Bill Becker

Figure $&!T Out

Sahil Bloom recently had a Twitter post (see below) that spoke volumes to me…it was about things he wished he knew about sooner concerning work. Each of those 9 points were brilliant, but I want to focus on #6…cause that was literally my motto. I always said, I don’t sell anything, I figure shit out. 

I didn’t try to convince anyone they needed my service, instead I found prospects who were already in the market and showed them why I was the best option…even more so than the company I worked for…by figuring shit out.  That’s what a lot of sales is about, especially Enterprise sales.

Not only do you have to deal with the prospect and whoever else is involved in the decision making, you have to deal with purchasing (which was simply me telling them the price is what I quoted. I know their job is to try and get a better price but Daddy Buzz didn’t play those games), legal (kill me), security (gotta love those 500 question spreadsheets on integration and data privacy!).

One time I had a prospect who wanted to to a trial using AWS. Only problem, getting an Enterprise AWS account requires a ton of people thinking up ways to say “No.” If that account gets hacked, the company could be on the hook for hundreds of thousands of dollars. The company I worked for didn’t have a solution (I believe they do now) so everyone was just looking at each other and I wasn’t getting closer to a sale. Then “I figured it out!”

I got the prospect an AWS account with one of my personal credit cards. I used the oldest card I had, which was the first one I got after my crash and burn from my divorce. It didn’t have a huge credit limit so I knew I was protected. My boss freaked out, his boss freaked out and I was like, Everyone chill. I’m not making these huge sales off my looks or personality. I am here figuring shit out.

The prospect got their trial, I got the sale and my credit card was fine. We don’t know what obstacles are going to be in front of us when we wake up each day. You can still have peace of mind knowing that somehow, someway….you’ll figure it out.

Happy Selling!

1. “Swallow the Frog” This is one of the greatest “hacks” to get ahead early in your career. Observe your boss, figure out what they hate doing, learn to do it, and take it off their plate. Easy win.

2. Do the old fashioned things well. Look people in the eye, do what you say you’ll do, be early, practice good posture, have a confident handshake. It sounds silly, but these things are all free and will never go out of style.

3. Work hard first and smart later. It’s trendy to say that working smart is all that matters. Wrong. If you want to accomplish anything significant, you have to work hard. Work hard early—take pride in it. Then you can start to build leverage to work smart.

4. Don’t do your best. Do your best is bad advice early in your career. Don’t do your best, do what is necessary. Do what it takes to win.

5. Build storytelling skills. World-changing CEOs aren’t the smartest in their orgs. They are exceptional at: (1) Aggregating data and (2) Communicating it simply & effectively. Data in, story out. Build that skill and you’ll always be valuable.

6. Establish a reputation for figuring it out. Early on, you’ll be given a lot of tasks you have no idea how to complete. There’s nothing more valuable than someone who can just figure it out. Do some work, ask key questions, get it done. People will fight over you.

7. Dive through every cracked door. If someone cracks open a door that may present an opportunity, dive through it.

8. Build a personal board of advisors. The concept of “mentorship” has become too formal. Asking someone to be your mentor feels like a big commitment. Instead, build a Personal Board of Advisors. A diverse group of 5-10 people you can go to for questions, advice, or feedback.

9. Prioritize people and experience, not salary. A 10x better foundation-building experience compounds much more effectively than that extra $5K in salary. You should be compensated fairly, but not all compensation is monetary. Think long-term. Build the strongest foundation.