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Ep. 251 – Nothing happens until you sell something

Nothing happen until you sell something -image

Among all the challenges entrepreneurs are facing getting more clients is the challenge that is mentioned most.

Customers are the oxygen of any business. And yet, we often think about getting customers and sales as a given.

Surprisingly, in most cases, focus on getting more customers to grow your business is much easier than most entrepreneurs think. But often, they prefer to focus on finding a cheaper manufacturer or making changes in the product, or replacing the team rather than increase their leads and customer base.


Probably because customers’ marketing and sales are something most business owners are not certain of.

They are not aware of the speed and volume of growth they can get through focus on the right customers to generate more leads, and sales

In today’s episode, I chose to focus on the stories of three successful entrepreneurs who realized that focusing on the customer is the easiest and fastest way to win.


Karl Maier Headshot

Karl Maier: “The customer is critical. One of my mentors said, many years ago, that nothing happens until you sell something. So, obviously, that starts with the customer.”

Karl Maier has been part of the leadership team in six established companies which have at least doubled sales in two years. Leveraging his successes, Karl developed the Abunden Framework© and led the development of the practical management tools in the Abunden Tools App. These online SaaS (Software as a Service) tools build the management structure for companies to grow and succeed.


Karl’s best advice for entrepreneurs

  • The customer is critical. One of my mentors said, many years ago, that nothing happens until you sell something. So, obviously, that starts with the customer.
  • I think the principal is to talk to a number of different potential customers and really understand what their problem is. Can you solve it in a way that they’re willing to pay for? That’s the most fundamental part of starting a business, in my mind.
  • Then you have the option to be Hands-on all the pieces of the company, but that limits your growth, or are you willing to transform and delegate it to other people to grow the company? I think that’s a very fundamental choice, one that I would encourage people to reflect on and decide which way they really want to go.

The biggest, most critical failure with customers

  • My first software startup was during the dot-com boom. Everybody said, “Technology is going to solve all the problems.” I think I got sucked into that and I really didn’t understand my customers.
  • I was ignoring how the products were actually bought and sold. In the end, the company failed because of that. So that’s a lesson. We remember failures better than our wins, I think.

Biggest success with customers

  • We had a service company in the health safety industry. I was part of the C-suite management team. And we really did build a team. There was great communication and connection. People respected each other. They worked hard and were able to really understand what our customer’s problem was.
  • High-value people were getting malaria and getting sick. We were able to come in and cut their malaria rate in half the first year and then half again the second year. So we clearly were solving their problem. We were able to come in and solve a problem, do it effectively.
  • We were able to grow the company. We grew it in four years by a factor of seven.


Dan McGaw Headshot Dan McGaw Best Advice: “Focus on generating revenue. Sometimes it’s much easier to sell and get your customers, not only to raise money.”

Dan McGaw is an award-winning entrepreneur, speaker and the CEO of McGaw-dot-io, an analytics and marketing technology consultancy and SaaS platform,

In addition, Dan also finds time to be a 500 Startups Mentor, and has previously started the first business accelerator in Orlando.

He’s also a thought leader in the MarTech world and CXL instructor on the topic. Having spoken at the leading Marketing conferences and online events, including Traction Conf and Forget The Funnel, his expertise lies in helping businesses extract and interpret the right data to grow their revenue exponentially.


Dan’s best advice for entrepreneurs

  • Focus on generating revenue.
  • To do sales, you have to talk to customers, you have to talk to prospects, you have to get out there and sell your product better to generate revenue. That’s the fastest way to grow.
  • I’m a big believer in bootstrapping.
  • Sometimes it’s much easier to sell and get your customers, and not only to raise money.

The biggest, most critical failure with customers

  • In consulting, I have experienced some fascinating ways that we can fail companies. We just had a client that we worked with and, unfortunately, my team member who was leading the project was not capable of doing the work. So, failure happens.

Biggest success with customers

  • One thing that I would say was a super big success for us—I don’t know if it was luck or if I’m just smart—but for the first year and a half or two years, we didn’t really have a niche. We were just taking clients for digital marketing and marketing and technology. We were flailing about to whoever would give us money.
  • There were agencies that did analytics, there were agencies that did marketing automation, there were agencies that did CRM, all these specialty shops. We said, “Nobody is focusing on building you a tech stack. Nobody is focusing on all the tools and how to integrate them.” So we bit that off and it has been wildly successful for us.


Warren Coughlin Headshot Warren Coughlin best advice to entrepreneurs is to serve: “My definition of sales is professionally helping people solve problems”

Warren Coughlin helps principled entrepreneurs build a Business That Matters. He was the top Coach in Canada with the world’s largest business coaching company before going out to focus on Businesses That Matter. 

His clients have experienced everything from 8 figure exits, to 7 figure salaries, from rapid expansion to minimized operational work because of the development of great leaders and high performance values-driven cultures.


Warren’s best advice for entrepreneurs

  • I always think it’s “to serve.”
  • My definition of sales is professionally helping people solve problems, which makes it a kind of honorable activity.
  • If you have a service focus for your customers, like always wanting to help them, you’re going to have long client and customer relationships.

The biggest, most critical failure with customers

  • I had a client, a really nice guy. I guess where it went wrong was that he and I had very different thinking styles.
  • I didn’t understand that distinction in our thinking styles well enough. I let him guide the direction because he was in a bit of a crisis.
  • We were doing things reactively instead of by a plan. I was encouraging him to move faster and I didn’t realize early enough that he wasn’t grasping what we were talking about. He actually wound up feeling more insecure rather than more confident. As a coach, I want people to feel more confident.
  • He was selling lots, but by lowering the prices, because he just gave the guy commission on sales, not on margins and the guy was dropping prices. The business was growing, but he was actually losing money.

Biggest success with customers

  • A guy came to me and was really unmotivated. He was in tax debt, his team wasn’t performing, and he was generating some profits and had a decent niche but no real growth plan.
  • He was really stuck. Because of where he was emotionally, we started with a vision for him of the impact he wanted to have, not just in business but in life, and showed how, with certain revenue targets, all that was going to be possible.
  • We worked on his culture. His sales team were sort of cowboys, so we put some accountability structures in place, as well as sales training.
  • With those three things together, his revenues and profits started to grow. His business became way easier to run and his team became way more engaged.

Warren’s one key success factor

  • It’s probably a combination. It’s important to develop deep relationships with clients based on caring for them as people.
  • That’s one part of it, but it has to be combined with really solid business, discipline tools, and frameworks.


I hope these stories encourage you to look for your biggest market opportunities, find the right customers you should focus on, and create the most attractive and accurate sales offer.


The best ways to connect with Karl Maier


The best ways to connect with Warren Coughlin


The best ways to connect with Dan McGaw


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