"Sales Cures All" and How I Sell Each Day/Week/Month
For early-stage founders, here's a helpful step-by-step sales process for you to follow in order to generate more predictable revenue and work with Ideal Clients
As entrepreneurs, founders, and/or CEOs, our jobs (as I’ve been taught) are:
Set an inspiring mission, vision, and set of values for the company.
Recruit A+ stakeholders (i.e. team members, investors, advisors, partners, clients) and ensure they understand the mission, vision, and values.
Make sure the company never runs out of money.
What do all these tasks have in common?
Either you’re selling someone on coming to work with you, or you’re convincing clients and investors to give you money. And so…
What are some high-level “pro tips” or ideas when it comes to sales?
Well, I’m no expert, but I have been financially independent since 18 without ever going to college, have convinced hundreds of the world’s smartest Millennials to contribute to my books, and have sold high-ticket speaking, consulting, sponsorships masterminds, and now “done-for-you” team retreat planning to a wide range of super smart people, and here’s a few things that have worked for me.
In the early days, you’re doing everything.
Selling and/or fundraising.
Building product and/or delivering services.
Marketing and/or developing standard operating procedures.
Accounting, recruiting, crisis management, PR, and more.
Given the importance of sales, what I’ve done in the last couple years is set aside the first ~3 hours of each work day to prospect.
First, I start by building a “Dream List” of investors, clients, or individuals I’d like to recruit (which is why it’s crucial to build an Ideal Client Profile as soon as possible).
Then, I’ll send anywhere from 5 to 20 personalized outreaches.
Typically, I start with email and use MixMax to create customizable templates, but I’ll also tinker with Twitter DMs, LinkedIn, and occasionally Facebook Messenger, text, and even quick videos off my iPhone!
The goal with prospecting is to “sell” people on taking an immediate next step, which is usually a 20-30 minute Zoom or an in-person meeting. If you’re selling anything high-ticket, your goal should not be to close someone on the first message.
Sending 5-20 messages each day adds up to 25-100 per week, and gives you the ability to A/B test the products/services you sell, the channels (i.e. email vs LinkedIn vs calls) in which you prospect, your subject lines, copy, Calls-to-Action, times of day (MixMax allows you to schedule emails in advance and gives you insight into when your recipient is most likely to open an email), and more.
Plus, I’ll mix it up and prospect for new hires/consultants one day, new beta clients for my startup on another day, and Meeting of the Minds a third (as an example).
Need some sales motivation? Click the link above to hear from Mark “Sales Cures All” Cuban.
As you scale up your business, generating more revenue, working with more Ideal Clients, and managing your emotions becomes easier as you build a bigger pipeline.
For better or worse, most of the “stuff” I sell only pertains to certain types of clients.
There are no “buy now” buttons on my websites for services of $1,000+, and to be honest, I’ve chosen to sell to and work with a certain type of client, investor, etc over the last decade across various companies.
Therefore, during prospecting and through your first zoom, call, or in-person meeting, I’d recommend having a simple qualifying process.
Internally, we reference these as “Discovery Calls” and the idea is to determine BNUA.
B - budget (i.e. can they afford your services or afford to invest)
N - need (i.e. do they have a need for your products or services)
U - urgency (i.e. how painful is the problem for them? How quickly can they move?)
A - authority (i.e. can they make a decision, or do they need their boss, co-founder, spouse, or someone else to help them say “yes” to working with you)
You may wish to qualify for something else, but the takeaway here is that your first conversation is NOT centered around selling (at least not until you qualify someone!).
We have various templates like a Discovery Call Template, an Objection Management Document, and more…so reply and let me know if you’d benefit from those resources.
The ethos here is that you’re trying to help, and looking to find a match for your client’s needs and your products or services. If it’s not a match, you should not sell.
When possible, you should also qualify as much as possible during prospecting.
For example, if you’re looking for clients with certain budget, you can estimate their revenue by headcount, “social proof”, or by having your pricing available online to allow people to self-select whether they could afford working with you or not.
I believe in pleasant persistence.
If you don’t follow-up, you won’t sell.
And it’s not about you. People are just f**king busy.
I’ve written for this newsletter previously about The Art of the Follow-Up, so click that link to learn more.
However, some friendly reminders and best practices include:
Following-up 2-3 days after your first outreach, and then 7 days later (for the second follow-up, or your third touchpoint, if you haven’t gotten a reply).
Changing up the medium in which you’re following up. If email isn’t working, try finding the channel where someone is active-but-available (such as Instagram, if they post often but don’t have a lot of followers, or texts if they are historically quick to reply there but otherwise suck at email).
Add some fun to your follow-up. I *love* using GIFs and memes in follow-ups such as the waving woman above. I’ll also send gifts occasionally for high-value leads, or invite someone to an event, etc.
The more I’ve scaled up, the more I’ve had to rely on a CRM system like Close to track where someone is in our pipeline.
If there’s interest, I can write another post about how to set up your sales funnel and what actions you can take to move people through your pipeline, but only if enough people reply and let me know that content would be valuable!
This is where “sales” begins as presented in movies or on television.
You’ve prospected, qualified, and launched into your pitch.
Either you get a YES, or more likely, your counterpart has questions…
Perhaps they think your product or service is too expensive.
Perhaps they don’t have time to attend your event or use your services.
Perhaps they don’t trust you (yet) or want more information.
How you “manage” these objections will determine whether you can ultimately sell someone on working with you, or whether they’ll walk away from the deal.
An easy-to-implement resource is an Objection Management Document, which you can create for yourself in Google Docs to include:
your best “elevator pitch” for your products or services
prompts to INVITE OBJECTIONS such as “what questions do you have about working with us?” or “Are there any obstacles that would stop you from investing in this product/service?”
your best answers to common objections (such as lack of time, lack of money, etc)
For all objections, Listen to what the prospect is saying.
Then, Acknowledge their objection by repeating it back to them and/or reframing the objection so it can be answered using one of your pre-written prompts.
Then, Explore further by asking open-ended questions like “Can you tell me more?” or “Why is that?”
For example, if someone says they can’t afford to work with you, you can ask for clarification on whether their objection is really a cash flow concern, overall budget crunch, or that they simply don’t value your services as you’ve priced them.
Finally Respond to their objection with your pre-determined answer.
You will likely overcome two or three objections, large and small, before someone is comfortable working with you. This may also take place across multiple meetings, but ideally you can answer any and all questions in one sales conversation and then follow-up as necessary.
There are no rules against having this type of Objection Management Document open on your screen when doing a call or Zoom. If you’re meeting in-person, “doing the work” to rehearse these objections in advance will go a long way to answering objections confidently when asked.
Plus, you can convert these into FAQs on your website. Here’s an example.
Congrats! You’ve overcome all objections and someone has said YES to working with you, investing in your company, or doing whatever it is you are selling.
This is a “verbal” or written commitment via email at this point, but you have NOT closed the deal quite yet.
Immediately, you must send a contract, receive signature(s), and send an invoice.
Thereafter, you must make sure all invoices are paid on-time.
Internally, I tell my team to help me “seal the deal and make it real” regarding completion of these tasks.
Unfortunately, we live in a world where some people will give you verbal commitments, and yet they won’t follow-through. Sometimes, this happens because of life events, like someone getting in a car accident or having a flood in their home.
Other times, people simply don’t keep their word.
In fact, this happened to me this morning with a potential investor in my new startup who committed on a Zoom in March to get involved, and yet never signed our investment documents or even came close to wiring funds. For me, this is personal, but in business…
…all you can do is focus on closing deals once you sell them.
If someone asks you for discounts, concessions, or other tweaks to your agreement after they have verbally committed to working with you, I’ve found from limited personal experience that they are wasting your time, won’t pay you on time, and/or will be hellish clients to work with day-to-day.
Depending on the type of business you’re in, once you close a client, then you can get to work upselling them on MORE products or services.
If you’re new here, read The Value Ladder (or "How To Increase The Lifetime Value of your Ideal Clients").
Plus, you actually have to deliver the goods and do great work.
And, you have to celebrate :).
“Closers get cookies,” in our household.
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I’d love to hear from you :).
P.S. - want more value from this newsletter? Check these out…
How To Generate More Revenue and Increase Profitability (premium subscribers only)
The Ultimate Guide to Launching A High Margin Launchpad Business (premium subscribers only)
Unlocking New Revenue, Feedback, and Referrals From Your Community of Clients (premium subscribers only)
21 Marketing “Channels” to Experiment With To Find More Ideal Clients (premium subscribers only)
The Value Ladder (or “How To Increase The Lifetime Value of Your Ideal Clients)
Jared Kleinert is the founder of Meeting of the Minds (motm.co), as well as a TED speaker, 2x award-winning author, and USA Today's "Most Connected Millennial".
Meeting of the Minds curates "super-connectors" and subject matter experts as invite-only attendees to 3 day summits in places like Napa Valley, Bermuda, and elsewhere, as well as “deep dives” such as this Marketing and Biz Dev strategy & implementation workshop. Members of the MOTM network include CEOs of 7, 8, and 9-figure businesses, creators of globally-recognized brands and social movements, New York Times bestselling authors, founders of pre-IPO tech unicorns, c-suite execs from Fortune 500 companies, and others.
Jared's career began at 15 years old when he started his first company, and took off at 16 while working as the first intern, and then one of the first 10 employees, for an enterprise SaaS company called 15Five, which today has raised over $40M and has almost 2000 forward-thinking companies as monthly recurring clients.
Later, Jared would become a delegate to President Obama's 2013 Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Malaysia, write multiple books including the "#1 Entrepreneurship Book of 2015", and speak at TED@IBM the day before he turned 20.
As a highly-sought after keynote speaker and consultant, Jared’s clients range from organizations like Facebook, Samsung, Bacardi, Estee Lauder, IBM, Cornell, Berkeley, AdAge, and the National Speakers Association. His insights on entrepreneurship, networking, marketing, and business development have been featured in Forbes, TIME, Harvard Business Review, Fortune, NPR, Entrepreneur, Mashable, Fox Business and more.
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