When we first launched York IE’s advisory services practice, I knew I was going to need some help. So I asked Travis York, CEO of York Creative Collective, for some advice. Travis has built not one, not two, but many successful companies. In summary, one of his key messages was:
“However long you think it is going to take to close a deal, double it.”
His point was that sales is hard. And that it is a major part of any entrepreneur’s job. In fact, in the book The Algebra of Happiness, Professor Scott Galloway writes that the word “entrepreneur” is a synonym for “salesperson.”
In software it can be tempting to believe that your company will scale through product led growth, in which the product does most of the selling. While this can help a ton, at the end of the day those frontline salespeople will be some of the most important team members. As Professor Galloway writes:
“Google has an algorithm that can answer anything and identify people who have explicitly declared an interest in buying your product, then advertise to those people at that exact moment. Yet Google still has to hire thousands of attractive people… to sell the sh*t out of… Google.”
The point is that if you work at a startup, you can’t hide from selling. So you might as well embrace it! Whether you’re in sales or marketing or finance or product, you best be selling. Selling the vision. Selling the culture. Selling the product. Selling the dream.
It isn’t easy, but there is nothing more rewarding than closing a deal — even if it takes a little longer than expected.
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