "cold" one. For example, calling someone out of the blue and pitching them something is much harder than if you send a few engaging mailers first and in those mailers you let them know that you will be calling to discuss.
Then when you call them up you can reference those and that you are following up, and hopefully they will recall it.
Typically they say it takes 7 touches before you make the sale. But if you are giving your service away I imagine it will be a little different.
The best sales advice I can think of is that people don't give a crap about you or your product - they care about themselves and their businesses. So always remember they will be thinking "What's in it for me" ... don't break into all the features right away. Talk to them about what pains they might be having now, how your service could benefit them and make their life better and it's completely risk free to try (since it's free).
For sales presentations, I recommend How To Close Every Sale ; it's a bit dated but it's one of my all-time favorites.
Don't think of sales as just what you say when you're making a sales presentation. Think of everything you need to do before you make the sales presentation (practicing your sales presentation, prospecting: how do you find the decision maker to talk to in the first place) and everything you need to do after (customer support and referrals).
There's an interesting video segment from the Stanford Business school to watch, starting at minute 38:00 and that lasts about 5 minutes. Also, take a look at this answer: Why are Daily Deal sites "hard to scale'? and this one too How do I make an angel investor move faster on a deal? Good luck.
In terms of actually converting leads to sales, I've found the SPIN method to be very effective. Situation, Problem, Implication, Need-Payoff.
Situation : Understand everything about their situation.
Problem : Understand everything about their problem. Why are they looking at your product?
Implication : Grow their problem, force urgency, prove value, show expertise, form relationship.
Need : Keep selling a solution to their situation and problem...