Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on Seattle 2.0, and imported to GeekWire as part of our acquisition of Seattle 2.0 and its archival content. For more background, see this post.
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.