Entrepreneurs

The surprising secret to selling

No matter how much you want to close a deal, it sometimes pays to be extra patient. The key to selling, says Gary Vaynerchuk, CEO of VaynerMedia, is to be a giver — not a taker.

I had the opportunity to spend 48 hours with the serial entrepreneur to learn how he builds success and fortune for his top-tier clients by leveraging the digital landscape and social media.

As co-founder of VaynerMedia, a fast-growing digital marketing agency in New York, he leads 600 employees who work closely with giant brands like General Electric, Budweiser and 20th Century Fox.


Gary Vaynerchuk
Joseph Branston | .net magazine | Getty Images
Gary Vaynerchuk

Vaynerchuk was in his 20s when he realized his potential to leverage the internet to make money, as he helped catapult his family's wine shop into a $60 million per year business mainly through online marketing. He also has an eye for the next great social media platforms, as an early investor in companies like Twitter and Facebook. Today, in addition to running VaynerMedia, the 40-year-old serial entrepreneur is a best-selling author, speaker and internet celebrity with a popular YouTube channel.

His slow-it-down sales advice may seem counterintuitive, especially with so much competition in today's marketplace. As we learned from Lyor Cohen, founder of 300 Entertainment, the ability to close a deal faster than your competition is sometimes a major key to success.

But in some cases, it pays to not rush the deal, says Vaynerchuk. Instead, spend time engaging with your audience. Listen to their pain points. Offer free help and advice for as long as you are able. Once you've proven to be someone who cares and listens, you gain the trust and appreciation of the market. And customers will be more likely to make a purchase from you over someone else who's aggressively all about the sale. And they're more likely to come back for more.


For example, if you're a flower shop owner interested in increasing sales, you could use Twitter to engage with potential customers. But rather than send out a tweet to everyone who follows you about how great your flowers are (and a link to your store), use Twitter's search engine to find individuals who are having discussions about, say, buying roses.

You may be tempted to reply to these folks with a direct link to your flower shop's website. Don't.

Instead, strike up conversations with these individuals where you can add value, Vaynerchuk suggests. Offer ideas for how to select a great bouquet and suggest different rose options (e.g., white roses are way cooler than red this season). After a few exchanges, you can go in for the sale, if it feels right. Better, if you can offer a discount code or free shipping for purchasing flowers through your shop.

Bottom line: Targeting one person at a time and being patient with your pitch can pay off in spades. And in the process you can earn a forever fan.

Farnoosh Torabi is the host of CNBC's "Follow the Leader," which airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT. You can follow her on Twitter @Farnoosh.

(CORRECTION: Gary Vaynerchuk is the co-founder and CEO of VaynerMedia, which has more than 600 employees. A prior version of this story incorrectly stated his title and the size of VaynerMedia's work force.)