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_Denis_S

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Oct 19, 2019
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Hello Everyone

I vividly remember the "wake-up-moment" I've had after my first time reading the Millionaire Fastlane while studying for my engineering degree.
Being young, uneducated and maybe even really naive about my future, I thought that this paper called degree would be my ticket to a dream-future. I was sick and tired of being disrepected, always having to comply anyway, having bosses who don't have my interests in mind and not feeling that what I was doing, or what I had permission to do after graduation, really had any impact on my dream-future, my "career", the world, the people around me, etc... After reading this book, I finally woke up to another reality, that really noone in general public talks about.
A big THANK YOU to MJ for having written all these amazing books! Can't wait for the next one coming out by the end of this month!

What I didn't get back then, when I was starting my first business (failed) and also my second business (failed too) was how important the aspects of Sales, Marketing and customer service are. Maybe it was due to my engineering-background, but I was so heavily focussed on building amazing products and services that I ignored the most important area (my opinion) one should focus mainly in the beginning of a business: Sales, Revenue, Profit, Marketing!

Having mastered the sales-area by now (took me around 4 years in total to really figure it out), I am thinking about becoming a consultant or service provider in this area.
It would be amazing if we could start a discussion about similar experiences forum-members had, which is why I'd like to ask you:

If you're a beginner:
-How do you wanna go about getting your first clients?
-What have you tried and failed/or succeeded with?

If you're already having a business (or several):
-What were some challenges you've experienced making revenue?
-What "level" are you on and how do you go about making revenue?

If you're already free (having a business that works without you, or investments that work for you):
-Do you still need to sell, or is investing in marketing everything you need to do to make profit?
-If you look back to the beginning, where you were still trapped in the rat race, how big of an impact had learning to sell for you?


Thank you very much for reading 'til the end! Hope to ignite a good discussion about that topic

-Denis
 

Black_Dragon43

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Being young, uneducated and maybe even really naive about my future, I thought that this paper called degree would be my ticket to a dream-future. I was sick and tired of being disrepected, always having to comply anyway, having bosses who don't have my interests in mind and not feeling that what I was doing, or what I had permission to do after graduation, really had any impact on my dream-future, my "career", the world, the people around me, etc... After reading this book, I finally woke up to another reality, that really noone in general public talks about.
Yes, it can give you quite a shift haha. I think TMF should be required reading for every teenager imo :p Even if you don't want to become an entrepreneur, it will come in very useful to you.
Maybe it was due to my engineering-background, but I was so heavily focussed on building amazing products and services that I ignored the most important area (my opinion) one should focus mainly in the beginning of a business: Sales, Revenue, Profit, Marketing!
It is debatable if sales is the top area of interest for an entrepreneur. Many people say so, but I think I disagree. Sales is a very valuable skill, but sales alone will not equip you with a good service/product to sell :)

Take a look at Steve Jobs... yes, he was a great salesman and marketer, no doubt about it. But there were things that he was even better at, that were a lot more important than salesmanship. One is being a leader, and having VISION, and relentlessly pursuing that same vision with discipline (say no to 1000 things), which are more important than salesmanship imo. Knowing what products to create was MORE important to Apple's success than sales & marketing - so being able to spot opportunities.
Having mastered the sales-area by now (took me around 4 years in total to really figure it out), I am thinking about becoming a consultant or service provider in this area.
It is a crowded area, but there are many people who need help as well, not to mention that much of the advice that goes around isn't good, so there is a lot of space for new, ambitious entrants. I would say that the top area that is missing in sales is research based work, similar to SPIN Selling. SPIN Selling is quite old, and a lot of things have been changing since it was written. A lot more number based research needs to be conducted, research that is both thorough and conclusive.

What people have in sales nowadays is "I did this, it works, do it as well". It's time for some innovation.
 

Process

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Selling is definitely the cornerstone. It gets the ball rolling. But you still have to build systems and keep refining the value you offer.

Self control is also key because there are tons of sales guys pulling in 150k a year that live paycheck to paycheck. They live on the sidewalk since they can practically take money for granted and have a high level of comfort.
 

MJ DeMarco

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A great product with zero sales strategy will earn zero sales..

but a poor product with awesome sales strategy will make sales.

IMO, sales is the #1 entrepreneurial skill (or marketing) and when combined with a great product, is like pouring gas on a fire.
 

Black_Dragon43

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but a poor product with awesome sales strategy will make sales.
Out of curiosity @MJ DeMarco , do you have any examples in mind of what you'd consider a poor product but with an awesome sales strategy that you'd be willing to share?
 

Mathuin

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do you have any examples in mind of what you'd consider a poor product but with an awesome sales strategy that you'd be willing to share?a
BRO Marketer $1997 Info course.
Alex Becker, Morrison Brothers, Dan Lok, Dean Graziosi come to mind.

In one of Becker’s videos from 2018 he said you could just copy a product and selling it well to make multi 7 figs/yr (I believe it’s his video on Why Shark Tank is Gross)
 

Black_Dragon43

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BRO Marketer $1997 Info course.
Alex Becker, Morrison Brothers, Dan Lok, Dean Graziosi come to mind.
I don't know all those guys, but...

Alex: Some of his content on YouTube is great. In addition, his book, the Ten Pillars of Wealth is recommended in the Fastlane bookstore here. And it's a great read imo. In addition, Alex has founded and built several real businesses that deliver value, the latest being Hyros.

Dan Lok: Yes, you can find the stuff he teaches elsewhere as well. But that's not to say the stuff isn't good. I've watched some of his sales content, and it's decent advice. If you take that and implement it, you'll probably get good results, if you're actually persistent.

However, I feel that most people have no idea how hard it is to sell a shit product. Believe me, it's NOT easy at all. In fact, it's super hard, a lot harder, imo, than when you sell a real product, which by comparison is EASY. Nowadays if I get a guy with a shit product coming to me, I turn him the other way around, not necessarily for a moral reason (assuming of course, that the product isn't something immoral by nature), but rather because I know I'll waste my and my people's time trying to sell something that likely WILL NOT SELL. I've also worked for or consulted for some of the 'big name' gurus, and I know that quite a few of them are BARELY breaking even off their funnels.

Also, if you read 7 Steps to Freedom by Ben Suarez (who built SCI to a $400 million business at its peak) you will find out that these guys had an entire DEPARTMENT responsible for sourcing products, and their whole shtick was trying to find products that sell. In fact he mentions that 1 out of 7 products would succeed, and the rest would fail. And this is AFTER they did their best selecting products that would sell and doing all the necessary market research. If a product would fail, they'd scratch it, and onto the next one. They didn't try to "sell it harder".

Gary Halbert, in the Boron Letters, says that the most important thing is to have a HUNGRY MARKET - ie, have the right product for the right audience. And he spent a lot of time looking at products that were already selling before creating a new product, he didn't just pick any random product and try to sell it harder... because that just doesn't work.

Look at this guy:


Looks like great salesmanship to me... check out the result though.

And compare with the same guy earlier:


Was it his "genius" sales abilities that got him his first result? Absolutely not, it was finding the right service / niche, at the right time. And the second time around, the same genius FAILED, because he had the wrong offer, a simple as that.

Selling a shit product is an uphill battle that is extremely difficult to win. It's not an option if you really want to be successful imo. The real successes look for products that sell, and if they don't, they don't take it as a failure to sell, but rather as the wrong product.

I know people who have made HUNDREDS of millions of dollars. And yet, when they tried to move to say coaching, for example, utterly failed. Why? Bad marketing? Absolutely not. They had some of the best marketing out there. Lack of demand, that's why. And that's not a sales problem. It's a product choice problem.

Working in direct response I've seen so many businesses that simply cannot be saved in the form that they're in with great marketing. They need a different offer, they need to pivot first.

I think the success of BRO marketers is GREATLY exaggerated.
 

thechosen1

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Out of curiosity @MJ DeMarco , do you have any examples in mind of what you'd consider a poor product but with an awesome sales strategy that you'd be willing to share?
Crocs.

The product is not bad, but the fact the company has become a multi-billion dollar public enterprise is really something to marvel at.

The products are good, but extremely well-executed sales and marketing separate Crocs from whatever other shoe biz you might be starting.

Not to mention well-executed back-end (operations, logistics, financial management, etc).
 

_Denis_S

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Oct 19, 2019
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Selling a shit product is an uphill battle that is extremely difficult to win. It's not an option if you really want to be successful imo. The real successes look for products that sell, and if they don't, they don't take it as a failure to sell, but rather as the wrong product.
I agree that selling a shitty product is an uphill battle and that is extremely difficult and frustrating.
The true beauty, imho is seeing those setbacks as lessons and customer-feedback. You'll take them back home to your drawing-board to improve yourself and your product.
I guess that's also the reason why the whole "starting lean idea" is so omipresent in the startup-community.
-> Starting lean = lower monetary risk and most often easier cycles to improve the product.

Another reason I personally fell in love with the idea of becoming good at Sales is because if you have a shitty product and make at least some revenue, you could use that money to improve/reinvest in the product and your company. If you can't close any deals you're out of business soon (unfortunately talking about my own experience here...). I guess that's all part of the entrepreneurial rodeo-ride haha
 

MJ DeMarco

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Out of curiosity @MJ DeMarco , do you have any examples in mind of what you'd consider a poor product but with an awesome sales strategy that you'd be willing to share?

I recently bought a flexible hose that was "As shown on TV!" -- the thing was great, for about 3 weeks until it leaked in multiple spots. Returned it and got another. Lasted 4 weeks. The product sucked, but boy, that marketing was great. After the 2nd return, the cashier (at Home Depot) said, "Oh yea, we are always having to refund these."

I find "bad product, great marketing" common in local home services. That HVAC company who is always advertising on the radio? They suck, they overcharge, and they upsell. Once you get sucked into using them, they never are used again once you realize you overpaid for shit you didn't need.

That's why they're forced to advertise... they have to replace old fools, with new fools.
 

Black_Dragon43

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I recently bought a flexible hose that was "As shown on TV!" -- the thing was great, for about 3 weeks until it leaked in multiple spots. Returned it and got another. Lasted 4 weeks. The product sucked, but boy, that marketing was great. After the 2nd return, the cashier (at Home Depot) said, "Oh yea, we are always having to refund these."

I find "bad product, great marketing" common in local home services. That HVAC company who is always advertising on the radio? They suck, they overcharge, and they upsell. Once you get sucked into using them, they never are used again once you realize you overpaid for shit you didn't need.

That's why they're forced to advertise... they have to replace old fools, with new fools.
Thank you MJ, makes sense. I don’t have as much experience with physical products, especially outside of the online environment!
 

SimoJames

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Aug 22, 2020
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I agree that selling a shitty product is an uphill battle and that is extremely difficult and frustrating.
The true beauty, imho is seeing those setbacks as lessons and customer-feedback. You'll take them back home to your drawing-board to improve yourself and your product.
I guess that's also the reason why the whole "starting lean idea" is so omipresent in the startup-community.
-> Starting lean = lower monetary risk and most often easier cycles to improve the product.

Another reason I personally fell in love with the idea of becoming good at Sales is because if you have a shitty product and make at least some revenue, you could use that money to improve/reinvest in the product and your company. If you can't close any deals you're out of business soon (unfortunately talking about my own experience here...). I guess that's all part of the entrepreneurial rodeo-ride haha
Hi, they don't answer that often because I still have a lot to learn, but I was thinking that if your passion is to focus on the product you could delegate the sale to third parties (affiliations, sales teams etc.) and pay them based on the performance obtained. although as a salesman I can tell you that improving on the sales path will help you understand how to best delegate this part and create marketing that helps your sales reps where they have difficulty
 

Black_Dragon43

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With regards to sales, I was re-reading this very interesting bit from a great book, entitled The Road Less Stupid by Keith Cunningham (he built and lost a fortune of around $100M, and is the widely thought to be the real "rich dad" behind Robert Kyiosaki's book).

The chapter is "A CEO Should Never Delegate...", and it discusses the 7 jobs a CEO should never delegate. Surprisingly perhaps, sales is not one of them. Rather, here are the jobs:
1. Clarity on the current situation, and the vision for the future;
2. Identifying the gap between current situation and the vision, and the obstacle that stands in the way;
3. Plan a system that will overcome the obstacle and get you closer to the vision;
4. Allocate the resources the system needs (manpower, capital, technology, whatever it is);
5. Make sure the people working the system are grade A;
6. Have clarity in the organizational chart;
7. Create culture.

This is very much in line with my own thinking and experience... the key is knowing WHAT to sell, rather than HOW to sell it (which is usually the easier part). A great salesman who isn't a visionary will struggle to build a great business. And in leading a team of people, there certainly isn't anything, in my experience again, more important than having vision -> knowing where you should be going and what you should be doing in the first place.
 

_Denis_S

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Oct 19, 2019
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8
12
Switzerland
With regards to sales, I was re-reading this very interesting bit from a great book, entitled The Road Less Stupid by Keith Cunningham (he built and lost a fortune of around $100M, and is the widely thought to be the real "rich dad" behind Robert Kyiosaki's book).

The chapter is "A CEO Should Never Delegate...", and it discusses the 7 jobs a CEO should never delegate. Surprisingly perhaps, sales is not one of them. Rather, here are the jobs:
1. Clarity on the current situation, and the vision for the future;
2. Identifying the gap between current situation and the vision, and the obstacle that stands in the way;
3. Plan a system that will overcome the obstacle and get you closer to the vision;
4. Allocate the resources the system needs (manpower, capital, technology, whatever it is);
5. Make sure the people working the system are grade A;
6. Have clarity in the organizational chart;
7. Create culture.

This is very much in line with my own thinking and experience... the key is knowing WHAT to sell, rather than HOW to sell it (which is usually the easier part). A great salesman who isn't a visionary will struggle to build a great business. And in leading a team of people, there certainly isn't anything, in my experience again, more important than having vision -> knowing where you should be going and what you should be doing in the first place.
I absolutely agree with you! If and when you're on a certain level you should have teams, systems and processes that work without you and your job is basically the 7 points you mentionend.
I personally have never been on that level, so definitely not my expertise...

BUT (the part where I wanna respectfully disagree with you): Tell me how you get to the point where you can employ people, build systems, teams and processes.... without ever having sold your product?
Maybe if you take the college-to- general-manager route, but you sure have to sell there too, i.e. sell a well educated applicant that it's a good idea to work for your company and not the other...

Maybe I have to rephrase what I mean by sales:
Influence and persuade people to make the right decision for them and you.

See my point?
 
Last edited:

Black_Dragon43

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Tell me how you get to the point where you can employ people, build systems, teams and processes.... without ever having sold your product?
The way I look at things, you're building the system from the start. It doesn't matter if you're the only person who executes inside the system, you still need to build and work it.

Building the system isn't about hiring others... it's about what system do you build in the first place. THAT is the hard part, hiring, relatively easy by comparison.

The same holds true with regards to sales. You have to decide what system you'll use to make sales... will you go door to door? Will you post on Facebook groups? Will you run ads? What system will you use to attract customers and sell to them?

Those questions and how you answer them are imo a whole lot more important than the actual execution. Sure, if you can't execute at all, you won't get anywhere, BUT if you don't have a solid system, even if you execute like mad you'll be spinning your wheels with no results.

You could be a great salesperson 1 on 1 for example... so you go selling your thing door to door. Say copywriting services. Is that smart? Probably not. So, in that case, you need a better system, not better sales skills.
 

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