Killer Startup Kids

By Annaliese Godderz Startup Institute - we’re all a part of it, we’ve told our friends, updated our LinkedIns, yet we can’t define it. Some creative explanations we told parents at grad parties included everything from: “I got a job working for Techstars,” to “I’m living in Boston ‘til I figure things out,” to “I’m taking a summer class at Harvard.” But none of these come close to the truth. So what are we really in class for every day?

Well, I can’t speak for the tracks outside of Sales and Business Development, but I think I’ve finally figured out what we’re doing here. Y’all can correct me if you disagree with my final conclusion, but here’s my interpretation of the past week:

The first day Eli Lederman told us that he doesn’t waste time with pleasantries like asking, “How are you?” Instead, he advised us to present ourselves honestly in line with our personalities; “sales is not a game.”

The next day Jim Kearney told us that sales is fun because it’s just a game. Match the customer’s personality in your tone and body language to hook him. Take lead in the conversation to disarm him. Then “stay on him like a hobo on a muffin” after making the first contact. Put your emotions aside, but put the customer in pain so you can exploit his needs. Develop trust. Be a killer. Execute. Put money in the “Hip National Bank.” And “CRUSH IT.”

Thursday our mission was to find a local restaurant to sponsor a lunch for 75 SIB students, and as we were running out the door I heard “We’re gonna kill it!” “Let’s get em!” Followed by threatening tweets like “YOU’RE GOING DOWN!” Dude, we’re all on the same team.

After failing to sign up several restaurants, jumping over each other just to find out that other SIB students had already talked to the same restaurant, and assigning multiple meals to the same day - we realized we needed to work as a group. “The Sales Brotherhood” as Jim Kearney calls it, similar to a mafia, we need to work together within our program to close sales. We learned that we should’ve determined our value proposition, dates, and locations beforehand.

So it’s an honest game, but you need to know who’s on your team. We’re stronger in numbers and we support each other. When we have a clear idea of our goals we can get free meals for 75 students for weeks. We already have a week of varied cuisines after a day of selling and we’re not stopping there. We’re hunters, we’re family, we’re the Startup Institute Mafia.