Sales 101 for Start-ups

Jeff Stewart, the CEO of UrgentCareers, and I gave a seminar last nite in Manhattan on the topic of Sales 101: How to jump-start sales in your start-up. It was a very interactive discussion, and I hope that everyone attending benefitted from the presentation.

I think the most valuable point that was discussed was Jeff’s comment that since now technology has gotten so much cheaper to deploy, by significant orders of magnitude, your biggest expense is your sales team – and making mistakes here is your biggest drain on capital.

Many people asked for the slide deck so I’m attaching it below.

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Where are the sales classes in business school?

I didn’t go to business school. I decided to start my own company right after college – just jumping in and figuring it out as I went along. I’m not sure that I would recommend this model to most people. I think I was too naive to know the risks that were ahead of me – but I think it was the right move for me. What’s is interesting is that as I started and grew my company I didn’t struggle with the concepts of valuation, or financing, or competition, or management or marketing, or any of these topics. What was the hardest thing to learn to do?

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The value of a rolodex

I find it amusing that the word “rolodex” is still in the lexicon.  I don’t know of any professional salesperson that I work with that still uses one of these devices.  Yet, they still sell these things!  Who is buying them?  Are there salespeople who store their most valuable information source on handwritten cards on their desk?

With Outlook, salesforce.com, pipelinedeals, highrise, or any of the other fantastic digital products that exist in managing and keeping on top of contacts, would anybody really still use a physical rolodex?  Rolodex has never released, to my knowledge, a successful digital product.

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Sales Lessons from my 2-year old: Persistance

Think about a typical conversation with a two year old:

Tina: “Daddy, can I have some candy?”
Daddy: “not now”
Tina: “Daddy, can I have a cookie?”
Daddy: “Its two hours until dinner, not now”
Tina: “PLEASE!”
Daddy: “I said no”
Tina: “Can I have an apple?”
Daddy: “Oh, alright. Fine – have an apple.”

While some may read this conversation and determine that I am a pushover, I want you to read into the persistence of the two year old. Not once, did Tina think that she wouldn’t eventually get something to eat – she just needed to figure out the right words, the right win-win solution so that she could get what she wanted. And – she did!

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Revealing Price Too Early In An Enterprise Sale

Recently, I negotiated and closed an account on behalf of one of my clients.  The deal had the potential to be very large, yet the ultimate deal came through at a significantly lower cost than I originally proposed.

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Strive to pay higher taxes in 2009

With all this talk about tax breaks and tax credits going on, I want it on record that I want to pay MORE taxes in 2009 than I did in 2008.

I don’t want to pay more taxes because I’m super patriotic (although I am).  I’m want to do it for one reason… because I want to make a sick amount of money.  One of my first posts at QuotaCrush was on this topic:  Why I’m happy about my Tax Bill I’m not going to comment on relative tax rates or what constitutes rich or not.  I’m not commenting on what should get a tax credit or not.  What I’m saying is that as a salesperson, if you are paying a high tax bill, it is probably because you sold a lot of stuff and got rewarded for it.

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Easy to Buy = Easier to Sell

This morning I went to buy a cup of coffee.  This coffee shop charged $1.95 for a cup of coffee – after tax it was $2.11 per cup.  I watched as the line built up and built up while the cashiers made change for each person that tried to buy a simple cup of coffee.  I even saw people walking away because the line was getting too long.  I wondered why this shop didn’t change the price just to make the act of buying a cup of coffee that much easier.  There is a LOT of margin in a $2 cup of coffee – and by simply lowing the price (even a penny) they could have made buying the coffee that much easier and I would argue, made more money in the long run.

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Pay on profit or revenue

Its been too long since I’ve blogged.  Lots of good things going on with QuotaCrush, plus the holidays have kept me away, but I have several topics on which I want to write about and I am goign to be more diligent with sitting down to write. 

In the mean-time, an interesting question has come up recently with two different clients about what should be the basis for commission on which I thought I would write a mini-post.  Should you pay based on the amount of profit that the sales produces – or should you pay based on the amount of revenue that the project produces.

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