Before working on Troops, I was usually pretty good about reflecting on experiences after the fact…doing a “post-mortem” if you will.
Something I was less diligent about was this concept of “pre-mortems.”
A pre-mortem means taking the time to map out what you expect to happen and the implications of that outcome. It sounds basic, but bringing process to this really makes a difference vs. haphazardly doing it here and there.
Consistently practicing simple pre-mortems at Troops has saved our team weeks worth of time by helping us realize that what we were about to do was not actually an effective use of time. I credit my colleague Aditya Pandyaram for instilling this process into our company and my life.
When you distill it down, trying new things are …
A bunch of people that subscribe to my newsletter have told me that their favorite part is the business tactics I share in the “Tactic of the Month” section….
So I thought I’d share the first 5 on this here tablet in case you missed them.
Business Tactic 1: Good Cop / Bad Cop
In business development you’re bound to encounter some situations where you’re not going to make the other party happy (i.e. you can’t accomodate a request, you need an update on where a deal stands that they’re not ready to give etc).
People like doing business with people they like.
Thus, it’s in your best interest to be likeable. This why playing good cop / bad cop can be such an effective …
I’ve donated more money to the driving range than I’d like to admit.
You see, growing up I was told in order to improve or perform something at a high level, the best thing to do was practice. In the context of aspiring to break triple digits on the links, I thought hitting the range and swinging until my hands bleed was the right approach. Sigh.
The distinct memory of those blisters isn’t why I now cringe at that approach. I cringe because I realize I could have used my time much more effectively. When you want to get results faster than you can teach yourself, the best thing to do is seek advice from an expert. In the instance above, I should have taken a …
The tactic I’m about to share is not only for sales and business development professionals; it’s a unique strategy that can literally be used to start an email dialogue with anyone who has an online presence.
One of the most important things in writing an effective cold email is to keep it short. However, communicating all the things necessary to elicit a response in 3-4 sentences can be extremely challenging. One way I’ve been able to overcome this and start dialogues with many c-level execs and big time entrepreneurs is by communicating my message in a more visually engaging format that’s easier to consume than text.
I’ve written about how to write effective cold emails before. The formula is simple:
Keep it short
Personalize it …
In the first part of this post, I shared how calling for a former employee can help you find a decision maker. Here’s a few other strategies to isolate the right contact at a large company.
Use Implicit Data on LinkedIn
Let’s revert back to the conundrum of there being 12 people in the marketing department and limited transparency to which one is responsible for your particular initiative. There’s a few places on a LinkedIn profile that contain implicit data from which you can draw conclusions.
The Skills and Expertise Section
The skills and expertise section contains granular endorsements (i.e. email marketing, social media, SEM). These can provide a strong indication what someone is responsible for at a particular company.
Say I was looking to …
I’ve soft-launched two startups in the past year…and I’m the only one that knows about it.
Many aspiring founders build a minimum viable product without a minimum viable audience. This is bad.
In order to truly understand market demand, there needs to be a feedback loop. For consumer web products, that feedback loop is people or an audience. Without one, it’s nearly impossible to test a product in the market…maybe that’s why we see people spend months building before they realize no one wants their product. There’s probably a group of lean startup disciples doing a golf clap somewhere.
The audience I used to test one of my “MVPs” was my blog’s readership.
For people that have read this blog over the past year, …
People you don’t know are always more likely to respond to your emails when you’ve been referred. It signals you’ve been vetted.
Unfortunately, we don’t always have someone willing to introduce or refer us to the person we’re trying to reach. One way to combat this is by creating a referral. The methodology is pretty simple and can be applied even before you’ve identified the decision maker:
Step 1. Call Above Someone in the Organization
By calling above, I mean call someone who holds a higher, related position within the corporate hierarchy. I.E. If I’m trying to reach the VP of marketing, try calling the Chief Marketing Officer’s office.
When you reach this person, simply ask them who is responsible …
I encounter a lot of people who want to “get coffee sometime.”
A lot of them are younger people I haven’t met or brief acquaintances looking for advice or help.
If you fall into this category (vs. a friend/colleague), there are effective ways to go about asking for coffee that make people more likely to meet with you as well as elicit a greater sense of respect for their time.
I’m breaking this down into two parts.
1. How to increase your odds that a busy, cool person will meet with you
2. An effective way to ask for a coffee meeting
Increasing the Odds This Person Will Meet For Coffee
You’ve identified the person you’d like to grab a cup of joe with. Let’s just assume …