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.
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.
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:
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:
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.