Strategic Selling for Startups

Among the most important books I can recommend to entrepreneurs, executives or anyone in a leadership role at a startup company is Chet Holmes’ best-selling book, The Ultimate Sales Machine.

If you haven’t read it yet, you’re missing out big time.

One of the biggest concepts all businesses have to get a good grasp on is strategic thinking. The problem is, most businesses, marketers and sales people are tactical thinkers; they can only see what’s right in front of them. They rarely move toward any long-term strategic goals, if they’ve even established any.

Without belaboring the point, I’m going to share a short excerpt from The UItimate Sales Machine that highlights the inability of the tactical thinker to see the “big picture.”

When your salespeople get in front of a client or customer, what would you like them to accomplish? What are your strategic objectives?

“When I ask executives that question, most of them reply tactically: “I want to make a sale.” Then I ask them to think strategically: “What else do you want to achieve?” And they say, “What else is there?” The conversation goes like this:

ME: Would you like to be respected?

THEM: Well, of course, I’d like to be respected.

ME: Would you like to be trusted?

THEM: Well, of course, I’d like to be trusted.

ME: Would you like referrals?

THEM: Well, of course, I’d like referrals.

ME: Would you like a preemptive strategy for when your competitors try to undercut your pricing?

THEM: Well, yeah, that’s a great objective.

ME: Would you like to be perceived as an expert?

THEM: That could be valuable, yes.

ME: How about influence? Would you like to have influence in that meeting?

THEM (the tacticians): What does that mean?

ME: Hang with me here a second. How about brand loyalty? Is that important?

THEM: Heck, yes.

ME: What about some urgency to buy now? Would that be a good thing?

THEM: Yes. That would be good.

If you even think about these objectives, doesn’t it automatically change how that meeting might go?”

Think about those objectives, and come up with real answers to them. Get past the short-sighted “get this sale today” mentality and think strategically.

It may take more time, more thought, and more effort, but believe me, it will pay off. And if you don’t want to trust me, check Chet’s record. The results he’s produced speak for themselves.

By the way, you can download chapter 4 of The Ulltimate Sales Machine for free at


Start-Up Advice

I spoke with a new internet marketing student the other day. During the conversation, I gave some advice that I think is pretty doggone profound.

Here’s what I said:

“Just take it one step at a time, and keep moving forward.”

Deep, huh?

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not minimizing how difficult it can be to get a business endeavor off the ground. That grind that comes at the beginning can wear down the toughest guys and gals out there. A lot of the time it does.

Studies show that as many as 9 out of 10 of business start-ups fail within the first 5 years. Ugly odds. So I’m not saying this is easy.

What I am saying is that success doesn’t happen by accident. You have to figure out the steps it will take to get you where you want to go. That in itself can be really difficult. How do you know what needs to happen? Who should you listen to?

I won’t go into depth on that here, except to say that you should be cautious taking advice from people that are not successful themselves. That success should be in your chosen field or one where the lessons are translatable.

Next, take one step at a time. Don’t get ahead of yourself. Don’t overwhelm yourself. Put one foot ahead of the other, and get steady before you start to make your next move.

Then, keep stepping forward. Concentrate your efforts and conquer each step along your path to the promise land. One step after the other.

Sometimes you can make leaps rather than little steps. But don’t get over-anxious. Once you’re fully focused on what you’re doing, you’ll recognize your opportunities when they come.

If you follow the basic formula (determine needed steps — take one step at a time — keep moving forward) success becomes easier and more predictable.