So first and foremost, I was just kidding and Dharmesh is certainly not a liar. Far from it. I have a great admiration for his success, love reading his onstartups.com blog (it is in my blogroll), and I tell everyone I can about Dharmesh, his multiple successes, and Hubspot.com (the king of getting your company tons of the right traffic to your doorstep!). I had an opportunity to do business with Hubspot and these guys are awesome. Dharmesh, I hope you find humour in this post, and if not, my apology in advance. So why did I jokingly call him a liar?
Well, it relates to his recent post Building Startup Sales Teams: Tips For Founders and he says he is not in or never was in Sales. In his view and most others he is absolutely correct, but in my view everyone is in sales and I kind of find it funny the stigma that has been bestowed upon sales as a whole (unfortunately there are idiots out there causing a few bad apples to make a nice tree look bad). Think about it, do you have kids? They are the best and most relentless salespeople in the world constantly asking parents and others for things. Can I have this? Can I have that? Please Mommy, please Daddy… The hall pass you are looking for from your husband or wife (hopefully a hall pass is not required) to have a night on the town with some friends, etc. That job you are looking for, that favour you are seeking from a friend, and the list goes on. My point is that we are constantly trying to sell ourselves onto people in personal life and in business, and Dharmesh is no different.
I actually think Dharmesh is a huge salesperson and a damm good one. He is silently selling and promoting, and more importantly he is giving back to the community of would be entrepreneurs and marketers. His modest personality and approach is effortlessly brilliant (at least he makes it seem that way). He writes one of the most practical, no non-sense, get it done and basic blogs out there for start-ups. I love it and many others do as well. He is constantly putting in subtle plugs to his business but in a very lite manner, not pushy, and helping the community at the same time. Brilliant. He has sold me and many others on his blog. He also is selling by his frequent travels and speaking engagements at various marketing events and he is an awesome presenter despite what he says. I can’t wait to hear him speak live!
I really enjoyed this post and love how he points out to stay lean, stay agile, and to focus on efficiency while protecting what little cash you have because cash is king to survival. In point 8 he mentions about not focusing too much on rewarding the Salesperson for just the sale. Salespeople should really be focusing on relationships not sales, the long term, not short, making friends not customers. This may take longer but in this increasingly connected world it will reward you handsomely in many many ways. There are previous customers of mine who will continue to get a card from me during the holidays, etc. Why? Because I care, I believe in karma, and what if I need help down the road. Those people will jump off a cliff to help you when you ask because they will want to help you. Salespeople all too often focus on themselves and their greed glands when they should always be thinking of the customer. An employer allows a salesperson a chance to earn an income but it is the customer who allows them to pay the bills, earn a great living, and put food on the table, and ultimately keep their job. When I was a kid I helped my family business pretty much every Christmas take a wrapped box of chocolates and a calendar to the senior citizens home in my small town. You should have seen those people in delight and every year they came to expect it and it was the talk of the senior citizens home. My family didn’t have to do that but they appreciated their business and they wanted to show them gratitude. For some that was the only gift they received. So where do you think they came to shop? Not only that, I don’t know how many days I spent with my father as he went around plowing out peoples driveways that were filled in from snow blizzards. He would plow for hours on end and what did he charge them? Zero. He wouldn’t take money from them. The competitor didn’t hold a candle when it came to competing. Be skimpy, be cheap, and you’ll pay dearly. Give and you’ll get. It is a pretty simple concept, however common sense is not all that common!
Point 11. Yes track data like a maniac from the get go, however do not, I repeat, do not use a spreadsheet. I posted a previous article on Salesforce and at some point using them is a very wise move but if you need to go free (to save cash) Zoho offers up to 3 users for free. Use them until Salesforce is feasible. It is easy to migrate and import the data over and it will spare you spending too much time in spreadsheets. By the way, Hubspot has an amazing integration with Salesforce.com once you reach the professional edition.
So Dharmesh, this was a fantastic article, and I always look forward to your articles on the feed. They are inspiring, fun, and will help me and many others avoid many costly mistakes as we try and emulate your success as an entrepreneur. Keep up the great selling!