Pain points and expanding a company

Startup circular structure diagram. Young businessman holding a marker and drawing a key elements for starting a new business. Isolated on white background.

As our company continues to expand and grow I understand because I’ve been a founder or one of the first employees before.  The goal, at a startup, is to learn from your mistakes and as you build out the business make it better, smarter, and faster than ever.  As you evolve, learn from the different personalities, processes, and adapt a framework that has worked before – understanding that the marketplace has changed and, especially in Information Technology, that things shift very rapidly.

Tony Robbins talks about these challenges in his article regarding the pain points of growing a business:

Systems and Process Problems:

Certainly, back-office and HR systems should change, as Tony mentions, those systems and processes that worked for a handful of employees probably aren’t going to work the same way for thirty plus.  Be sure to hire productive, innovative, and self-starting employees that can not only adapt to change, but can help bring it as well.


It’s important to keep your ear to the street and close to industry to understand changes and trends.  I’ve been stuck in the “one trick pony” scenario before where alliances and offerings were starting to work great and soar, only to lose a year or two later because I hadn’t adapted enough to differentiate for customers farther down the road.

Culture = your people and vice versa

As the company grows you might start “noticing a change in the disposition and attitude of your original employees.”  I completely relate to this.  I personally was an original at a company that was infiltrated by strangers.  It’s important if you are sales manager or salesperson #1 to negotiate, negotiate, negotiate your package and your pay structure.  It just makes sense.  If you are not a founder or principal of the company, that company is going to use you for all your talents to build a great organization and make it stronger, but once there, management has very short memories.  Praise and gratitude from company leadership is helpful and there is a time and a place for celebration and comradery, but business is business and money is money.  Get your agreements signed and approved by legal to capture as much company stock, ownership, bonuses, and potential future payouts so you can enjoy the beginning as well as a successful exit.

Tony Bilby

Best Habits for Sales Success

beautiful woman writing a business concept

Business Concept

I read a lot about sales techniques and how to harness the most productive strategies.  As a sales consultant I want to be the best and at the top of my game.  Brian Tracy, and his article “The 7 Sales Training Tips of Sale Success”

provides the most fundamental guidance I can think of:

  1. Get serious – That means studying, certifying, and most importantly, getting out in front of key decision makers with real value propositions and great technology services and offerings.
  1. Figure out what is holding you back – identify that weakest skill and then set your mind to making it better.  For me, as with many salespeople, sometimes I lack the best organizational skills to consistently manage my time the most effective way possible.  As a salesperson you should be focusing on the most important tasks, which usually revolve around customer meetings, follow through, and post sales customer service.  If you’re spending your days updating reports and spreadsheets and emailing other people internal to your company, you might want to focus more on prospecting and touching base with customers that have budgets.
  1. Get around the right people – This is 100% true!  If you are spending time around people that complain, make excuses, and generally want to do things other than be productive you are not flying with the Eagles.
building a great team

Build a Great Team!

  1. Take care of your health – this is a critical one for me that I really need to work on as well.  There should never not be not enough time in the day to focus on the most critical aspect of your life – your body and your health.  Stress, overwork, lack of exercise, poor diet, and bad habits like nicotine and alcohol can turn your life upside down if your body decides enough is enough.  Figure out a time to exercise, eat right, and do things in moderation.  As Mr. Tracy mentions, you will be dealing with constant rejection and discouragement throughout the work week, so find a way to deal with it positively and productively.
  1. Imagine yourself at the top – try to visualize success.  I have the hardest time with this as the mind most naturally will gravitate towards the negative and it becomes an easy habit to harbor negativity when customers consistently say no rather than yes.  Turn it around.  Visualize the win and visualize a year and years of abundance and success!
  1. Practice positive self talk – absolutely.  Do it.  Never get down on yourself as you are the designer and creator of your destiny.  If you can’t be positive about yourself then others won’t gravitate positively toward you either.
  1. Take positive action towards your goals – be action oriented and move quickly.  Get out there in front of customers all the time. The more customers you meet, as Tracy mentions, the more chance to sell.  Make seeing customers, moving quickly, and talking to decision makers a top priority.

Tony Bilby


The Importance of Networking

team networking

Team Networking

I can appreciate Jonathan Farrington’s thoughts in his article “Why I take an Interest in Anybody and Everybody – Do You?”

because I don’t and I should. I can appreciate the notion of giving and sharing versus bargaining and keeping score because as a salesperson I think we often fall into this, especially the younger version of me whom was seduced with the ideas of getting to the top any which way possible.

I have to remember this behavior really is contrary to human nature and that human happiness stems from helping, interacting, bringing value, as well as providing help and support.

As discussed in his blog, successful networking is about those most important tenants:

Receiving – Giving

It’s great to receive, close deals and make money, but it’s always great to donate, give, and provide for those that are less fortunate or in need. I do believe in Karma, or rather, a harmonious flow that exists between giving and receiving. It’s important we give thanks every day for what we receive and have and then give back when we can.

Contributing – Accepting Support

This is all about keeping an open mind. If you are self aware then you can certainly accept support as well as criticism. Now not all criticism is good, however, some is very critical and if you can move past the personality ego, and in many cases with salespeople a very strong personal ego, you may learn, evolve, and adapt along the way.

Offering – Requesting

This is very important. Remember to offer guidance, help, support, opinions and request feedback as well.

Self Promotion – Promotion of Others

I definitely feel like you should always be promoting your best and most valuable asset – yourself. And while you’re at it, certainly promote those within your network and group that are valuable and help you succeed!

Being Truthful – Being Persistent

When a customer or anyone wants to know more or they ask a question, especially a sales consultant in IT that might not know the answer to every question, always be truthful. If you don’t know the answer and you need to consult an engineer than do so and tell the customer you don’t have the answer, but you will do research and get the answer for them. The customer will appreciate the truth more than a sales angle.

Persistence is the key to most things in sales. That means follow up with the customer, follow up with the project, and everything else associated with keeping them happy and the business successful. If a door closes or continues to close – never give up – another one will open that will be even bigger and better than before.

Tony Bilby


Propulsion, Sales, Tony Bilby

Space Shuttle

Propulsion. Seth Godin recently published the blog post, “Hot: A Theory of Propulsion.” A bit abstract, it seems to largely concern the fact that, in this day and age, stationary things fall by the wayside. We need action to acknowledge something as significant. We spend our lives guided by interactive screens that present breaking news, interactive games, and moving GIF’s. While I do not necessarily desire to speak to the current state of contemporary society, I do think the application of “propulsion” to sales is to say the least, significant.

As a salesperson, you need to take initiative. Very rarely, if ever, will you make an effortless sale. You need to propel yourself, to show action in closing a deal. By establishing authority in conversation by way of talking, you are affecting change. One way to do this is skillfully mentioned in Diane Lamont’s blog, “The ‘How’ of Asking Sales Questions”.

While yes, as the sales associate, you must be the one to provoke and prolong conversation, there is a delicate line to toe. You want to involve your prospective customer in a dialogue that does not feel forced but rather fluid. There should be a light atmosphere and casual air surrounding the conversation as statements and replies seamlessly complement each other, building to the foregone conclusion of a closed sale.

One way to facilitate this is through asking questions. Questions illustrate curiosity and care so long as they are asked with deft ability. Inquire about customers’ interests if you know them, and allow them to speak on their passion. Ideally, this will warm the waters and reduce any awkward tension arising from potential social insecurity. Conversation is similar to exercising, and a warm-up lets you ease your muscles into the work-out before lifting heavier weight. The same goes for talking. Warm up a bit and present a friendly image rather than that of the pushy salesman.

Of course, implementing personal questions is easier said than done, like everything else. One must properly balance questions throughout the dialogue and illustrate a sort of active listening. Display that you are listening to what is being said while it is being said rather than just mentally queuing up your next question. One way to do this is by repeating the information back at your customer, like “If I’m hearing you correctly…” or “it is my understanding then, that…”. By displaying comprehension, you are displaying that you care about the customer, because you clearly care enough to listen to what the customer is saying.

Propel yourself forward. Take action. Be active even in seemingly passive activities like listening.  Propel your presence and make the sale!

Why Mentors Matter

tony bilby, Tutor, Mentor, Business Coach


As time progresses the concept of a mentor becomes more and more of a dated concept, whether due to increased social insecurity or due to an ignorance of the benefits a more experienced individual can offer, I do not know. What I do know is that having a mentor has been a tremendously influential aspect of my life. Thus, I have decided to write down some of my thoughts explaining just how and why a mentor’s insight is truly invaluable.


A mentor has had experience you have yet to have, or may never have. If you can tap into the lessons they have already learned and apply them to your own professional career, you will attain an unquantifiable advantage over your professional peers. With a mentor, you don’t have to learn things the hard way. The hard way becomes a thing of the past as a business coach can guide you to and through astounding opportunities that will breed the career you desire.


A mentor has spent years and years building a social network you have yet to develop. From being exposed to opportunities that would otherwise fly over your head to receiving glowing letters of recommendation, these experienced and insightful individuals have your back. Mentors want to see their students succeed, and it is for this reason that a mentor is a nearly necessary cog in the wheel of professional networks. Tap into their connections to meet the man or woman who will offer you the career you have always dreamed of. To be scared to reach out to a mentor is essentially ignoring a vast network of professional superiors who are looking to give you a job that is better than the one you already have. Use the trust your mentor has already built to build your own network, to build your own career, to build yourself for the better.

Staying on track

For those moments when we as individuals question where we are in life, a mentor is actually there to answer. There is no need to become bogged down in social and professional anxiety when you have someone to ask for guidance. A mentor is there for you to answer the tough questions and to help you in your professional (or social in some cases) quest for success. Although tough to exonerate numbers behind this particular point, the fact remains that a mentor will offer you truly immeasurable solace.

Anyway, this is just what I have noticed in my own professional career. While I would never say having a mentor will make or break your career, I can certainly say it will help to a phenomenal degree. The choice is yours, but one moment of awkwardness asking for someone to be a mentor can equate to a lifetime of insight. As Newton said, “If I have seen further than other men, it is because I have stood on the shoulders of giants.”

For further reading on the value of a mentor, you should check out this New York op-ed.

The Resolve of Resilience

Perhaps nothing is as effective in your professional career as the ability to bounce back and overcome adversity. It is a tremendous skill that goes hand in hand with developing absolutely vital tools in the toolkit for success, those tools being dedication and confidence. What’s more is that while resiliency is certainly rooted in basic genetics to a certain extent, it is also strongly associated with taught habits.

Take this Time article for example. It specifically states that very often resiliency is found most commonly in individuals who retain a positive belief for what lies ahead. Our ability to overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles comes at the hands of believing that what lies beyond the mountain is worth climbing the mountain for. While the article cites religion as a specific instance where resiliency is commonly found, it also specifically mentions the basic belief that just having a future can be an enormous catalyst for projecting someone past the obstacles that currently hold them back. It makes sense. Why would we put ourselves through hardship if the hardship isn’t worth working through? However, while the article mainly focuses on children coming up in difficult circumstances, I feel the same basic concept can be applied to your professional career as well.

To attain and retain resiliency is to teach yourself dedication. To implement a basic belief that helps you overcome whatever is dragging you down at the current moment is tremendous motivation and a phenomenal tool for achieving eventual success. Without dedication, we could never move past difficult situations, difficult times, or even difficult conversations. Dedication is instrumental in pushing us to the be the best we can be in life, to be the best version of ourselves, be it professional or not. To be the best, you have to be dedicated to being the best.

It is from here that we can see resiliency translating directly into confidence. I don’t think I have to mention the necessity of keeping confident in sales, but regardless anyone who has ever cold called knows no one is buying from someone they don’t trust. Without confidence, there is no trust. Without trust, there is no sale. By applying dedication through resiliency, and then by extension overcoming whatever difficulty we encounter, we develop an enormous sense of confidence. We believe we can push through the hard times, which then in turn further motivates our internal dedication when we reach hardships that lie further down the road. Through attaining, developing, and retaining resiliency, we are creating an absolutely vital asset for success.

It is important to remember what lies ahead. If we only live in the moment, then when the moment becomes overbearing, we will succumb because we have no reason to push past it. Remain resilient. Remain dedicated. Remain confident.

tony bilby, Obstacle, Resilience, Keep Going, Motivation, Inspiration




Customer Crisis Communication

Crisis is a broad term that means many things to many different people. Whether building a business or managing a mega-corporation, a crisis in the world of business can mean the difference between success and failure. Part of managing a crisis when it occurs (yes, that’s “when” not “if”) is being prepared. By showing customers that you are ready for the worst, and their best interest is still at the center of your thoughts then you have a customer for life. Below are some simple tips for being sure that your next crisis remains under control.

Plan: Whether it means building an FAQ so customers can look to a pre-established list of answers, or briefing your employees on what they should say in light of your issue, putting a plan in place can never hurt when facing a crisis. Like practicing your Fire Drills in school, having a set path to take when there’s trouble lessens the possibility of panic when you need cooler heads to prevail.

Tony Bilby winning


Observe: This step does not mean for you to set-up intricate security systems and listening stations, but rather to observe your customers and their behaviors. Though this does little to help you respond in the event of a business issue, it does make for excellent PR with your customers. By illustrating that you care, a business can get ahead of the curve when planning for customer issues, and react for it snowballs into a full-blown crisis.

Act: Few trust a brand that hides behind their corporate logo. In a time of unprecedented connection, we are closer to our favorite companies than ever, and people have shown that they need to see a human element present in their companies. After observing what your customers need, respond. Showing transparency in your actions will only serve to bring your customers closer to you.