What To Do If You’re a Startup CEO & You Don’t Know How To Sell

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Photo by Teresa Vega on Unsplash
  1. Work with a coach: Whether it’s a sales advisor, a communications/public speaking expert or a true CEO coach depends a lot on what you think is holding you back from being effective. And what type of ‘sales’ you’ll mostly be doing. At Homebrew, we keep a list of coaches that work well with startups and then try to help match against need and personality type. The best recommendations are going to come from your community as this is a true ‘word of mouth’ network.
  2. Practice in low stakes environments: For some people it’s Toastmasters. For others it’s signing up to do phonebanking/fundraising for a nonprofit they care about. Or go to a flea market and haggle. Cross-training muscles for discussions that usually make you uncomfortable.
  3. Be the best version of you, not anyone else: Often, the best, most sustainable sales personalities are real — they’re you, just turned up to 11. So know that you are merely drawing out, and drawing on, abilities and characteristics you already have, not trying to become a different person. You can even draw your inexperience or nervousness into the story — “you know, it was always really hard for me when I worked at BigCoX to try and convince folks to join us because I wasn’t always sure myself. But now at OurStartupY I believe in our mission so strongly.”

Value-Add Responses

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via @SVMansuri

Notes and More

My heart goes out to Tony Hsieh’s close friends and family, a smart and generous tech entrepreneur who passed away this week at 46. His book, Delivering Happiness, is wonderful.

Written by

You’ll find me @homebrew , Seed Stage Venture Fund w @satyap . Previously made products at YouTube, Google & SecondLife. Married to @cbarlerin .

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