Howey Test and Cryptocurrencies: 'Every ICO Is a Security'
What Is the Howey Test?
To determine whether a transaction qualifies as a "investment contract" and thus qualifies as a security, the Howey Test refers to the U.S. Supreme Court cass: the Securities Act of 1933 and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. According to the Howey Test, an investment contract exists when "money is invested in a common enterprise with a reasonable expectation of profits from others' efforts."
The test applies to any contract, scheme, or transaction. The Howey Test helps investors and project backers understand blockchain and digital currency projects. ICOs and certain cryptocurrencies may be found to be "investment contracts" under the test.
Understanding the Howey Test
The Howey Test comes from the 1946 Supreme Court case SEC v. W.J. Howey Co. The Howey Company sold citrus groves to Florida buyers who leased them back to Howey. The company would maintain the groves and sell the fruit for the owners. Both parties benefited. Most buyers had no farming experience and were not required to farm the land.
The SEC intervened because Howey failed to register the transactions. The court ruled that the leaseback agreements were investment contracts.
This established four criteria for determining an investment contract. Investing contract:
- An investment of money
- n a common enterprise
- With the expectation of profit
- To be derived from the efforts of others
In the case of Howey, the buyers saw the transactions as valuable because others provided the labor and expertise. An income stream was obtained by only investing capital. As a result of the Howey Test, the transaction had to be registered with the SEC.
Howey Test and Cryptocurrencies
Bitcoin is notoriously difficult to categorize. Decentralized, they evade regulation in many ways. Regardless, the SEC is looking into digital assets and determining when their sale qualifies as an investment contract.
The SEC claims that selling digital assets meets the "investment of money" test because fiat money or other digital assets are being exchanged. Like the "common enterprise" test.
Whether a digital asset qualifies as an investment contract depends on whether there is a "expectation of profit from others' efforts."
For example, buyers of digital assets may be relying on others' efforts if they expect the project's backers to build and maintain the digital network, rather than a dispersed community of unaffiliated users. Also, if the project's backers create scarcity by burning tokens, the test is met. Another way the "efforts of others" test is met is if the project's backers continue to act in a managerial role.
These are just a few examples given by the SEC. If a project's success is dependent on ongoing support from backers, the buyer of the digital asset is likely relying on "others' efforts."
If the SEC determines a cryptocurrency token is a security, many issues arise. It means the SEC can decide whether a token can be sold to US investors and forces the project to register.
In 2017, the SEC ruled that selling DAO tokens for Ether violated federal securities laws. Instead of enforcing securities laws, the SEC issued a warning to the cryptocurrency industry.
Due to the Howey Test, most ICOs today are likely inaccessible to US investors. After a year of ICOs, then-SEC Chair Jay Clayton declared them all securities.
SEC Chairman Gensler Agrees With Predecessor: 'Every ICO Is a Security'
Howey Test FAQs
How Do You Determine If Something Is a Security?
The Howey Test determines whether certain transactions are "investment contracts." Securities are transactions that qualify as "investment contracts" under the Securities Act of 1933 and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.
The Howey Test looks for a "investment of money in a common enterprise with a reasonable expectation of profits from others' efforts." If so, the Securities Act of 1933 and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 require disclosure and registration.
Why Is Bitcoin Not a Security?
Former SEC Chair Jay Clayton clarified in June 2018 that bitcoin is not a security: "Cryptocurrencies: Replace the dollar, euro, and yen with bitcoin. That type of currency is not a security," said Clayton.
Bitcoin, which has never sought public funding to develop its technology, fails the SEC's Howey Test. However, according to Clayton, ICO tokens are securities.
A Security Defined by the SEC
In the public and private markets, securities are fungible and tradeable financial instruments. The SEC regulates public securities sales.
The Supreme Court defined a security offering in SEC v. W.J. Howey Co. In its judgment, the court defines a security using four criteria:
- An investment contract's existence
- The formation of a common enterprise
- The issuer's profit promise
- Third-party promotion of the offering
Read original post.
More on Web3 & Crypto
11 months ago
What the hell is Web3 anyway?
"Web 3.0" is a trendy buzzword with a vague definition. Everyone agrees it has to do with a blockchain-based internet evolution, but what is it?
Yet, the meaning and prospects for Web3 have become hot topics in crypto communities. Big corporations use the term to gain a foothold in the space while avoiding the negative connotations of “crypto.”
But it can't be evaluated without a definition.
Among those criticizing Web3's vagueness is Cobie:
“Despite the dominie's deluge of undistinguished think pieces, nobody really agrees on what Web3 is. Web3 is a scam, the future, tokenizing the world, VC exit liquidity, or just another name for crypto, depending on your tribe.
“Even the crypto community is split on whether Bitcoin is Web3,” he adds.
The phrase was coined by an early crypto thinker, and the community has had years to figure out what it means. Many ideologies and commercial realities have driven reverse engineering.
Web3 is becoming clearer as a concept. It contains ideas. It was probably coined by Ethereum co-founder Gavin Wood in 2014. His definition of Web3 included “trustless transactions” as part of its tech stack. Wood founded the Web3 Foundation and the Polkadot network, a Web3 alternative future.
The 2013 Ethereum white paper had previously allowed devotees to imagine a DAO, for example.
Web3 now has concepts like decentralized autonomous organizations, sovereign digital identity, censorship-free data storage, and data divided by multiple servers. They intertwine discussions about the “Web3” movement and its viability.
These ideas are linked by Cobie's initial Web3 definition. A key component of Web3 should be “ownership of value” for one's own content and data.
Noting that “late-stage capitalism greedcorps that make you buy a fractionalized micropayment NFT on Cardano to operate your electric toothbrush” may build the new web, he notes that “crypto founders are too rich to care anymore.”
Many critics of Web3 claim it isn't practical or achievable. Web3 critics like Moxie Marlinspike (creator of sslstrip and Signal/TextSecure) can never see people running their own servers. Early in January, he argued that protocols are more difficult to create than platforms.
While this is true, some projects, like the file storage protocol IPFS, allow users to choose which jurisdictions their data is shared between.
But full decentralization is a difficult problem. Suhaza, replying to Moxie, said:
”People don't want to run servers... Companies are now offering API access to an Ethereum node as a service... Almost all DApps interact with the blockchain using Infura or Alchemy. In fact, when a DApp uses a wallet like MetaMask to interact with the blockchain, MetaMask is just calling Infura!
So, here are the questions: Web3: Is it a go? Is it truly decentralized?
Web3 history is shaped by Web2 failure.
This is the story of how the Internet was turned upside down...
Then came the vision. Everyone can create content for free. Decentralized open-source believers like Tim Berners-Lee popularized it.
Real-world data trade-offs for content creation and pricing.
A giant Wikipedia page married to a giant Craig's List. No ads, no logins, and a private web carve-up. For free usage, you give up your privacy and data to the algorithmic targeted advertising of Web 2.
Our data is centralized and savaged by giant corporations. Data localization rules and geopolitical walls like China's Great Firewall further fragment the internet.
The decentralized Web3 reflects Berners-original Lee's vision: "No permission is required from a central authority to post anything... there is no central controlling node and thus no single point of failure." Now he runs Solid, a Web3 data storage startup.
So Web3 starts with decentralized servers and data privacy.
Web3 begins with decentralized storage.
Data decentralization is a key feature of the Web3 tech stack. Web2 has closed databases. Large corporations like Facebook, Google, and others go to great lengths to collect, control, and monetize data. We want to change it.
Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Alibaba, and Huawei, according to Gartner, currently control 80% of the global cloud infrastructure market. Web3 wants to change that.
Decentralization enlarges power structures by giving participants a stake in the network. Users own data on open encrypted networks in Web3. This area has many projects.
Apps like Filecoin and IPFS have led the way. Data is replicated across multiple nodes in Web3 storage providers like Filecoin.
But the new tech stack and ideology raise many questions.
Giving users control over their data
According to Ryan Kris, COO of Verida, his “Web3 vision” is “empowering people to control their own data.”
Verida targets SDKs that address issues in the Web3 stack: identity, messaging, personal storage, and data interoperability.
A big app suite? “Yes, but it's a frontier technology,” he says. They are currently building a credentialing system for decentralized health in Bermuda.
By empowering individuals, how will Web3 create a fairer internet? Kris, who has worked in telecoms, finance, cyber security, and blockchain consulting for decades, admits it is difficult:
“The viability of Web3 raises some good business questions,” he adds. “How can users regain control over centralized personal data? How are startups motivated to build products and tools that support this transition? How are existing Web2 companies encouraged to pivot to a Web3 business model to compete with market leaders?
Kris adds that new technologies have regulatory and practical issues:
"On storage, IPFS is great for redundantly sharing public data, but not designed for securing private personal data. It is not controlled by the users. When data storage in a specific country is not guaranteed, regulatory issues arise."
Each project has varying degrees of decentralization. The diehards say DApps that use centralized storage are no longer “Web3” companies. But fully decentralized technology is hard to build.
Some argue that we're actually building Web2.5 businesses, which are crypto-native but not fully decentralized. This is vital. For example, the NFT may be on a blockchain, but it is linked to centralized data repositories like OpenSea. A server failure could result in data loss.
However, according to Apollo Capital crypto analyst David Angliss, OpenSea is “not exactly community-led”. Also in 2021, much to the chagrin of crypto enthusiasts, OpenSea tried and failed to list on the Nasdaq.
This is where Web2.5 is defined.
“Web3 isn't a crypto segment. “Anything that uses a blockchain for censorship resistance is Web3,” Angliss tells us.
“Web3 gives users control over their data and identity. This is not possible in Web2.”
“Web2 is like feudalism, with walled-off ecosystems ruled by a few. For example, an honest user owned the Instagram account “Meta,” which Facebook rebranded and then had to make up a reason to suspend. Not anymore with Web3. If I buy ‘Ethereum.ens,' Ethereum cannot take it away from me.”
Angliss uses OpenSea as a Web2.5 business example. Too decentralized, i.e. censorship resistant, can be unprofitable for a large company like OpenSea. For example, OpenSea “enables NFT trading”. But it also stopped the sale of stolen Bored Apes.”
Web3 (or Web2.5, depending on the context) has been described as a new way to privatize internet.
“Being in the crypto ecosystem doesn't make it Web3,” Angliss says. The biggest risk is centralized closed ecosystems rather than a growing Web3.
LooksRare and OpenDAO are two community-led platforms that are more decentralized than OpenSea. LooksRare has even been “vampire attacking” OpenSea, indicating a Web3 competitor to the Web2.5 NFT king could find favor.
The addition of a token gives these new NFT platforms more options for building customer loyalty. For example, OpenSea charges a fee that goes nowhere. Stakeholders of LOOKS tokens earn 100% of the trading fees charged by LooksRare on every basic sale.
Maybe Web3's time has come.
So whose data is it?
Continuing criticisms of Web3 platforms' decentralization may indicate we're too early. Users want to own and store their in-game assets and NFTs on decentralized platforms like the Metaverse and play-to-earn games. Start-ups like Arweave, Sia, and Aleph.im propose an alternative.
To be truly decentralized, Web3 requires new off-chain models that sidestep cloud computing and Web2.5.
“Arweave and Sia emerged as formidable competitors this year,” says the Messari Report. They seek to reduce the risk of an NFT being lost due to a data breach on a centralized server.
Aleph.im, another Web3 cloud competitor, seeks to replace cloud computing with a service network. It is a decentralized computing network that supports multiple blockchains by retrieving and encrypting data.
“The Aleph.im network provides a truly decentralized alternative where it is most needed: storage and computing,” says Johnathan Schemoul, founder of Aleph.im. For reasons of consensus and security, blockchains are not designed for large storage or high-performance computing.
As a result, large data sets are frequently stored off-chain, increasing the risk for centralized databases like OpenSea
Aleph.im enables users to own digital assets using both blockchains and off-chain decentralized cloud technologies.
"We need to go beyond layer 0 and 1 to build a robust decentralized web. The Aleph.im ecosystem is proving that Web3 can be decentralized, and we intend to keep going.”
Aleph.im raised $10 million in mid-January 2022, and Ubisoft uses its network for NFT storage. This is the first time a big-budget gaming studio has given users this much control.
It also suggests Web3 could work as a B2B model, even if consumers aren't concerned about “decentralization.” Starting with gaming is common.
Can Tokenomics help Web3 adoption?
Web3 consumer adoption is another story. The average user may not be interested in all this decentralization talk. Still, how much do people value privacy over convenience? Can tokenomics solve the privacy vs. convenience dilemma?
Holon Global Investments' Jonathan Hooker tells us that human internet behavior will change. “Do you own Bitcoin?” he asks in his Web3 explanation. How does it feel to own and control your own sovereign wealth? Then:
“What if you could own and control your data like Bitcoin?”
“The business model must find what that person values,” he says. Putting their own health records on centralized systems they don't control?
“How vital are those medical records to that person at a critical time anywhere in the world? Filecoin and IPFS can help.”
Web3 adoption depends on NFT storage competition. A free off-chain storage of NFT metadata and assets was launched by Filecoin in April 2021.
Denationalization and blockchain technology have significant implications for data ownership and compensation for lending, staking, and using data.
Tokenomics can change human behavior, but many people simply sign into Web2 apps using a Facebook API without hesitation. Our data is already owned by Google, Baidu, Tencent, and Facebook (and its parent company Meta). Is it too late to recover?
Maybe. “Data is like fruit, it starts out fresh but ages,” he says. "Big Tech's data on us will expire."
Web3 founder Kris agrees with Hooker that “value for data is the issue, not privacy.” People accept losing their data privacy, so tokenize it. People readily give up data, so why not pay for it?
"Personalized data offering is valuable in personalization. “I will sell my social media data but not my health data.”
Purists and mass consumer adoption struggle with key management.
Others question data tokenomics' optimism. While acknowledging its potential, Box founder Aaron Levie questioned the viability of Web3 models in a Tweet thread:
“Why? Because data almost always works in an app. A product and APIs that moved quickly to build value and trust over time.”
Levie contends that tokenomics may complicate matters. In addition to community governance and tokenomics, Web3 ideals likely add a new negotiation vector.
“These are hard problems about human coordination, not software or blockchains,”. Using a Facebook API is simple. The business model and user interface are crucial.
For example, the crypto faithful have a common misconception about logging into Web3. It goes like this: Web 1 had usernames and passwords. Web 2 uses Google, Facebook, or Twitter APIs, while Web 3 uses your wallet. Pay with Ethereum on MetaMask, for example.
But Levie is correct. Blockchain key management is stressed in this meme. Even seasoned crypto enthusiasts have heart attacks, let alone newbies.
Web3 requires a better user experience, according to Kris, the company's founder. “How does a user recover keys?”
And at this point, no solution is likely to be completely decentralized. So Web3 key management can be improved. ”The moment someone loses control of their keys, Web3 ceases to exist.”
That leaves a major issue for Web3 purists. Put this one in the too-hard basket.
Is 2022 the Year of Web3?
Web3 must first solve a number of issues before it can be mainstreamed. It must be better and cheaper than Web2.5, or have other significant advantages.
Web3 aims for scalability without sacrificing decentralization protocols. But decentralization is difficult and centralized services are more convenient.
Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin himself stated recently"
This is why (centralized) Binance to Binance transactions trump Ethereum payments in some places because they don't have to be verified 12 times."
“I do think a lot of people care about decentralization, but they're not going to take decentralization if decentralization costs $8 per transaction,” he continued.
“Blockchains need to be affordable for people to use them in mainstream applications... Not for 2014 whales, but for today's users."
For now, scalability, tokenomics, mainstream adoption, and decentralization believers seem to be holding Web3 hostage.
Much like crypto's past.
But stay tuned.
2 months ago
Failures of DCG and Genesis
Don't sleep with your own sister.
70% of lottery winners go broke within five years. You've heard the last one. People who got rich quickly without setbacks and hard work often lose it all. My father said, "Easy money is easily lost," and a wealthy friend who owns a family office said, "The first generation makes it, the second generation spends it, and the third generation blows it."
This is evident. Corrupt politicians in developing countries live lavishly, buying their third wives' fifth Hermès bag and celebrating New Year's at The Brando Resort. A successful businessperson from humble beginnings is more conservative with money. More so if they're atom-based, not bit-based. They value money.
Crypto can "feel" easy. I have nothing against capital market investing. The global financial system is shady, but that's another topic. The problem started when those who took advantage of easy money started affecting other businesses. VCs did minimal due diligence on FTX because they needed deal flow and returns for their LPs. Lenders did minimum diligence and underwrote ludicrous loans to 3AC because they needed revenue.
Alameda (hence FTX) and 3AC made "easy money" Genesis and DCG aren't. Their businesses are more conventional, but they underestimated how "easy money" can hurt them.
Genesis has been the victim of easy money hubris and insolvency, losing $1 billion+ to 3AC and $200M to FTX. We discuss the implications for the broader crypto market.
Here are the quick takeaways:
Genesis is one of the largest and most notable crypto lenders and prime brokerage firms.
DCG and Genesis have done related party transactions, which can be done right but is a bad practice.
Genesis owes DCG $1.5 billion+.
If DCG unwinds Grayscale's GBTC, $9-10 billion in BTC will hit the market.
DCG will survive Genesis.
Let's recap the FTX shenanigan from two weeks ago. Shenanigans! Delphi's tweet sums up the craziness. Genesis has $175M in FTX.
Cred's timeline: I hate bad crisis management. Yes, admitting their balance sheet hole right away might've sparked more panic, and there's no easy way to convey your trouble, but no one ever learns.
By November 23, rumors circulated online that the problem could affect Genesis' parent company, DCG. To address this, Barry Silbert, Founder, and CEO of DCG released a statement to shareholders.
A few things are confirmed thanks to this statement.
DCG owes $1.5 billion+ to Genesis.
$500M is due in 6 months, and the rest is due in 2032 (yes, that’s not a typo).
Unless Barry raises new cash, his last-ditch efforts to repay the money will likely push the crypto market lower.
Half a year of GBTC fees is approximately $100M.
They can pay $500M with GBTC.
With profits, sell another port.
Genesis has hired a restructuring adviser, indicating it is in trouble.
Every crypto problem in the past year seems to be rehypothecation between related parties, excessive leverage, hubris, and the removal of the money printer. The Bankless guys provided a chart showing 2021 crypto yield.
In June 2022, @DataFinnovation published a great investigation about 3AC and DCG. Here's a summary.
3AC borrowed BTC from Genesis and pledged it to create Grayscale's GBTC shares.
3AC uses GBTC to borrow more money from Genesis.
This lets 3AC leverage their capital.
3AC's strategy made sense because GBTC had a premium, creating "free money."
GBTC's discount and LUNA's implosion caused problems.
3AC lost its loan money in LUNA.
Margin called on 3ACs' GBTC collateral.
DCG bought GBTC to avoid a systemic collapse and a larger discount.
Genesis lost too much money because 3AC can't pay back its loan. DCG "saved" Genesis, but the FTX collapse hurt Genesis further, forcing DCG and Genesis to seek external funding.
Co-borrowing. Unnecessary rehypothecation. Extra space. Governance disaster. Greed, hubris. Crypto has repeatedly shown it can recreate traditional financial system disasters quickly. Working in crypto is one of the best ways to learn crazy financial tricks people will do for a quick buck much faster than if you dabble in traditional finance.
I think the crypto industry needs to consider its future. This is especially true for professionals. I'm not trying to scare you. In 2018 and 2020, I had doubts. No doubts now. Detailing the crypto industry's potential outcomes helped me gain certainty and confidence in its future. This includes VCs' benefits and talking points during the bull market, as well as what would happen if government regulations became hostile, etc. Even if that happens, I'm certain. This is permanent. I may write a post about that soon.
Jeff John Roberts
7 months ago
Jack Dorsey and Jay-Z Launch 'Bitcoin Academy' in Brooklyn rapper's home
The new Bitcoin Academy will teach Jay-Marcy Z's Houses neighbors "What is Cryptocurrency."
Jay-Z grew up in Brooklyn's Marcy Houses. The rapper and Block CEO Jack Dorsey are giving back to his hometown by creating the Bitcoin Academy.
The Bitcoin Academy will offer online and in-person classes, including "What is Money?" and "What is Blockchain?"
The program will provide participants with a mobile hotspot and a small amount of Bitcoin for hands-on learning.
Students will receive dinner and two evenings of instruction until early September. The Shawn Carter Foundation will help with on-the-ground instruction.
Jay-Z and Dorsey announced the program Thursday morning. It will begin at Marcy Houses but may be expanded.
Jay-Z, Dorsey reunite
Jay-Z and Dorsey have previously worked together to promote a Bitcoin and crypto-based future.
In 2021, Dorsey's Block (then Square) acquired the rapper's streaming music service Tidal, which they propose using for NFT distribution.
Dorsey and Jay-Z launched an endowment in 2021 to fund Bitcoin development in Africa and India.
Dorsey is funding the new Bitcoin Academy out of his own pocket (as is Jay-Z), but he's also pushed crypto-related charitable endeavors at Block, including a $5 million fund backed by corporate Bitcoin interest.
This post is a summary. Read full article here
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5 months ago
6 Causes Your Sales Pitch Is Unintentionally Repulsing Customers
Skip this if you don't want to discover why your lively, no-brainer pitch isn't making $10k a month.
You don't want to be repulsive as an entrepreneur or anyone else. Making friends, influencing people, and converting strangers into customers will be difficult if your words evoke disgust, distrust, or disrespect. You may be one of many entrepreneurs who do this obliviously and involuntarily.
I've had to master selling my skills to recruiters (to land 6-figure jobs on Wall Street), selling companies to buyers in M&A transactions, and selling my own companies' products to strangers-turned-customers. I probably committed every cardinal sin of sales repulsion before realizing it was me or my poor salesmanship strategy.
If you're launching a new business, frustrated by low conversion rates, or just curious if you're repelling customers, read on to identify (and avoid) the 6 fatal errors that can kill any sales pitch.
1. The first indication
So many people fumble before they even speak because they assume their role is to convince the buyer. In other words, they expect to pressure, arm-twist, and combat objections until they convert the buyer. Actuality, the approach stinks of disgust, and emotionally-aware buyers would feel "gross" immediately.
Instead of trying to persuade a customer to buy, ask questions that will lead them to do so on their own. When a customer discovers your product or service on their own, they need less outside persuasion. Why not position your offer in a way that leads customers to sell themselves on it?
2. A flawless performance
Are you memorizing a sales script, tweaking video testimonials, and expunging historical blemishes before hitting "publish" on your new campaign? If so, you may be hurting your conversion rate.
Perfection may be a step too far and cause prospects to mistrust your sincerity. Become a great conversationalist to boost your sales. Seriously. Being charismatic is hard without being genuine and showing a little vulnerability.
People like vulnerability, even if it dents your perfect facade. Show the customer's stuttering testimonial. Open up about your or your company's past mistakes (and how you've since improved). Make your sales pitch a two-way conversation. Let the customer talk about themselves to build rapport. Real people sell, not canned scripts and movie-trailer testimonials.
If marketing or sales calls feel like a performance, you may be doing something wrong or leaving money on the table.
3. Your greatest phobia
Three minutes into prospect talks, I'd start sweating. I was talking 100 miles per hour, covering as many bases as possible to avoid the ones I feared. I knew my then-offering was inadequate and my firm had fears I hadn't addressed. So I word-vomited facts, features, and everything else to avoid the customer's concerns.
Do my prospects know I'm insecure? Maybe not, but it added an unnecessary and unhelpful layer of paranoia that kept me stressed, rushed, and on edge instead of connecting with the prospect. Skirting around a company, product, or service's flaws or objections is a poor, temporary, lazy (and cowardly) decision.
How can you project confidence and trust if you're afraid? Before you make another sales call, face your shortcomings, weak points, and objections. Your company won't be everyone's cup of tea, but you should have answers to every question or objection. You should be your business's top spokesperson and defender.
4. The unintentional apologies
Have you ever begged for a sale? I'm going to say no, however you may be unknowingly emitting sorry, inferior, insecure energy.
Young founders, first-time entrepreneurs, and those with severe imposter syndrome may elevate their target customer. This is common when trying to get first customers for obvious reasons.
Since you're truly new at this, you naturally lack experience.
You don't have the self-confidence boost of thousands or hundreds of closed deals or satisfied client results to remind you that your good or service is worthwhile.
Getting those initial few clients seems like the most difficult task, as if doing so will decide the fate of your company as a whole (it probably won't, and you shouldn't actually place that much emphasis on any one transaction).
Customers can smell fear, insecurity, and anxiety just like they can smell B.S. If you believe your product or service improves clients' lives, selling it should feel like a benevolent act of service, not a sleazy money-grab. If you're a sincere entrepreneur, prospects will believe your proposition; if you're apprehensive, they'll notice.
Approach every sale as if you're fine with or without it. This has improved my salesmanship, marketing skills, and mental health. When you put pressure on yourself to close a sale or convince a difficult prospect "or else" (your company will fail, your rent will be late, your electricity will be cut), you emit desperation and lower the quality of your pitch. There's no point.
5. The endless promises
We've all read a million times how to answer or disprove prospects' arguments and add extra incentives to speed or secure the close. Some objections shouldn't be refuted. What if I told you not to offer certain incentives, bonuses, and promises? What if I told you to walk away from some prospects, even if it means losing your sales goal?
If you market to enough people, make enough sales calls, or grow enough companies, you'll encounter prospects who can't be satisfied. These prospects have endless questions, concerns, and requests for more, more, more that you'll never satisfy. These people are a distraction, a resource drain, and a test of your ability to cut losses before they erode your sanity and profit margin.
To appease or convert these insatiably needy, greedy Nellies into customers, you may agree with or acquiesce to every request and demand — even if you can't follow through. Once you overpromise and answer every hole they poke, their trust in you may wane quickly.
Telling a prospect what you can't do takes courage and integrity. If you're honest, upfront, and willing to admit when a product or service isn't right for the customer, you'll gain respect and positive customer experiences. Sometimes honesty is the most refreshing pitch and the deal-closer.
6. No matter what
Have you ever said, "I'll do anything to close this sale"? If so, you've probably already been disqualified. If a prospective customer haggles over a price, requests a discount, or continues to wear you down after you've made three concessions too many, you have a metal hook in your mouth, not them, and it may not end well. Why?
If you're so willing to cut a deal that you cut prices, comp services, extend payment plans, waive fees, etc., you betray your own confidence that your product or service was worth the stated price. They wonder if anyone is paying those prices, if you've ever had a customer (who wasn't a blood relative), and if you're legitimate or worth your rates.
Once a prospect senses that you'll do whatever it takes to get them to buy, their suspicions rise and they wonder why.
Why are you cutting pricing if something is wrong with you or your service?
Why are you so desperate for their sale?
Why aren't more customers waiting in line to pay your pricing, and if they aren't, what on earth are they doing there?
That's what a prospect thinks when you reveal your lack of conviction, desperation, and willingness to give up control. Some prospects will exploit it to drain you dry, while others will be too frightened to buy from you even if you paid them.
Walking down a two-way street. Be casual.
If we track each act of repulsion to an uneasiness, fear, misperception, or impulse, it's evident that these sales and marketing disasters were forced communications. Stiff, imbalanced, divisive, combative, bravado-filled, and desperate. They were unnatural and accepted a power struggle between two sparring, suspicious, unequal warriors, rather than a harmonious oneness of two natural, but opposite parties shaking hands.
Sales should be natural, harmonious. Sales should feel good for both parties, not like one party is having their arm twisted.
You may be doing sales wrong if it feels repulsive, icky, or degrading. If you're thinking cringe-worthy thoughts about yourself, your product, service, or sales pitch, imagine what you're projecting to prospects. Don't make it unpleasant, repulsive, or cringeworthy.
2 months ago
Early Adopters And the Fifth Reason WHY
Product management wizardry.
Early adopters buy a product even if it hasn't hit the market or has flaws.
Who are the early adopters?
Early adopters try a new technology or product first. Early adopters are interested in trying or buying new technologies and products before others. They're risk-tolerant and can provide initial cash flow and product reviews. They help a company's new product or technology gain social proof.
Early adopters are most common in the technology industry, but they're in every industry. They don't follow the crowd. They seek innovation and report product flaws before mass production. If the product works well, the first users become loyal customers, and colleagues value their opinion.
What to do with early adopters?
They can be used to collect feedback and initial product promotion, first sales, and product value validation.
How to find early followers?
Start with your immediate environment and target audience. Communicate with them to see if they're interested in your value proposition.
1) Innovators (2.5% of the population) are risk-takers seeking novelty. These people are the first to buy new and trendy items and drive social innovation. However, these people are usually elite;
Early adopters (13.5%) are inclined to accept innovations but are more cautious than innovators; they start using novelties when innovators or famous people do;
3) The early majority (34%) is conservative; they start using new products when many people have mastered them. When the early majority accepted the innovation, it became ingrained in people's minds.
4) Attracting 34% of the population later means the novelty has become a mass-market product. Innovators are using newer products;
5) Laggards (16%) are the most conservative, usually elderly people who use the same products.
Stages of new information acceptance
1. The information is strange and rejected by most. Accepted only by innovators;
2. When early adopters join, more people believe it's not so bad; when a critical mass is reached, the novelty becomes fashionable and most people use it.
3. Fascination with a novelty peaks, then declines; the majority and laggards start using it later; novelty becomes obsolete; innovators master something new.
Problems with early implementation
Early adopter sales have disadvantages.
Higher risk of defects
Selling to first-time users increases the risk of defects. Early adopters are often influential, so this can affect the brand's and its products' long-term perception.
Not what was expected
First-time buyers may be disappointed by the product. Marketing messages can mislead consumers, and if the first users believe the company misrepresented the product, this will affect future sales.
Some technological advances cause compatibility issues. Consumers may be disappointed if new technology is incompatible with their electronics.
Method 5 WHY
Let's talk about 5 why, a good tool for finding project problems' root causes. This method is also known as the five why rule, method, or questions.
The 5 why technique came from Toyota's lean manufacturing and helps quickly determine a problem's root cause.
On one, two, and three, you simply do this:
We identify and frame the issue for which a solution is sought.
We frequently ponder this question. The first 2-3 responses are frequently very dull, making you want to give up on this pointless exercise. However, after that, things get interesting. And occasionally it's so fascinating that you question whether you really needed to know.
We consider the final response, ponder it, and choose a course of action.
Always do the 5 whys with the customer or team to have a reasonable discussion and better understand what's happening.
And the “five whys” is a wonderful and simplest tool for introspection. With the accumulated practice, it is used almost automatically in any situation like “I can’t force myself to work, the mood is bad in the morning” or “why did I decide that I have no life without this food processor for 20,000 rubles, which will take half of my rather big kitchen.”
An illustration of the five whys
A simple, but real example from my work practice that I think is very indicative, given the participants' low IT skills. Anonymized, of course.
Users spend too long looking for tender documents.
Why? Because they must search through many company tender documents.
Why? Because the system can't filter department-specific bids.
Why? Because our contract management system requirements didn't include a department-tender link. That's it, right? We'll add a filter and be happy. but still…
why? Because we based the system's requirements on regulations for working with paper tender documents (when they still had envelopes and autopsies), not electronic ones, and there was no search mechanism.
Why? We didn't consider how our work would change when switching from paper to electronic tenders when drafting the requirements.
Now I know what to do in the future. We add a filter, enter department data, and teach users to use it. This is tactical, but strategically we review the same forgotten requirements to make all the necessary changes in a package, plus we include it in the checklist for the acceptance of final requirements for the future.
Errors when using 5 why
Five whys seems simple, but it can be misused.
The accusation of everyone and everything is then introduced. After all, the 5 why method focuses on identifying the underlying causes rather than criticizing others. As a result, at the third step, it is not a good idea to conclude that the system is ineffective because users are stupid and that we can therefore do nothing about it.
to fight with all my might so that the outcome would be exactly 5 reasons, neither more nor less. 5 questions is a typical number (it sounds nice, yes), but there could be 3 or 7 in actuality.
Do not capture in-between responses. It is difficult to overestimate the power of the written or printed word, so the result is so-so when the focus is lost. That's it, I suppose. Simple, quick, and brilliant, like other project management tools.
Today we analyzed important study elements:
Early adopters and 5 WHY We've analyzed cases and live examples of how these methods help with product research and growth point identification. Next, consider the HADI cycle.
5 months ago
Yahoo could have purchased Google for $1 billion
Let's see this once-dominant IT corporation crumble.
What's the capital of Kazakhstan? If you don't know the answer, you can probably find it by Googling. Google Search returned results for Nur-Sultan in 0.66 seconds.
Google is the best search engine I've ever used. Did you know another search engine ruled the Internet? I'm sure you guessed Yahoo!
Google's friendly UI and wide selection of services make it my top choice. Let's explore Yahoo's decline.
YAHOO stands for Yet Another Hierarchically Organized Oracle. Jerry Yang and David Filo established Yahoo.
Yahoo is primarily a search engine and email provider. It offers News and an advertising platform. It was a popular website in 1995 that let people search the Internet directly. Yahoo began offering free email in 1997 by acquiring RocketMail.
According to a study, Yahoo used Google Search Engine technology until 2000 and then developed its own in 2004.
Yahoo! rejected buying Google for $1 billion
Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Google's founders, approached Yahoo in 1998 to sell Google for $1 billion so they could focus on their studies. Yahoo denied the offer, thinking it was overvalued at the time.
Yahoo realized its error and offered Google $3 billion in 2002, but Google demanded $5 billion since it was more valuable. Yahoo thought $5 billion was overpriced for the existing market.
In 2022, Google is worth $1.56 Trillion.
What happened to Yahoo!
Yahoo refused to buy Google, and Google's valuation rose, making a purchase unfeasible.
Yahoo started losing users when Google launched Gmail. Google's UI was far cleaner than Yahoo's.
Yahoo offered $1 billion to buy Facebook in July 2006, but Zuckerberg and the board sought $1.1 billion. Yahoo rejected, and Facebook's valuation rose, making it difficult to buy.
Yahoo was losing users daily while Google and Facebook gained many. Google and Facebook's popularity soared. Yahoo lost value daily.
Microsoft offered $45 billion to buy Yahoo in February 2008, but Yahoo declined. Microsoft increased its bid to $47 billion after Yahoo said it was too low, but Yahoo rejected it. Then Microsoft rejected Yahoo’s 10% bid increase in May 2008.
In 2015, Verizon bought Yahoo for $4.5 billion, and Apollo Global Management bought 90% of Yahoo's shares for $5 billion in May 2021. Verizon kept 10%.
Yahoo's opportunity to acquire Google and Facebook could have been a turning moment. It declined Microsoft's $45 billion deal in 2008 and was sold to Verizon for $4.5 billion in 2015. Poor decisions and lack of vision caused its downfall. Yahoo's aim wasn't obvious and it didn't stick to a single domain.
Hence, a corporation needs a clear vision and a leader who can see its future.
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