Steli Efti – notes from Indiehackers podcast

Sales Tips Every Founder Should Know – Steli Efti

Startup Sales Handbook
subject : indiehackers book

developers think sales people are sleazy

  • persistent annoying people

sales – result driven communication

it’s cool to say ‘we don’t have a sales team’

  • everyone has them, just called something else
  • customer success engineers etc

sales for 1st 100 customers

  • customer insights
  • help with copywriting (terms to use)
  • gives you context

Sales means a harsher feedback loop – we want to shy away from!

First 10 customers

  • reach out to potential buyers, but ask for advice
  • ‘built something new for people like you’
  • people like giving advice
  • what would it take to become one of my earliest customers
    • give feedback, build out roadmap, be an advisor
  • 50 emails a day

subject – their company name + SanityCheck
raise curisoity

  • making the most of Search Console?
  • more clicks?

One call to action – ‘would you like to jump on a call at X or Y?’

Options – 1,2,or 3

Doing business with big companies:
When someones at the table/meeting – you bring value and expertise, so be confident

Big companies are still a collection of humans – you are still selling to Mary.
Enterprise sales takes longer though, because you have to deal with lots of Marys.

Your customers/leads can teach you everything you need to know.

Be vunerable to get feedback and help:

  • I’m just getting started with this kind of stuff, how could I have improved about this demo?

I’m getting started with this kind of stuff, what could I do to improve the trial process of SanityCheck?

Book Notes : This is Marketing – Seth Godin

Marketing is the generous act of helping someone solve a problem. Their problem.

It is easier to make products and services for the customers you seek to serve than it is to find customers for your products and services.

Penguin Magic – it’s not the Amazon of magic tricks (because being the Amazon of everything is difficult indeed).
– every trick for sale of the site is demonstrated with a video
– continue to invest and build connections with their community.

“People like us do things like this” is how each of us understands culture, and marketers engage with this idea every day.

You cannot possibly change everyone; therefore asking “who’s it for?” can focus your actions.

“People don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill bit. They want to feel safe and respected.”

They want the way it will make them feel.

Humans are lonely, and they want to be seen and known. People want to be part of something. It’s safer that way, and often more fun.

Market-driven – to hear the market, listen to it. Think about the hopes and dreams of customers and their friends.

Marketing-driven – the latest Facebook data hacks.

Being market driven lasts.

Instead of looking for members for your work, look for ways to do work for your members.

A marketer is curious about other people. She wonders about what others are struggling with, what makes them tick. She’s fascinated by their dreams and their beliefs.

People aren’t eager to pay you with their attention. The fact that you bought an ad doesn’t earn you something that priceless. Trade it for something they need or want.

If we merely try to fill a hole in the market, we’re doomed to a cycle of rearview-mirror behaviour. Always wary of our competitors. We have no choice but to be driven by scarcity. focused on maintaining or perhaps slightly increasing our market share.
The alternative is to find and build and earn your story, the arc of the change your seek to produce. This is a generative posture, one based on possibility not scarcity.
Now you’ve chosen your audience, where do you want to take them?

People confuse wants and needs:
need – air, water, health, roof.
want – people are aware of their wants, but terrible at inventing new ways to address those wants.

Begin with dreams and fears, emotional states, and with the change your customers seek.

People want something because of how it will make them feel. That’s what they are buying a feeling.
Just as no one needs a drill bit (they want a hole), no one needs a real estate broker. What they need and want is how it makes them feel to get what a broker can get them.

Find the people worth serving, and then find a change worth making.

Every very good customer gets you another one.

Your best customers become your new sales people.

You need to build something that works better when it gets spread.

“I made something that I like, that I thought you’d like. How’d I do? What advice do you have for how I could make it fit your worldview more closely?”

Marketeers create tension, and forward motion that relieves that tension
– Questions
– Create tension, the relieve it

Busy people (the kind of people you seek to change) don’t care about your work as much as you do. They’re not as up to date as you are, or as aware of the competitive landscape or drama behind the scenes.

We scan instead of study

What a Professional does for you is design something that other people will like. They create a look and feel that reminds people of their sort of magic.

Nigerian spam copy is so bad – it filters out people who won’t fall for their con. Better to filter them out at the start, than invest time and fail at the end. They want people stupid/lazy enough not to spot the typo’s and believe in the scam.

The best marketeers earn enrolment by seeking people who want the change being offered.

Direct Marketing

Facebook ads, Google ads – anything you measure

Brand Marketing

Billboard signs etc

Issue is when people try to do brand marketing on direct channels such as Facebook.
Direct Marketing = Action Marketing.
Always directly market on these, measure, track, add to funnel.


1, Free ideas that spread – education
2, Expensive expressions of those ideas that are worth paying for – tool

Lowering your price doesn’t make you more trusted. It does the opposite.

Trust is as scarce as Attention

The best way to earn trust is through action.

We remember what you did a long time after we forget what you said.

Invest in the Lifetime Value of your customers. Building new things for your customers instead of racing around trying to find new customers for your things.

Why will people tell them about your thing?
– give them a why. A reason for sharing.

Story of self – scratch own itch
Story of us – we all find it useful
Story of now – here’s a free trial

Just like every powerful tool, the impact comes from the craftsman, not the tool.

Realize that as a marketer, the better you are trying to teach or sell to the right person is worth far more than what you are charging.

The Days are Long but the Decades are Short

Sam Altman, an entrepreneur and chairman of Y Combinator, on making the most of your one life:

“Life is not a dress rehearsal—this is probably it. Make it count.

“Time is extremely limited and goes by fast. Do what makes you happy and fulfilled—few people get remembered hundreds of years after they die anyway. Don’t do stuff that doesn’t make you happy (this happens most often when other people want you to do something). Don’t spend time trying to maintain relationships with people you don’t like, and cut negative people out of your life…

“The days are long but the decades are short.”

Source: The Days are Long but the Decades are Short

Pursue the things that we love with joy

I was listening to an old episode of The Tim Ferriss Show.

Various past interview guests of Tim’s talked about ‘when to quit’.

One quote that really caught me was by Chase Jarvis:

“the failure of the opportunities that we have as humans to pursue the things that we love with joy.”

I’m always back and forth between working on something I enjoy, whether it’s worthwhile, giving back etc…

But I remember a few people have quoted that if more people in the world simply worked every day on something they loved – the world would be in a better place.

Fun learning activities at home

My super clever girlfriend who has over 18 years experience of teaching reception class children in the UK has been putting together a series of fun learning activities that help with learning phonics.

The activities have certainly helped keep our children entertained over the cold and wet winter weekends.

Take a wander over to The Happy Learner and check them out.

On being kind to ourselves

Why do we find it so hard to be kind to ourselves? Especially us who are in charge of our own time.

I am out of shape, probably stressed, and over working.

I am in charge of my own time.

I could decide to take 2 hours of in the morning.

Or shift my day so I take each morning off and do a little in the evening.

A morning bike ride along the coast each day would be a great way to start the day.

Stress and weight reducing.

And yet I don’t.

Spend 30 mins lifting weights in the garage before walking to work.

I know it would be good for me. But I cannot do it.

The biggest reason seems to be a feeling of guilt.

I would feel guilty doing something ‘pleasurable’, while my partner is looking after 3 small children.

And guilt while colleagues are working if I am peddling on my bike.

I’ve started making a small change that have made a big difference. Trying to go into work after 5 hours sleep is painful. If we have a bad night with the children I will catch up on a couple of hours sleep before heading into work.

This sometimes means I am not at the office until midday. But I can get a lot more done when fully rested in 4 hours, than an 8 hour day when I’m shattered.

My next move needs to be exercising in the morning when I’ve had a good nights sleep. Rather than the default of trying to head into work as soon as possible.

Life is full of contradictions

My life is full of me contradicting myself. Depending on the day, I might want this – and tomorrow I might want that.

The problem is it’s not about what breakfast cereal to eat – I wish it were that simple.

Should I focus on a lifestyle business – or shoot for the stars and try and build the next Tesla.

Do I want to be a solo-preneur – or build a fun and well executing team.

One day I want to be a multimillionaire and own houses across the world – tomorrow I want to become a minimalist and figure out what’s the smallest we need each month as a family to get by.

To be fair – all I wanted to do today was to curl up in bed and read my book. May be I should have just done that.

I want to start an adventure such as going on a cycling expedition – whereas in reality I hardly have the energy to get out of bed.

The questions are often “what I want” versus “what I potentially could be doing”. What I’m scared of is wasting my life. Sure a life style business is nice, but what about if I get to the end of my life and I feel I haven’t achieved what could have been?

Website for teaching golf professionals – March Update

As I announced on the last episode of the Britstrapped is back on the go, and this time as a SaaS company to teaching golf professionals. Back when we started the podcast in December 2014 this was my original idea – but I approached it with the wrong tech. While WordPress is great – I realize now it is the wrong platform for offering teaching golf professionals a web site, online calendar, booking system and CRM. Back then I was only going to be offering them the web site too – but setting up and managing 10’s of 100’s of WordPress sites didn’t really float my boat! This time I am building my own templated web site offering using ASP.NET MVC which is where my skill set lies.

As well as the tech learning from the original failed idea, I have spent the last 9 months working on Gareth Johnston Golf’s web site and social profiles. So I have learnt a lot more about the golf teaching business and the way software can help people run their teaching businesses better.

So it feels weird coming back to an idea I kicked into touch 9 or so months ago – but I feel in a much better place to attack it now. I’m also going to post monthly updates here so people can keep track of how things are going…

The targets for this month were:
1, Build a basic admin backend for managing sites
2, Build the CMS around a Bootstrap template
3, Get Alex and Lewis’s sites up and running
4, Get a marketing holding page up

The good news is I managed to get all this done! You can check out Alex and Lewis’s sites here:
Alex Lodge Golf
Lewis Bird Golf

The marketing holding page really is basic ( – but it ticks the box, and gives me something to work on in April.

So April’s goals are:
– get blog functionality on the golfers sites, and on the marketing site
– put together a whitepaper on golf pro’s using a particular social network to generate leads
– get 5 paying customers

5 paying customers is going to be tough 🙂

iPhone 6s plus

Last week I got a new iPhone 6s plus. I didn’t go into the shop with a decision on whether to get the standard 6s or the plus, and went on a whim. Apparently I can return it within 14 days so we’ll see.

It is big – and I kind of wanted it as a mini tablet. The amount of phone calls I make are minimal, so if I can find something that helps me do text, whatsapp, email, reading and other web/work stuff then great if it can make a phone call too.

A couple of things I have noticed:

1, It is too big to text one handed. Not that I want to drive when I text. I absolutely hate anyone who uses their phone while they drive.

2, It is often too big for my pocket. This means I do not carry it around the house with me as much. If it is not with me, I don’t find myself wastefully checking Facebook just for the sake of it.

3, It is too big to take running. You would look like a plonker running down the road with this attached to your arm!