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A few more things

  • We do not do military (e.g. surveillance software or weaponry related software/hardware), porn, politics and religion.
  • Trust your gut. If you feel squeamish about a client or a deal, chances are there’s a reason. At the very least share your concerns with your colleagues. If they feel the same, consider dropping it.
  • Take the high road. Some people will behave poorly, especially when money is involved. Deals will fall through, people will try and use you, competitors will play dirty. Be graceful in these situations, people will remember you for it and karma will take care of things1.
  • Know your value. Clients will try and get the best deal they can, but if you sell yourself cheap you’ll end up hurting both parties; the lesser the client values your time, the harder the relationship. And less resources means less opportunities for us to do a great job.
  • Don’t give guesstimates or price ranges. Anchoring means that people will judge all subsequent prices you give them based on that initial (inaccurate) price you gave them. Similarly, never give a range, people will expect the lower end of the range2.
  • Focus on quality, rather than quantity. The shotgun approach isn’t an efficient way of going at sales. Good business people usually bring the majority of the revenue with significantly fewer, high return clients. This is why we cold email only in very specific cases (see [[How to generate leads?]]).
  • Be relentless. Once you’re exploring a lead, your goal is to close, either with a “yes” or a “no”. Be patient and keep on following up with people until you get a final answer.
  • Connectors vs. Prospects: many leads come from people who are well connected and eager to introduce us or pitch our team others. Value your relationship to these people, they often act like ambassadors or sales people for us.
  • Build rapport; make sure you always personalize your relationships. If you cold contact somebody, make sure you establish how you’re related to him (e.g. common interest in a technology). Make sure you take note of personal details people share with you. People do business with people, and they’re much more likely to do so if they like you.
  • Be concise; especially when sending emails, you want to avoid wasting people’s time. Build a rapport (e.g. something about them that led you to contact them), explain who you are and tell them why you’re contacting them. Nobody wants to read a boilerplate pitch from a stranger.
  • Be resourceful; finding a way to get in touch and establishing a rapport with somebody is pretty easy nowadays. People are sharing information about themselves all over LinkedIn, Twitter, GitHub, Facebook… Social hack your way to an introduction or a coffee.
  • Be confident; most people have no idea what they’re doing.

1: “If you wait by the river long enough, the bodies of your enemies will float by.”
2: this is also why you never should give a salary range when negotiating your compensation for a job.