About me

Today I teach sales at one of the top business schools in the world, but not long ago I was in the trenches (sometimes literally) closing deals with the top music festivals in the world, logging 100,000+ air miles a year, and managing a global sales team.

I did eventually figure out how to sell the right way, but it was a long and winding road full of trial-and-error.

Like a lot of other people who find themselves in a sales career, I sort of fell into it.  I started my career as an entrepreneur and teacher.  And I was on a mission to prove to my friends, my family, and myself that I could ‘make it’.
I wanted to build my own ‘big thing’ someday, and I thought the best way to learn would be to see how the best in the world do it.  Somehow I convinced some famous entrepreneurs to take a chance on me, and I moved to New York where I learned how to play in the "big leagues."

We had just raised $15M from some of the biggest investors in the world and I quickly realized that the biggest value that I could add to the company was to sign-up (sell) some big name customers.  

We sell, or else.

So, I (literally) started knocking on doors.  I remember walking unannounced into the Foot Locker headquarters in downtown Manhattan and asking at the front desk if I could meet with their VP of Marketing!  I was quickly escorted out.

After many more embarrassing moments, and a lot of trial and error, I started to have some early wins...mixed with more embarrassing rejections.

I spent a ton of time meeting with executives in ‘teacher mode’: giving away free consulting, talking about how amazing our technology was, doing demos, and spending money on flights for meetings that resulted in no revenue for our company.

I came to learn our team’s approach wasn’t the exception.  Most teams don’t have formal sales training, onboarding, or a pressure-tested plan.  I was handed a laptop, and a phone and told to land deals with the top retailers in the country.  Which we did...by some miracle.

I believe sales success comes down to will, skill, strategy and luck.  My success came largely from will and luck: I outworked everyone, and got lucky with some supportive bosses and incredible teammates.

Some might call it luck

But I call it Grace that we were accepted into a well respected scale-up accelerator program and got to attend a private session with Guy Kawasaki (yes, that Guy Kawasaki) when he said something that I’ll never forget:

"Sales fixes everything"

Cash flow issue?  Sales fixes that.
Can’t attract good talent?  Go sell more.
Need better PR?  Get sales.

I realized that day, as I teach now, that in business there are three critical things you need to focus on in order to succeed: build something people want, sell it to them, and deliver on your promise.


Learning the hard way.

From that day on, we approached “sales” in a far more focused and strategic way.  Through massive investment and trial-and-error we developed a system to:

  • Determine who our our ideal customers were
  • Standardize our messaging
  • Get laser-focused on engaging and serving only our highest-potential customers
  • Double down on formal sales training to level up our team

It wasn’t easy but we went on to work with virtually every major music festival in the world, and while I was (mostly) happy, I couldn’t help but wonder:  

Why didn't someone teach me this earlier?

My ‘real-life’ sales MBA was hard-earned, and I decided to dedicate the next chapter of my life to teaching sales at the highest level.  

Over the years, I’ve developed a reputation as a passionate, supportive, and demanding sales coach and teacher. I’ve interviewed, hired, mentored, coached, and studied the top performers and spent thousands of hours selling, and hundreds more teaching.  

I teach what I've studied, and applied.

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I realized that to be successful in sales, it is important to stand out. I learned that standing out can mean being persistent, surprising the customer, or even being truly honest. I realized that sales is not just a part of business, but also a part of life. Sales skills can be applied to almost every aspect of life.

Daniel Cloutier

My students have gone on to work at: