StartUp Founders: Founder-Led Sales

July 07, 2024 3 mins read
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Dear Reader,

Founder-led sales is the most insane wizardry you’ll ever manifest. How the hell do you convince someone to be your first customer, buying your unfinished product, built by a team of hooligans, with tech held together by barely tested code and silly string? (𝕏)

Simple. They’re not just buying your today; they’re buying into your tomorrow. If you’re truly solving the problem, this isn’t about product, it’s a trust and value play.

TL;DR Sales is not a function of your business; it is your business. You’re late.


3.7 The Golden Handshake: The First 8 Minutes.


You’re simultaneously the best and worst salesperson for your startup. No one knows your product, vision, and customers’ pain points like you do. But you’re also too close to it, too quick to demo, too eager to close.

The voice of the customer is unlike anything else, the signals, the market fit, your ability to truly hear the feedback. This is your unfair advantage. Weaponize it.

You’re juggling two critical sales strategies: Run The Business (RTB) and Invest In The Business (ITB) (for reference).

RTB is your next 90 days. The immediate, outbound hustle, the campaigns, the standard sales plays, the funnels, the nurturing. The only thing that’s actually keeping your business in business, made even harder as you are likely also executing the service you sell.

ITB is the mid/long game. Planting seeds that bloom in 18 months and inbound leads start appearing, it’s when the wind turns and you are no longer the sole person driving everything. It is the foundation of scale.

You’re building a business, and right now, that business is sales. It’s a tightrope walk between NOW (aka stay in business) (RTB) and mid-long sales plays (ITB) that’ll make you question your sanity. Can ITB sales possibly be a good use of your time…. when you have no time.

A thousand times yes. If you’re not investing in ITB, you’re treading water aka drowning in slow motion. ITB is a self-fulfilling prophecy. The seeds you plant today are the trees of tomorrow. it’s that simple.

You know the people best served by your solution, you know your ICP, and you know where and how to get to them. RTB is just doing that. (repeatedly)

You must design your strategy around three core elements:

Direct: In the trenches, hustling relentlessly. Your vision, your voice, your grit. No intermediaries, just pure founder energy.

InDirect: Amplify your reach through partners and channels. Resellers, SIs, platform partners, marketplaces. Anyone who already has the trust of your future customers. (Leverage / Ecosystem / Nearbound)

Awareness: How you intend to be known. You cannot win a deal you aren’t in.

Founder Led Sales aka Manifesting Impossible

SU004.0 Founder Led Sales (aka Manifesting The Impossible) by James Sinclair

Sales is far more predictable than people give it credit for. IF you have a strategy, IF you’re mapping your actions, IF you’re iterating with relentless speed.

Go sell. It’s totally reasonable that you are feeling hugely conflicted and equal parts excited and terrified right now.

Off topic. I’m thinking of converting all these modules into a cohesive live course, from idea origination to first customers, literally pebble by pebble. Would this be helpful?

As always, if I can be of service, feel free to grab time with me.

— James

(LinkedIn | Tiktok | Twitter)

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