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Kevin Price, Host of the Price of Business on Business Talk 1110 AM KTEK (on Bloomberg’s home in Houston) recently interviewed…
Matt Ehrlichman is the co-founder of Porch www.porch.com and serves as Chief Executive Officer. Prior, Matt was Chief Strategy Officer at Active Network responsible for 85% of the P&L. Matt joined Active at the start of 2007 and helped to grow the company’s revenues from $65 million in 2006 to $420 million and a 2011 initial public offering. Before joining Active, Matt was co-founder and Chief Executive Officer at Thriva, which was acquired by the Active Network in March 2007 for $60 million. Matt built Thriva out of his dorm room at Stanford University where he studied and received both his Bachelor of Science degree in entrepreneurial engineering and Master of Science degree in management science and engineering. Matt started his first company at age 14.

Tell me about your firm (number of employees, location, type of companies you work with, etc.).

Our mission at Porch www.porch.com is to change the world one home at a time by making home improvement easy. Annually, people spend over $500 billion on home improvement, repair and maintenance. Until now, there has been no free, simple, and personalized solution that provides the trusted information and tools necessary to make home improvement easy. In effort to solve this problem, Porch raised a $6.25 million seed round from angels including SV Angel/Ron Conway, Chamath Palihapitiya, Jeff Skoll, and 24 others. With 20 employees, Porch is headquartered in Seattle, Washington. The Porch marketplace allows homeowners to get inspired by viewing neighbors’ home projects, get educated by seeing their actual project costs, and decide on the right professional by reviewing friend endorsements. This helps homeowners make an easy and informed decision when it comes to improving their home and selecting the right professionals.

Tell us your story about reaching C-Level executives to do business?

When approaching to sell to someone in the C-Suite, there are two good options available to you:

The Referral approach – reach out to the executive to get their recommended point of contact.

The Elevator Pitch – you have 1 sentence to touch on an important fact that affects their world, if you succeed they will grant you more time.

C-Suite people speak “Excel” and sales people speak “PowerPoint”. It’s critical for sales people to be quick and concise in message, so the executive responds when you touch on areas of importance. The rule: calls you have 8 seconds and emails you have 5 seconds.

You can’t be personal in this amount of time, thus, source out the personal touch through press, blogs, etc. Tie in the executive’s own words into the few seconds you have and provide a proof point or something the prospect can relate to instantly.

Do you know of other examples of businesses being creative in this endeavor?

I will always talk to customers. A company reached out as a consumer and used language about specific product features which flagged they knew the product and actually used it deeply. I responded.
To stay top of mind, I had a sales guy start a relationship with me on social media. Think organic comments on my blog and twitter chatter. At the moment of truth, I received a sales pitch and he was top of mind. I felt compelled to continue the conversation.
Most recently, a sales rep left this message for me: “Hi Matt. Just checking in…like I have been for the last 27 months….I’d love to take 10 minutes to see if we can help you.” Some may think of this as annoying: I think this is awesome. The person caught my attention, will get some time, and may even get a job offer.

What lessons, if any, do you derive from these stories?

While Chief Strategy Officer at Active, I would get approximately 5 solicitation calls a day and another 5 emails. Only rarely would I pick up the phone and when I did, I was focused on getting off the call as quickly as possible. Once, a sales rep mentioned an interesting fact about a competitor that had me engage in the conversation – it was important to me and I wanted to learn more. This person ended up getting a warm lead to the right buyer in our organization.

The net – be personal, be helpful, be brief, be top of mind and be on. Most of the time though, I firmly believe that pure effort will always pay off.

Contact information: Provide website and other information that we can use on the radio (Business Talk 1110 AM and on our news site).

Sign up for Porch today at www.porch.com and keep up to date on the latest news at www.blog.porch.com. The more friends you tell, the better our reccommendations are. Follow Matt on twitter for more start-up and business tips and tricks @matterhlichman.

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