Biz Dev Learnings from Alex Taub

On Tuesday June 25th, Mr. Alex Taub, Head of Biz Dev at Dwolla graced us with his presence and dropped knowledge like it’s hot.

As an avid biz dev learner, I’ve been fortunate to learn first hand from some of the greats, namely Scott Britton, BD at Single Platform who spoke at my last meetup and Scott Pollack, BD at American Express. Lots of the content I sift through gets very repetitive, but Alex dropped tons of tactical bombs.

First and foremost were the 4 golden rules of a partnership… Never before has something as vague as partnerships seemed so black and white. Fortunately, Alex broke all partnerships down into four collectively exhaustive (not mutually exclusive) goals within partnerships:

  1. Make money
  2. Save money
  3. Grow User Base
  4. Improve Product/Service

By putting potential partnerships through this lens, it really helps you clarify and amplify your value proposition by making it cut and dry.

After talking about the 4 golden rules, it was really insightful to learn about how to effectively go about pitching potential sales/partnerships.

One of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever gotten from my friends Drew Nagda and Charlie Houpert is when you’re trying to close something, it’s easy to pitch pitch pitch and get caught up being screened by the person you’re trying to close. In reality, that technique is whack! Your likelihood of closing goes way down. So instead of having them screen you, and doing whatever to stay afloat as prospects screen you, what’s much more effective is you screening them.

Alex made this tactic simple by using 2 simple questions… In reality, your time is your most important asset, so it’s not even worth pitching somebody if they’re not a good fit. So, low and behold, 2 simple questions, not only valuable to turn the screening tables, but also pivotal in helping you tailor your pitch:

  • What are you focused on?
  • What’s most important to you? What metrics are you measuring?

Lastly, now that you’ve got an understanding of what type of partnership value you have to offer, and have screened prospects to see if they’re good fit, you can now tailor your pitch… but how do you get to the forbidden fruits of the close? It’s a lot simpler when you take these 3 simple tactics into consideration.

  • Sincere selling – If you do not passionately believe in what you’re selling, you’re fucked. Either address your causes of concern spot on, or move on. When you live and breath what you’re trying to sell, prospects get inspired and absorbed by the energy you emit. If you don’t, they won’t!
  • Use cases – Not only do use cases provide social proof that other brands are using your product/service, but it gives concrete examples of the difference you can make. It creates evidence to the point that your prospects should feel stupid for not going with what you have to offer. Also, use cases of a prospect’s competitors will definitely lead to FOMA (fear of missing out)
  • Urgency – People are natural procrastinators, especially when it comes to tough decisions. As my colleague Sharon Park (ex-Googler) always says, “time kills all deals.” So instead of waiting to here back from them, and seeing them slowly leave your grasp as they fall into the abyss of lost deals, create urgency. Whether you announcing a new launch and want to create the opportunity for prospects to become a launch partner, or you’ve got a big press release coming up, leverage the hell out of creating a context of urgency. Even if you have to fake it, it will help you go a long way.

So with all that being said, I hope you’re as inspired and reinvigorated by Alex’s thoughts as I am and can put them to use ASAP…. Happy closing!

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