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How To Win Clients When Nobody Knows You

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12 months ago when I quit my old life in the mining world and jumped into 90 Seconds opening up the Perth market and now Melbourne office, none of my prospects had heard of me or 90. Here is the story of how I firstly survived and secondly managed to win key accounts.

The first 3 months at 90 Seconds I offered to intern for free, this was for a couple of reasons. Firstly, with no proven record in video production I had to make myself an attractive proposition and nothing shows more dedication than quitting a 6 figure package to work for free. Secondly, it gave me some breathing room to build industry knowledge and relationships without pipeline pressure.

My story of quitting a high paying job, flying to Auckland, tracking down Tim Norton the CEO of 90 Seconds in a bar, pitching for an opportunity and working 3 months for free has turned out to be my biggest selling asset. Passion. When clients discover the sacrifice I made and realise I’m clearly not motivated simply by money, rapport is built a lot quicker. As Simon Sinek proposes in “Start with Why” top brands succeed because of a higher purpose – the same can be said for sales. Passion & Belief.

Screen Shot 2015-08-12 at 9.55.58 pmDespite what I may have said publicly, in all honesty the first 6 months of launching 90 in Perth were brutal. Once the kind introductions were made from friends, I was all on my own, and it was a struggle. I was pitching the world’s leading cloud video production platform which is revolutionising content creation globally and it felt like no one wanted to know me. Anxious, stressful, lonely are words that come to mind. Then December came along and everything went completely dead. No meetings = No sales = No job. It’s a simple formula. Feeling the heat and coming to the realisation my days were numbered I dug deep. Real deep.

There are 2 ways to tackle stress and anxiety. Prevention and/or cure. Cure might involve fitness, meditation or possibly therapy. Prevention entails identifying the root cause and fixing it. I chose prevention. Figure out how to get more meetings. It was around this time I stumbled on “Social Selling”. This was to be my game-changer. Social selling at its core is basically giving away industry insights / research findings for free and leveraging your social media reach to build an engaged audience. I did this through LinkedIn. 12 months ago I had 350 LinkedIn connections, today I have around 2500.

Through LinkedIn blogging, free video content marketing workshops and lots of non-salesy coffee dates, I started to get some traction. The key was learning to craft very carefully scripted and relevant outreaches on LinkedIn, a no pressure invitation for a coffee catch up and ironically, not selling. After 5 months of implementing this strategy I had a personal best week of 11 meetings with some of the largest brands in Australia. Fast forward to the month of July I wrote $50k in new business including signing a partnership deal with a major creative agency which could blow Australia wide open for us. Given my current growth trajectory and some of the national & global brands I have now built relationships with, 2016 should result in $1m of new business across the Perth & Melbourne regions that I manage.

Key Takeaways for Start-ups

  • A world class product is not enough to land meetings – you need to learn how to cut through the noise.
  • Tackle the cause not the effect when it comes to stress: Bliss won’t get you meetings but meetings will give you bliss.
  • Passion & Belief sells: Don’t be afraid to tell your story and wear your heart on your sleeve.
  • Patience & Persistence: When the going gets tough, double down and ride out the storm.
  • Content Marketing & Social Selling: Blogging or Vlogging is free – you won’t get better ROI than that.
  • Feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn and watch the story continue to unfold – Just mention Startup News in the invitation.

For more information on Social Selling, Nick Teulon & David Smit have created an online community at

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Startup News has been the home of West Australian startup news and events since 2013. We publish several news stories, interviews, tips and events relating to WA startups every week, with over 1,900 articles in our archives. We also produce the 'Startup West' podcast, and host the 'Hubs (Ecosystem)' database of WA startup programs, places and events.

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