Selling Out!

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The term "Selling Out" is, of course, a play on words... Selling is NOT a compromise of your integrity for monetary gain at any cost. Sales is the process that sustains your vision. Everybody can get better at communication, sharing, collaborating and, most importantly, listening to understand the real needs of others.

We are all selling all the time - the teacher opens minds, the waiter promises satisfaction, the coder shares better methods with the team.

A leader's responsibility is to motivate (SELL) sales teams, employees, partners, etc. ... to be comfortable with all the variations of open, honest communications (SELLING) ... for the most efficient and effective paths to success (most often, SALES).  

In every organization, selling something is critical. So, do not ignore or be afraid of it ... do not pass if off to the "sales guy"... do it yourself and learn what works. Sales can be the most creative form of (brutally honest) customer research for how to improve your world and communicate your value. So, sell your heart out... and share your passion. 

Below are some fundamental Sales and Marketing tips for preparing your promise and winning more deals with clients, sponsors, partners, investors, AND selling your own personal brand. Acknowledge whether you are focusing on customer Acquisition (new prospect leads at the top of your sales funnel) or Retention (managing proper/increased usage, loyalty and customer success across their personal lives and business ecosystem). The magic is when your promises match what you deliver.

But first, a priority on your mindset... exuberant evangelism is great nut remember to keep the balance between persistence and patience by just being polite. Know your audience and their process. Help them do their jobs. Unburden them and do not give them "homework" (to give you internal connections, make them learn your collateral, etc). You must first earn trust by helping them THEIR way with their frame of mind. For example, if you are talking to Startups about sales, be aware of their unique top 10 revenue models. For corporations, be aware of their official Procurement Process and the reaction if you try to sneak around it.

A recurring question is about how to maintain your sales direction and enthusiasm... 

The answer is to strive for the truth (not just giving your pitch) and listening for the right stuff to strive for. Here are the main points: 

(A) - Know what unique value you REALLY offer.
(B) - Focus ONLY on prospects that need that.  
(C) - Be completely honest about (A) 

Get these 10 elements -
AIM, Sweet Spot, Product/Market Fit, SWOT, Jobs, BANT, AIDAR, Yes, Partners, and PTP:

1 - Get AIM
These are all basic concepts but they are important to frame your conversations. So, remember to take AIM with 3 elements ... 
A = Audience (what do they expect?). I = Intent (what is your intent that matches their goals). Message = (what are the most compelling ways to reach THIS audience).

The best presentations take AIM:
  • Name the enemy
  • Why now? (for your solution)
  • Show the promised land (before explaining how you will get there)
  • Identify obstacles and how to overcome
  • Tell the truth... show evidence

     (kinda like your USP, Unique Sales Proposition, but smarter)     
         - Accurately assess your own capabilities and really understand your client's needs. 
         - The sweetness you offer is what your competitors cannot.
         - Use THIS Buyer Persona Template to better understand your "Clients"

3 - Get Product/Market Fit- The right market conditions are more important than obsessing over the perfect product. SO, GET SOMETHING (IMPERFECT) OUT IN THE MARKET TO LEARN, ITERATE, OPTIMIZE.  Read more about how Mark is right.

The secret to success is to Test Test Test. It takes the pressure of you having to be so smart with your crystal ball.

Get SWOT = A brutally honest assessment for your:

Strengths - Unique Value Proposition
Weaknesses – and the plan to solve them
Opportunities – For Company and market
Threats – For prospect’s time and budget

Use, share, and print a 1-pager at 

5 - What Jobs are you accomplishing for your prospects? 

Know what they are REALLY trying to accomplish... See  how Clayton thinks about milkshakes:
More from Mr. Innovator's Dilemma about "Jobs to be done" here.

6 - Get BANT - More at
You must know your prospect's BANT= Budget - Authority - Need - Timing

Timing is the most important but "Get BANT" is more fun to say than the more accurate TNBA.

7 - Get AIDAR = Awareness - Interest - Decision - Action - Research/Retention
Focus on each of theses stages of the selling process. Acknowledge that each step takes time and you are responsible for each. How are they even Aware of you? Do they have their Interest? Do they have the info they need to make a Decision? What are the specific Actions they need to make (sign up, share, buy!)? Then you must Research how to manage all this better while you Retain them and fulfill on your promises!  for Research also means tweaking your tactics for more Awareness and customer Retention.

8- Get To Yes - Use these six (win-win) negotiation skills:
1. Separate the people from the problem
2. Focus on interests, not positions
3. Learn to manage emotions
4. Express appreciation
5. Put a positive spin on your message
6. Escape the cycle of action and reaction

9 - Get Partners
True partners are not vendors... they actively support each other and, in the best cases, actually rely on each other. This means that BOTH sides must align on goals and compensation. Choose wisely and you exponentially grow your outreach and sales

Here is an example "Partner Checklist" for a techdev shop partnership with marcom Agencies.

10 - Get PTP - Path To Profit
Know what works across your own business, margins, resource capabilities, etc. Understand your Capitalization Table (or Cap Table). Harry shares some good basics here.

Ideas are the secret to sales... and lots of them. Share the most relevant ones with your prospects by understanding their needs and processes Just make sure you remember to include your own Path To Profit  How do you make money?
Some slides for "Selling Out!"

Get the ABCs of Persuasion. A 3 minute video from Dan Pink: - Attunement - understand someone else's point of view?  - Buoyancy - stay resilient and buoyant in the face of rejection - Clarity - help someone curate and clarify information

Get Pinkcast updates...go to for his book "To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others"

“The purpose of a pitch isn’t necessarily to move others immediately to adopt your idea. The purpose is to offer something so compelling that it begins a conversation, brings the other person in as a participant, and eventually arrives at an outcome that appeals to both of you.” 
― Daniel H. Pink

Get Better - Take a look at this State of Sales Report from about what makes a top performer. See their older but still relevant Infographic

Get Deep - daily philosophical leadership, bizdev insights, and inspiration from Seth Godin. See recent good ones HERE

Lots of Sales-y Podcasts HERE

Since you made it this far, you deserve to know the single most important secret to sales success... Simply focus on earning the next meeting.

Now... Sell Out!