Monday, November 18, 2013

Say Just Enough, But Not Too Much

Entrepreneurs are passionate, but this passion can be their undoing.

One common mistake entrepreneurs make is to say too much.

It's easy to understand why.  First, entrepreneurs know a lot about their space and their product.  Second, they love the subject so much, they'd happily expound for hours.  Finally, they can't help wanting to show the work they've put in.

The problem is, this leads them to commit the cardinal sin of sales: Saying too much.

It's a delicate art--you have to say just enough to convince a buyer/investor/job candidate, but no more.  Say too little, and they won't be persuaded.  Say too much, and you can talk yourself out of a deal.

Once you've convinced someone, it's time to shut up and ask for the order.

This principle applies to everything, from emails to phone calls to full-on presentations.  It doesn't matter how much material you've prepared--once you've achieved your goal, shut up and ask for the order.

For an email, that means that you should never write more than 100 words, and the last sentence should spell out exactly what you want the other party to do.

For a call, it means getting to the point fast, and then letting the other party ask questions.

For a pitch, it means reading the room and picking the right time to jump straight to the investment thesis slide.

Say just enough, but not too much.

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