Courtesy of Ilya Tokhner
Y Combinator startup AnyPerk has made some serious headway in the employee perks space since launching last March.
It has attracted the business of hot startups like Pinterest, Klout, Seamless, BirchBox, Quora, and even Pandora.
AnyPerk helps small companies offer their employees top-notch perks like discounts on monthly wireless plans from Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile, and free movies from Redbox.
AnyPerk's agreements with three of the four largest wireless carriers will bring in $7.2 million this year in revenue, AnyPerk Director of Business Development Ilya Tokhner tells Business Insider. Over the next three years, the startup expects that number to increase to $50 million.
But how did this tiny startup close those deals with industry giants?
"The main thing that I always tell people is that you have to remember you’re dealing with people," Tokhner says. "And a lot of time people forget that, and they’re so enamored with what their initiatives are, what they need to do, they call in, jump into the pitch, don’t build the relationship, and as a result, it’s just outside noise."
Here's Tokhner's five-step process for closing deals:
- Do your homework: Find out where your potential partner is having a major problem and solve it for them.
- Find your champion: Without heavy support from someone on the inside, all you are is outside noise. "Most people think that you have to go to the CEO, or the senior vice president, or someone very high up in the food chain, to get anything across," Tokhner says. "That is only the case a small fraction of the time."
- Build trust: Remember that on the end of the other line is another person. Don't just cut right to business, show them that you are invested in them and they will invest in you. The actual deal is only a small piece of the equation and should only be an extension of your relationship.
- Align incentives: Make sure that you genuinely care about solving your potential partner's problem; always make it about them. If you are too caught up in your own agenda and your "sell," it shows, and makes your deal a non-starter.
- Deliver: Just because the deal is closed, doesn't mean it's over. Once everything is in place, it is imperative that you deliver on your promises and execute your part of the deal. A major partnership is a living breathing thing, so you have to maintain the relationship on both the personal and business side. Success breeds more success.
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