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How Jesse Itzler Sold His First Private Jet Card

Getting the first sale for Marquis Jets

Good Morning and Happy World Usability Day! Shoutout to all the sales engineers showing prospects how to use the products we’re selling. Without you, we’d all be lost. 🫡

In today’s Follow Up:

  • Jesse Itzler’s famous sale 🛩️ 

  • A cold email tip ✍️ 

  • Hire part time sales reps 👀 

  • Sales news across the internet 🖥️ 

  • LinkedIn sightings & a meme 😂 

How Jesse Itzler Sold His First Private Jet

If you’ve never heard of Jesse Itzler, allow us to introduce you…

He’s an entrepreneur, rapper, endurance athlete, and scrappy salesman.

A few of his accomplishments include…

  • Co-founding Alphabet City Sports Records, a record company that made jingles and songs for NBA teams. (Acquired for $4M)

  • Co-founding Marquis Jets, a private jet membership card company. (Acquired by NetJets & Berkshire Hathaway)

  • Co-founding ZICO Coconut Water. (Acquired by Coca-Cola)

  • Marrying Sara Blakely. (Billionaire founder of Spanx)

The guy is a hit factory.

But with every new venture comes the same problem: getting the first sale.

The first customer is usually the hardest because you have 1) no sales process 2) no customers to reference and 3) sometimes no functioning product.

And Jesse’s story is no different.

Jesse co-founded Marquis Jets, which offered private jet cards to wealthy clients. The card came pre-loaded with 25+ hours of private jet flight time and was charged like a preloaded debit card.

The perfect service for rich people who want to fly private without owning their own jet.

But as a late 20-something-year-old, Jesse didn’t have a network of rich people to go sell to.

Which brings the question….

How do you find your first customer for a private jet card?

The Answer: You go to where rich people hang out.

Jesse found out about a TED Talk in Monterey, CA, and heard there’d be a lot of wealthy people in attendance. Without thinking twice, Jesse booked a one-way ticket to Monterey.

After 11 hours of travel, he arrived in Monterrey, but there was one big problem

Jesse didn’t have a ticket to get into the conference, and in his own words, it was locked down “like Fort Knox”.

It was time to get scrappy

Jesse noticed the Ted Talk attendees went to a specific coffee shop on the conference breaks, and all ordered a muffin with their coffee. 🧁 

So the next morning, Jesse woke up at 5:00 AM and bought every muffin the coffee shop had. He officially controlled the muffin supply in Monterey, CA, and just had to wait for demand to pick up.

A few hours later, Jesse heard the first person ask for a muffin, and the cashier responded with “Sorry we’re out”.

*The moment he was waiting for*

Jesse walked up to the guy and said “I just overheard you, and I actually have an extra muffin if you want one”. He happily accepted the muffin and asked Jesse what he did for a living.

Jess responded “I actually own a private jet card company called Marquis”, to which the guy responded “No way! I’m actually in the market for a jet card right now”.

As it turned out, that random guy at the Monterrey coffee shop was Josh Kopelman, CEO of Half.com.

A few weeks later, Josh became Jesse’s first customer at Marquis Jets, and the rest is history…

It’s a legendary story with a ton of different lessons.

So let’s take a look at a few. 👇️ 

Create Your Own Opportunities 📞 

Every sale starts with an opportunity.

A lead or contact that has the potential to turn into a customer.

But in order to create the opportunity, you need to put yourself in a position to find it.

When Jesse needed to make his first sale, he didn’t have any network of qualified buyers or hot inbound leads. He got creative and put himself in a situation where he was most likely to create opportunities.

And that opportunity (meeting Josh Kopelman), just so happened to turn into his first customer.

Bad salespeople wait for opportunities to come to them.

Great salespeople create their own.

Will vs. Can 💪 

Jesse uses this mantra in everything he does.

Can = I could if I want to.
Will = I am going to.

They seem similar when you’re talking, but mean two different things in practice. Ex. I can hit quota this month vs I will hit quota this month.

If you actually want to make something happen, you will find a way.

Just like Jesse found a way to get in the room with qualified prospects, and sell his first jet card.

Go Above and Beyond for Your Customers 🤝 

After Jesse sold Josh Kopelman the jet card, he went above and beyond.

He’d book dinner reservations where Josh was flying, send him a list of doctors, and do anything he could to make Josh’s experience 5 stars.

After a few months of this over-the-top customer service, Josh repaid Jesse in the best way possible…

He gave Jesse a referral.

And that referral led to another and another, and so on….

As salespeople, referrals are our golden tickets. They’re a warm intro to a hot lead that already trusts you.

But for most salespeople, it’s easy to make the sale, move on to the next, and forget about the customers we’ve already sold.

If you want to be a 1% sales rep, you need to do what 99% aren’t willing to do.

Have you ever made the first sale for a business?

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Discover the Best Colleagues You've Never Met

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Sales Tip of The Day 💡 

Are your cold emails getting a low response rate? Try the 50 word rule. 

Before hitting send, copy your email into hemwingway.com and remove filler words/sentences until your total email is 50 words or under.

The easier you make it for your prospect to understand what you can do for them, the more likely they are to respond.

Sales in the News 🗞️ 

Cool Jobs at Cool Companies 🤑 

Checking in on LinkedIn 👀 

So much potential 😂 

Sales Meme of the Day

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