Sales Mastermind: VC Funding & Vegan Burgers
Mastermind groups offer a combination of brainstorming, education, peer accountability, and support in a group setting to sharpen your business and personal skills.
Yesterday in the Praxis Sales Mastermind, we discussed everything from crafting the perfect story to get VC funding at a startup to vegan burgers (yes really).
Carter Pochynok sought VC funding for his startup.
Carter Pochynok is the founder of Pochynok Sound Labs (Mobius). Mobius seeks to disrupt the record label industry. They provide musicians with a superior audio streaming platform to distribute their music with better intellectual property rights and more profit retention.
Carter is looking for his first round of seed funding to get the business from concept to alpha, but facing difficulty finding the right partners. He’s based out of Utah, where VC firms just don’t like to give seed funding anymore for products not proven by the market.
Casey McGoff, Sales Director at Temperpack pointed out that you need to have a stupid simple 10-second story to tell people if you want them to invest in you. This is true for every VC interaction.
Jerrod Harlan, copywriting and sales letter expert strongly recommended Carter read “Flip the Script” by Oren Klaff. The book is a must read for those looking to learn the art of getting other people to think your ideas are theirs. The application to sales is obvious!
So we pressed Carter to describe why he started Mobius.
Then he dropped THIS gem:
Here’s why that’s an awesome story.
Carter was 17 years old, working incredibly hard, and living well below his means to achieve his goals. The story sells himself as a hard-working, ambitious person who inspires confidence. It signals willingness to sacrifice and grind.
But the emotional context is what makes the story so powerful.
In one fell swoop, his dreams were achieved and crushed.
He is offered a record deal that looks like “debt slavery” to him. And because he has good economic education, he decides to decline. He knows record labels are pushing this garbage down on every young and aspiring artist out there. It’s a massive market problem, and he’s the one with a solution.
The story is emotionally compelling, short, memorable, and you can feel his passion in delivering it. Amazing stuff!
Jerrod Harlan wanted his company to pay for him to attend a conference.
Jerrod’s a fantastic salesperson, but felt stuck in trying to figure out how to get his bosses to pay for his professional development at a conference. He knows the basic “it’ll help me learn and grow” spiel, but needed something more concrete.
I suggested that he make a list of the specific people he will connect with and learn from at the conference. Cha-ching! This demonstrates sincere interest, willingness to prove value, and attention to detail.
Jerrod then took the idea one step further:
“And then I can go out there and head hunt for future talent when we’re ready to expand!”
Brilliant. Should be a slam-dunk “YES” for his employer if he offers that.
Haley Brewer was running into the classic “price” objection.
Haley is an Inside Sales Representative for Impossible Foods, maker of the Impossible™ Burger at your local grocery and Impossible™ Whopper at your local Burger King.
Her prospects kept on saying that her product costs too much more than typical beef. Haley knows that introducing her product can lead to double digit increases in foot traffic for restaurants that sell her food. She knows the “shrinkage rate” (which includes trim loss and the difference between the precooked and the as-served weight of meat) for her product is 1/2 that of meat.
It’s tempting to get frustrated when customers fail to understand value.
But as Casey McGoff pointed out, it’s the wrong approach to Sales.
He said it’s extremely dangerous to speak ill of prospects who don’t see the value of what you’re selling. You must take complete ownership over your sales process. If they don’t understand, that’s on you. It’s an opportunity for you to learn and grow. You must communicate better, so they understand.
Rather than bickering, ask yourself “What can I do differently?” – that is the beginning of successfully handling any price objection.
Ben Fickel has the biggest call of his career tomorrow.
This was a good one. Ben’s an Account Executive at Exact Data; they help consumer and business facing businesses grow by researching and collecting high-quality marketing leads.
Right at the end of our call, Ben asked for advice on how to prepare for a call that if closed, would net him his annual salary in commissions.
I advised him to think of, write down, and prepare answers for every question he could think they might ask. Preparation is key for any large call. Know everything you can about the organization and the people on the call.
But then Casey McGoff blew it out of the water. I’ll just let you listen:
Take them to “no” early in the call. Just fire off questions, and you’ll be surprised at what they tell you. Write everything down – don’t make the mistake of forgetting key details (like price)! Don’t just let them off the phone without setting up a concrete next action step. Push for a calendar invite and follow-up call. Lock them into talking to you again.
This is why I love hosting these calls. Wisdom like this is hard-won. It takes years of trial and error to reach a point in your career where you can rattle off points so valuable.
Looking forward to next week,