i3 - March/April 2017 - 44

Business
By Jake Sigal
A DV I C E FO R E N T R E P R E N E U RS

Remember Post-CES ABCs:
Always Be Closing
Techstars Startup Stage
at the Eureka Park
Marketplace at CES 2017.

 W

e're back. We have a stack of business cards from
the people we met at CES. We've already hit up our
top customers and opportunities and we've said
thanks to everyone else. We're setting our team's
2017 performance review goals and mapping objectives for the
year. We're trying to sort out what's real and what's show fluff.
It's a time for both reflection and planning. But you don't need
me to tell you that you should mind your ABCs when it comes
to getting deals done. "Always Be Closing."
Strong Follow-up
I like to remind myself that a sale isn't
a sale until the money is in the bank.
For younger entrepreneurs that are coming
back to their board meetings with all of
these great opportunities, you'll learn from
the veterans that all trade shows create
excitement. They'll also tell you not to
confuse excitement and hard verbal commitments with closable deals.
Closing often means pivoting from
what you hear at CES to a follow-up
conversation back home. You will repeat
back to your customer what you heard
in Vegas and see if it still sticks. I once
followed up on a customer's idea only to
find out they'd completely forgotten about
44

MARCH/APRIL 2017

it. They even told me what a great idea it
was, until I reminded them it was theirs!
Realistically, I try to close 10 percent
of the deals I track in a given year.
At CES, that number drops to about five
percent. Many of these CES "deals" are
really pre-deal opportunities that won't
be in deal-closing range for the company
for another year or two.
The next step is developing a relationship. Ask permission to check in quarterly.
Follow up around tradeshows. Especially
for the Eureka Park startups, it's key
that you do a good job following up with
every contact. Keep them in the loop.
Don't blast them with emails and never
copy and paste content. Stand out by

being cool and personal with handwritten notes and letters thanking them
for stopping by your booth.
Note that deal-closure probability
doesn't directly relate to the name of
the company on the business card.
It's the name of the person on the card
that counts; that, and the problem they're
willing to pay you to solve. That doesn't
mean don't close a deal with a Fortune
100 company. It just means don't prioritize all deals based solely on market
cap or investor cache.
This advice was given to me by my good
friend and CTA Foundation Board of
Trustees Chair Larry Richenstein and he's
spot on. He's started and sold a number
of companies, and is a current board
member of the NY Angels.
After the potential deals roll in at CES,
map them out when you get back. We
use a customer relationship management
system throughout the year, but after CES
we go old school visual. That means using
whiteboards to get the creativity flowing
and mind-mapping apps like FreeMind
to quickly move ideas around deals.
I start by sorting every opportunity
into two main buckets. The first bucket
holds the deals we can close in the first
quarter. Anything we can close later goes
in the second. From there I break down
deals by customer and list specific action
items. These "AIs" are always specific with
a person's initials, what they are doing and
when they are doing it. It's easy to keep
them up to date in real time with the team,
while filing all the notes and emails into the
CRM system. Once the spring hits, I have
my 2017 deals mapped out and it's back
to executing and keeping customers happy.
I often am asked my favorite part
of CES. The answer is seeing my friends.
But a close second is that post-show
period when I get to come home and
hustle hard. Time is of the essence.
"Always Be Closing." ■
I T I S I N N O VAT I O N



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of i3 - March/April 2017

Contents
i3 - March/April 2017 - Cover1
i3 - March/April 2017 - Cover2
i3 - March/April 2017 - Contents
i3 - March/April 2017 - 2
i3 - March/April 2017 - 3
i3 - March/April 2017 - 4
i3 - March/April 2017 - 5
i3 - March/April 2017 - 6
i3 - March/April 2017 - 7
i3 - March/April 2017 - 8
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i3 - March/April 2017 - 16
i3 - March/April 2017 - 17
i3 - March/April 2017 - 18
i3 - March/April 2017 - 19
i3 - March/April 2017 - 20
i3 - March/April 2017 - 21
i3 - March/April 2017 - 22
i3 - March/April 2017 - 23
i3 - March/April 2017 - 24
i3 - March/April 2017 - 25
i3 - March/April 2017 - 26
i3 - March/April 2017 - 27
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i3 - March/April 2017 - 44
i3 - March/April 2017 - 45
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i3 - March/April 2017 - 48
i3 - March/April 2017 - 49
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i3 - March/April 2017 - 51
i3 - March/April 2017 - 52
i3 - March/April 2017 - Cover3
i3 - March/April 2017 - Cover4
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