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February 2009

WSJ: Entrepreneurs Can Lead Us Out Of Crisis

There is a great article in the Wall Street Journal today on something that I’ve been arguing lately.  That the only way out of the financial crisis is through entrepreneurs.

Missing from this legislation [the stimulus bill] is anything more than token support for the long-proven source of most new jobs and new growth in America: entrepreneurs. These are the people who gave us everything — from Wal-Mart to iPhones, from microprocessors to Twitter — that is still strong in our economy. Without entrepreneurs, we will never get out of our current predicament.

If I… Will you?

Whenever someone asks me about a particular negotiation point or tactic, I always tell them to remember the following phrase and to use it in every negotiation:

“If I…. will you ….”

For example,

“If I drop the set-up fee, will you be able to sign this week?”
“If I can get my boss to agree to the price reduction, will you agree to extend your contract from 12 months to 18 months?”
“If I commit to adding this feature in a future release, will you allow us to use your logo on our website.”

Top 10 tips for getting past a gate-keeper

Lauren Gilchrist of Urgent Careers, wrote a guest post on UrgentSpeed, Jeff Stewart’s blog, about a lively discussion that went on at last nite’s Sales 101 event about the Top 10 ways to get past a gate-keeper.

If you cold-call, this is a must read. There are a lot of really great tips in there. My favorite is #2, “Treat the assistant like a human-being.” In my own personal experience, I have gotten the furthest in sales by just doing the right thing, and treating people with respect.

Here are the 10 tips she lists. Click HERE to see the full description.

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.

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?

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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