The secrets of selling are being considerate of others, your clients. Many do not realize this and economists are telling us to be self maximizing of own interests. But that is the lousy strategy. You have to be willing to give in order to take. A self centered person cannot be a great sale, nor a teacher. Teachers are in the business to help students which ever way they can. Too bad we have very few teachers who really practice that.
When you’re negotiating you have to say “no” a lot. When you are selling, you are always trying to find the “yes”.
Everyone has a “yes” buried inside of them and a good salesman knows how to find where that “yes” is buried and then how to tease it out. Great salesmen know it instinctively.
Ten Keys to selling:
A) Ask what’s the lifetime value of the customer? When I give away a book for free. It gets my name out there. That has lifelong value for me that goes way beyond the few dollars I could maybe charge.
B) Ask, what are the ancillary benefits of having this customer? When we did Miramax.com for $1000, we became the GUYS THAT DID MIRAMAX.COM! That helped get 20 other customers that were worth a lot more. I would’ve paid them money to do that site.
C) Learn the entire history of your client. You need to love your client. Love all of their products. Infuse yourself with knowledge of their product. I wanted to work at HBO because I loved all of their shows and I studied their history back to the 70s before I applied for a job there in the 90s.
D) Give extra features. Do the first project cheap. And whatever was in the spec, add at least two new cool features. This BLOWS AWAY the client. Don’t forget the client is a human, not a company. That human has a boss. And they want to look good in front of their boss. If you give them a way to get promoted, then they will love you and always hire you back. THE EASIEST SALE is worth a current customer. ALWAYS.
E) Give away the kitchen sink. One of my biggest investors in my fund of hedge funds had just been ripped off in Ponzi scheme. They almost went out of business. I introduced them to reporters at every newspaper to help them get the word out about the Ponzi scheme. They were infinitely grateful and even put more money in my fund. Whenever the main guy was depressed about what had happened I would talk to him for an hour trying to cheer him up. I wasn’t just an investment for him but a PR person and therapist. Go the extra mile.
F) Recommend your competition. Think about it this way: what are two of the most popular sites on the Internet: Yahoo and Google. What do they do? They just link to their competition: other websites. If you become a reliable source then everyone comes back to you then your knowledge has value and they can only get that by having access to you. They get access by buying your product or services. [See, 10 Unusual Things I Didn’t Know About Google, Plus my Worst VC Experience Ever]
G) Idea machine. There’s that phrase “always be closing”. The way that’s true is if you are always putting yourself in the shoes of your client and thinking of ways that can help them. When I sold stockpickr.com to thestreet.com the superficial reason was that they wanted the traffic, community, and ads my site generated. The real reason was that they needed help coming up with ideas for their company. I was always generating new ideas and talking to them about it. Often the real reason someone buys from you is not for your product but for you.
Show up. When I wanted to manage some of Victor Niederhoffer’s money I read all his favorite books. I wrote articles for him. At the drop of a dime I would show up for dinner wherever and whenever he asked me to. If he needed a study done that required some programming beyond what he or his staff was capable of doing, I would offer to do it and would do it fast. Nobody was paying me, but ultimately he put money with me (at ridiculously low fees but I did not negotiate), which I was able to leverage into raising money from others. Plus, I really liked him. I thought he was an amazing person.
I) Knowledge. When I was building a trading business I must’ve read over 200 books on trading and talked to another 200 traders. No style of trading was off limits. This helped me in not only building a trading business, but building a fund of hedge funds, and ultimately building stockpickr.com. I knew more about trading and the top investors out there than anyone else in the world, I felt. Creating value was almost an afterthought. When I was building websites I knew everything about programming for the web. There was nothing I couldn’t do. And the competition, usually run by businessmen and not programmers knew that about me. And knew that I would always come in cheaper than them.
J) Love it. You can only make money doing what you love. If you work a nine to five job that you hate then you’re on a leash and you’ll only make enough to get by and you won’t behappy. If you love something, you’ll get the knowledge, you’ll get the contacts, you’ll build the site with the features nobody else has, you’ll scare the competition, you’ll wow the customers.