When There’s “No Way Back,” and Success is the Only Option

If you own or run sales for a business that doesn’t have a well known brand name, offers something hard to explain in a long elevator ride and care quite a bit about new business we have a lot in common.

My entire professional career is about this topic. That’s why I wrote the book. Nothing against sales coaches, marketing strategists and expert business consultants. It’s just that running a solo operation or getting experience from working in large companies, consulting firms or agencies is not directly relevant to what you and I care about. I know a lot about this topic…more than anybody that I know…but it’s been a very hard road. My MBA is in school of hard knocks.

Since leaving my family’s business in 2006 I’ve been fired from more companies than I can remember. I also left a couple of great high paying jobs out of anger and frustration because I don’t know how to work for someone else that doesn’t “get it” like I think that I do. Not ideal for a corporate career as you can imagine. More detail on these stories in a later chapter. Perhaps we made the same mistakes. You decided to strike out on your own too. It’s a lot easier for most people to just get a paycheck. For me it’s not even a viable option. I’ve been trying to figure out the new business racket for my entire adult life. It wasn’t really a choice actually. I couldn’t get into a decent graduate school and had no other job prospects except dialing for dollars prospecting and finding a way to close business for small B2B service and software companies.

Before you pick up a book or hire a consultant ask them a few simple qualification questions.

  • Have you ever run or do you run a successful business that bills at least $1M – $50M in annual revenue and has 10 people on staff minimum?
  • How many years did you prospect on the front lines as a direct contributor for a business that nobody ever heard of with a complex sales cycle that required consultative sales skills?
  • What is your personal and direct experience creating cold opportunities and closing them from a 100% cold start rather than reliance on a brand name, referrals or a big personal network for new business?

You get the point. Knowing about these things is not the same as having spent years succeeding in the trenches doing the work yourself.

Are you like me and all the companies that I’ve worked for or represented over my 20 plus year career in business?

  1. Nobody in your prospect pool outside your core clients has heard of you.
  2. There are a lot of you out there creating a supply / demand imbalance*
  3. When you describe what you do nobody has any idea what you are talking about.
This is true in software innovation by the way as your “one of a kind” super cool tool will be replicated virtually overnight if anybody finds it useful.

In the new world it’s all about selling and solid product and market fit.

You can’t rely on having the best people, product or service like in the old days. Current clients and referrals won’t get you there and loyalty is a at premium. My approach is to expect major changes and prepare on a daily basis for potential disaster. We look at how well our client’s offering impacts the success of its chosen target market. If the fit truly exists with market perceptions.

I wrote this book for business leaders for whom success is the only option. For when there’s no way back.

Tell me if our stories sound at all the same: You’ve staked out a business niche with a complex offering that almost nobody has heard of, and you’ve got to operationalize it and get revenue. Now.

That’s me. I am voluntarily unemployable. I either make Kaul Sales Partners work or I’m going to end up selling my house. I can’t work for anybody else. Maybe you can’t, either. We’ve got to figure this out together or we are basically screwed.

I wrote this book to share what I’ve learned in building and running two very different businesses — and what it took for me to solve the twin brain-burns of putting people and processes in place while stabilizing the whole operation with dependable revenue.

I wrote this book for other entrepreneurs or long-time business owners who are scaling like crazy but must go faster to succeed or perhaps are one client decision away from a revenue disaster. Either way the business must keep a stream of new clients coming in the door. Because if you stand at either precipice, you don’t own your business unless you solve the new business conundrum. Your clients do. What follows is some advice for clawing your way out of that trap and making this thing work. Because we’ve got to.

I defaulted to working for myself because that’s just the kind of animal I am. I hope what I’ve learned — and am still learning — is of some value to you. Maybe you can apply some of the things here. Maybe we can talk about it some time. Maybe we can wave to each other from our sailboats because we set up a business and revenue system that we can count on to deliver what we must have out of life.

There’s no way back. Let’s see how we can learn and get better on this thrilling and nerve-wracking adventure.

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