Being a Startup CEO is all About Selling

Being a Startup CEO is all About Selling

By Janis Machala

    Many founders of technology companies are technologists and not sales or
marketing people. If this is you then you should take a course or a program
on strategic sales. Why? Because pretty much everything you do in running
a company is about selling. And most of you are not naturally good at this.

First, you raise money for your company. What’s this? It’s about
selling equity in your dream. You have to talk to a LOT of people to
get one person to invest. You have to actually ask for the order. This
means closing someone by asking them to write you a check. This is
really hard to do. Most founders forget to ask people to write the
check-they have to be asked, they don’t naturally do it. At first it
might not seem that hard because you talk to people you know. But once
you start meeting with angels and VCs it becomes a lot harder and you
hear NO a lot, or worse you hearing nothing back after the meeting

Once you have money you will hire people. What’s this about? It’s about
selling potential employees on your dream. It’s about making your
company more compelling than Amazon or Google or Microsoft (name any
big company that’s going to pay people more than you can afford to pay
them). It’s also a marketing event as how potential employees view your
company creates buzz in town about how good (or bad) you are.

Then you have press and analysts to sell so they write good things
about you. Then you have to get initial customers and who better to get
those customers than the founder who has unwavering belief in what
their company’s about. Once you start selling then you raise more money
and then you do more press and then you hire more people and meet with
bigger and more customers. 

    See, most everything you as the founder do is about selling. Get good at it!

Janis Machala is the Founder and Managing Partner of Paladin Partners.

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