7 Minute Sales Masterclass Podcast | Season 1, #1 - SL - Andrew Gilboy, GM - GoCardless - Sales Confidence


So it was 1984 and I've got a summer job in San Francisco believe it or not and I was fundraising door-to-door for an environmental organization and they're still going communities for a better environment so this is my first taste of real sales.

I'm going door-to-door I'm not selling anything it's intangible I'm selling a feeling of doing good and I'm the only paid Commission I was paid 35% commission at the door okay so but I was a highly motivated and very poor Englishman in San Francisco and surrounded the rest of them were hippies and they didn't really mind so I was a top fundraiser every night for the first two weeks and then my boss she decided okay this guy's pretty good. I'm gonna go drop him in Mill Valley. Chris will know where that is that's that's where all the rich people live in San Francisco they drop you off at four o'clock and then I'm so I'm on the richest street in one of the richest cities in the whole world and there's no I'm buzzing on intercoms on the bottom of gates right but I need this money and I'm getting 35% commission.

Four hours later I've got nowhere I haven't even got in haven't got a conversation I've got buzz on this one and the gates open so I walk up and I'm thinking I've got I've got a nele steel now I woke up I'm not gonna eat do all the double doors open this old lady's there and she rushes me and this house is vast the hallways like a tennis court with this fountain in the middle and I'm thinking I need to get some rapport pretty quickly with this lady and I looked around I saw this poster on the wall a huge post is about three meters by 2 meters and it was a hot air balloon with the drawing on it of a nap lights out to the Apple so I thought I'll get some report here “that's an interesting poster can you tell me about that” she goes oh that's my son Steve's company now the story's not that was Steve Wozniak's mom I call on Steve Wozniak.  smell no Steve Jobs it would have been a better story but still lovely lovely lady she gave me 500 bucks and two Apple Macintoshes so selling tastes not dissimilar to selling in clouds which is an intangible product. 

You're selling a feeling or a belief was a great point Simon made about selling making a look at making them feel good anyway so 33 years later so I've had a career where I've been through three IPOs and seven acquisitions and I've made hundreds of mistakes and I use those mistakes and I was like stepping stones through a flood to get me halfway to the other side so I use that to my advantage in that time I have been selling internationally nearly all my career I've lived in the States, Germany, Australia I've got three things I'm going to leave you with and this first one you'll remember and you'll use this but please attributed the guy from GoCardless told you this one so when you're setting up businesses in Europe. 

You need to think about dividing Europe up into regions and the best way to do is with drinks so you have beer countries you have wine countries you have vodka countries and you have tea countries because I see me oh okay and the rule is you don't mix your drinks so don't put an Italian as a manager or a finished person on a Swiss person because they'll be blood of the end of it and then also the arguments the meeting , etiquette everything changes depending on the drink and the other thing is you should take your drinks in order to start with beer then move to wine don't do the other way around typically that doesn't work out well the evening so it's the first one and you'll use that one so please attributed right for the this doesn't work in the US.

Because geography is something you need for this if you draw a line from Iceland down to Turkey okay that's the adoption curve line of Europe okay so when you're selling internationally people are different phases of maturity and the messaging the way you set yourselves up the way you set your marketing you go to market the issues you come across changes and the biggest mistake I've seen that working for American software companies for thirty years is they take something out of New York which works put it into London also works those are two very similar cities early adopters and then they put into Paris and Berlin Copenhagen Barcelona it doesn't work - it's because the messaging isn't right for that market and that's one of the biggest things I learned you've got to change your message;  you've got to measure them differently as well so that's the second one adoption and the third one is if you're going to work

Internationally.  I've been the first sales guy in Europe twice in my career which is a lonely journey but learn to speak English properly and have respect for people who fought for them is their second language I sat in an audience watching an English guy speak to a big international audience and he used this phrase right he said I'm afraid we're on a sticky wicket even the Dutch guys who speak better English than those are thinking what is he talking about an


Americans tend to use military metaphors in the wrong places and we all know that one they use sporting metaphors which don't work internationally so learn to speak English take away the colloquialisms; the idioms and then the other thing the Stephen Covey things “seek first to understand” when you're talking with someone who second language is English it's easy to fill in the gaps. and and broadcast to them; you've got to really be careful to seek first to understand because they're pausing you're trying to think of the right words and that's something I've learned. I really think about that when I'm talking to someone give them more time and be very respectful of that so there are kind of three things I picked up.


You will remember the one about the drinks I can tell you. 

What's really fascinating about GoCardless is that I'm kind of semi-retired but what's fascinating is GoCardless has got an extraordinary business in the UK; we do three and half billion worth of direct debit transfers so the world is moving towards a subscription economy so you buy your apps and you pay every month for Spotify, Netflix you may get your raises of your copy or some government the subscription economy is really happening but to use credit cards to taking payments is well it's the worst thing because it's expensive and it's unreliable the best thing is direct debit. 

Direct debit is complicated because every country's got their own different way of doing it so GoCardless and we've abstracted all of that into the cloud and we're able to connect with in 27 countries and we're adding more direct debits so that's really exciting we're solving a very complex international problem and now we've got to then go into these markets and hopefully those hundreds of mistakes are made I can step through those stepping stones and get to the endpoint.

Going international is the most exciting thing I be more just working in the UK you meet it's an adventure so I say join you if you're starting your sales career put your hand up and say I want to take on the Dutch market I'll sell that as well start with that and then the Nordics it's it's the best thing you're doing value comes with scarcity you can do it in the UK and you can do to those spaces you're way more valuable to someone like me. I'll be following you at that point thank you very much.