500 Startups - Day 10

SALES! Something I've actually done before :) 

We had a workshop last week on B2B Sales - as taught by our resident partnerships expert, Rob. 

Right off the bat, I was impressed by Rob's energy and public speaking ability. He really is a seasoned sales guy and I think understands the marketplace really well. I'm strongly of the opinion that you can't be a "business guy" in Silicon Valley, unless you want to always occupy the bottom of the totem pole. As such, I do think there still are non-technical people who do really well, and being a rainmaker is one.

Points that stood out to me:

  • The bigger the sale, the more politics involved. It is key to get your head around all the decision makers at play, not just the one you are talking to. The method we learned about is called "consultive selling". The acronym to keep in mind is SPIN: Situation, Problem, Issue/Implication, Need/Payoff.
    • S: Setup the conversation with 2-3 pleasantry questions, to warm up and ease in
    • P: Be focused in identifying issues, use questions to uncover pain points and get out of the way
    • I: Elaborate on P and extrapolate/investigate the consequences that the problems create
    • N: Find out, WHAT IF? Present your product and solution
  • Get to a NEED, not WANT
  • Don't be an aggressive closer if you hope to keep talking and upselling the customer after the initial contact

Last, but not least: Be okay with walking away and saying "This simply may not be worth it for you guys". It shows humility and honesty and can really build a customer relationship effectively.