Start Selling First: An Interview With Neil Patel, Co-Founder Of Crazy Egg And KISSMetrics
- By Rahul Varshneya
- December 27th, 2012
Neil Patel is the co-founder of 2 Internet companies: Crazy Egg and KISSmetrics. Through his entrepreneurial career he has helped large corporations such as Amazon, AOL, GM, HP and Viacom make more money from the web. By the age of 21 not only was he named one of the top influencers on the web according to the Wall Street Journal, but he was also named one of the top entrepreneurs in the nation by Entrepreneur Magazine. He has also been recognized as a top 100 entrepreneur under the age of 30 by President Obama. Neil has also received Congressional Recognition from the U.S. House of Representatives for his work in the nonprofit sector.
How has Neil Patel impacted my life? He changed it! Turned it upside down. And that’s the way I like it now!
This blog IS thanks to Neil Patel. He has inspired me in many ways than one, on getting down to writing everyday, on the style of writing, on marketing the content that I write, and it goes on. Our relationship began when I first read this post of his. The advice was frank, practical and just what I needed. It had me hooked completely. And then one after the other, I can say I read through almost all of the posts that he has written!
His bio says it all. I don’t really have to add anything more. And so here’s my interview with him to give you insights into how you can successfully market your business to generate leads and revenues.
Rahul Varshneya: You are young, hugely successful, run two million-dollar businesses and have a story behind you that every aspiring entrepreneur dreams to live. What separates you from those who started up and are still struggling after years?
Neil Patel: I work really hard. And when I mean that I work really hard… I never take vacations, I work 7 days a week, and I work at least 60 to 70 hours each and every week. I’ve been doing that for 10 years straight.
Neil Patel: Both of those companies solve a problem. I don’t create companies to only make money… first and foremost I focus on solving real pains people are having.
For example, Crazy Egg helps you see how people interact with your website design and layout, so you can tweak it to make it more usable.
KISSmetrics helps you identify what’s making you money and what isn’t, so that way you can focus your energy on the things that are causing your revenue to go up.
Rahul Varshneya: What have been the most significant learnings from your journey so far as an entrepreneur and would you have done something differently, looking back?
Neil Patel: There hasn’t been one big learning… there have been a ton. I would say that every entrepreneur is going to make mistakes, so as long as you learn from them and avoid the same mistakes in the future, you will increase your odds of success.
Rahul Varshneya: There are a lot of great startups who just don’t make the cut because of marketing, or the lack of it. Is there a formula that works every time which most entrepreneurs can leverage on?
Neil Patel: There isn’t. You just have to keep on trying multiple marketing tactics and cut the ones that don’t work.
Rahul Varshneya: You run a widely read blog Quicksprout.com. You’ve provided tons of resources on it for entrepreneurs who want to market their startup. What would be your recommended must-dos to market a startup (preferably that does not cost too much money)?
Neil Patel: You have to get a ton of press. Assuming you have a good product or service, the best way to get it out there is to get press. Press is the best way to kick start your startup… and the best way to get it is to manually reach out to journalists. Keep pounding them until they start paying attention to you.
Rahul Varshneya: I’ve read that you close most of your telephone conversations with a minimum of a $100,000 in business deal. How can an entrepreneur convince someone to pay and sign up for my product or service? What’s the secret to your sales closures?
Neil Patel: There is no secret really. I just provide results. If I can’t provide results, I won’t take on the business. If I can, I will go for a big amount as it benefits the customer as well.
Rahul Varshneya: What is your sales strategy advice for startups?
Neil Patel: You as a founder need to start selling first. There are a ton of problems and objections you will run into and until you can figure it out yourself, there is no point in hiring a salesperson. You know your product and service the best so you should start selling.
Once you have a process down, you can then hire your first sales person.
Rahul Varshneya: What do you think should a startup entrepreneur focus on – marketing their company or building their own brand to market their company?
Neil Patel: In an ideal world, you should focus on both. As they will both help your business grow.
If I had to pick one, it would be marketing your company. You don’t have to have a big personal brand to create a successful company. As long as your company is doing well, it doesn’t matter what people know or think about you personally.
Rahul Varshneya: How do you think will the Internet shape our lives in the years to come that aspiring entrepreneurs could leverage?
Neil Patel: I think we will be more reliant on technology and more devices will be Internet capable. Next thing you know kitchen appliances will be connected to the web so you can get recipes or even control the devices from your computer.