527: Should Founders Be Doing Sales? Will Prospects Take Their Startups Serious?

11.03.2020 - By The Startup Chat with Steli and Hiten

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In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about if founders should be doing sales.

Sales can be tricky for experienced and new founders, and it’s very common for some founders to want to delegate sales to someone else as they worry that customer will judge them or see their company as a small company and not want to do business with them. However, the opposite is the case most of the time and in practice, people love talking to founders.

In this week’s episode, Steli and Hiten talk about how some founders are concerned about doing sales themselves, why it’s better for founders to do sales themselves, how some founders’ let their insecurities get in the way of their success and much more.

Time Stamped Show Notes:

00:00 About today’s topic.

00:45 Why this topic was chosen.

01:55 How some founders are concerned about doing sales themselves.

02:25 Why it’s better for founders to do sales themselves.

04:06 How Hiten does sales for his own startup.

04:54 How some founders’ let their insecurities get in the way of their success.

05:30 How the customer wants you to solve their problem.

06:07 How the customer matters.

06:35 How people are thrilled to talk to founders.

07:50 How Hiten and his cofounder get on sales calls together

3 Key Points:

I think it’s better if the founder sells.Insecurities can stand in the way of success.The customer wants you to solve their problem.

Steli Efti: Hey everybody, this is Steli Efti.
Hetin Shah: And this is Hetin Shah.
Steli Efti: And today on the Startup Chat, we're going to talk about, how do we want to frame this, should founders sell themselves, or is that projecting a weird or weak message to the world? So, this is going to be a short rent episode, but I feel like, maybe especially our audience or some people in the audience, will benefit from hearing this. I was on a mentor call recently, and there were a bunch of self-funded founders and self-funded SAS entrepreneurs on that call. And there were a lot of questions around selling. And then one founder asked a question. It's one of those rare ones where I've heard it many times over the years, but I've never addressed it afterwards, in kind of a one piece of content to share that, my opinion about this, with the world. It kind of clicked and I was like, "I can't believe I've never talked about this on the podcast. I've never talked about this on a video or something like that." So I wanted to chat with you about this real quick, the basic premise being... And I'll ask you first, see what you think and what you would have told this founder and then I'll tell everybody what I told them. But here's a founder that has built a SAS product that is in the early days. And he asked me, he said basically, "Listen, I'm a bit concerned that if I'm starting to reach out to people by email and cold calling and all that, and I'm like, 'Hey, I want to sell you this product.' And then they're like, 'Oh what's your position in the company?' And I have to say, 'I'm the founder.' Then it will obviously communicate that I am tiny, there's nobody else working at this company, and I'm probably desperate because why otherwise would the founder involve themselves in cold emailing people, and ask them for appointments, and giving them demos, and trying to close them on a deal?'" And he was like, "Wouldn't it be better if it just hired somebody to do this? So, we maintain the appearance of being a successful, maybe bigger company." That question was directed to you, Hetin. If somebody was like, "Hetin, should I sell myself? Or will they create kind of a bad impression in the market because I'm the founder? Should I rather just hire somebody to do that, so people don't think I'm desperate and small?" What's your general response to that?
Hetin Shah: I think it's better if the founder sells. And I think there's some level of imposter syndrome happening when these folks are like making up reasons why they sho...

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