Wall Street Journal/The Accelerators: It’s All About Selling

Recruiting talent is no different than any other challenge a startup faces. It’s all about selling. This is the most important skill that an entrepreneur needs to learn. It’s about convincing others to believe in you and to buy your vision. Once your startup gets going, it is about persuading customers to purchase your product or getting venture capitalists to invest in your startup.

I know that “selling” usually conjures up negative images of used-car salesmen peddling clunkers, or sleazy hucksters selling snake oil. That is not what I am talking about.

I am talking about being able to understand another person’s needs and communicate your idea, product, or service in an open, honest, and credible manner.

It starts with listening very carefully to what the other person wants and values. Think honestly about whether what you are selling will benefit others. If it does, then find a way to persuade them. You do this by highlighting how what you are selling can satisfy their needs.

Once you have learned this basic skill, you can use it to win over people you meet who are a good fit for your team. Here is the selling process: understand the needs of the person you are trying to recruit, be sure that your startup is a good fit and communicate your vision.

You should adapt your vision as needed so that it becomes their vision too. Sell to your customers as passionately as you are selling your idea to him or her.

You will find that when your team members all have the same objectives and march in the same direction, you can climb any mountain. They will follow you to the ends of the earth.Selling is one thing, but it is important also to share the upside of the startup. If others are sharing your risk, they must also share the rewards. So once you have sold recruits on the vision, you have to buy them with stock. It’s a two-way street.