Joe Paranteau is a leading expert on sales, generating more than $1B in just five years, an uncommon accomplishment. He has led nearly 30K sales meetings in his 28-year career with Fortune 500, SMBs, and startup businesses. In his first book, Billion Dollar Sales Secrets, he shares fifteen secrets to help inspire salespeople to rise to meet today’s challenges, ignite their dreams and success.
Most passionate about
My book is coming out. That has been three years in the making.
I've also completed my MBA. I went back to school during this time, something that I wanted to do, and I'm so happy that I did.
I'm most passionate about helping everyone increase their sales IQ and really execute so that they can provide the things they need for their families and their companies.
Our company motto is to help people and businesses throughout the world achieve their full potential. It says nothing about technology but that's what I love to do: help people.
Joe’s career and story
I'm the first generation in my family to grow up off the Indian reservation. So, I'm a member of a tribe.
I was the first one to grow up in suburbia. I have these two worlds that I grew up in. I grew up poor and didn't have a lot.
To help the family, my brother, sister, and I would paint rocks and go door to door to sell them. So, I guess my career really started when I was eight years old.
I served in the military as a way to do something to better my life.
I went to college, graduated, and then I had an opportunity to get into sales. I thought I wanted to go into politics. That was my thinking at the time. Then I met someone who said, “Joe, you have a technical background and a background in communication. Very interesting. Why don't you want to go into sales?”
She explained to me what I just shared with you earlier: That selling is all about helping people get what they want or need. If you can look yourself in the mirror every day and say to yourself, “Today, I helped somebody,” then you're doing all right.
The company that I worked for was a technology company that was a Microsoft partner, 28 years ago. So, I started there and worked through a series of startups. Some of them were super successful, some of them were not. Many of them got merged and acquired by other companies, but my path at Microsoft has been interesting.
I've been here 16 years, and this is the sixth role and fourth startup that I've been in inside the company. I've helped start different businesses inside the company. The basis for my book was a startup in our health industry team that I was able to help grow to a billion dollars in five years.
Best advice for entrepreneurs
A pretty good one is to focus. Be comfortable and openly search for ways to fail. Don't be afraid of failure. I've come to a place in my sales and business career where I don't see obstacles. I don't see a sale that could be unwinnable.
Be open to shifting and being honest with yourself. The only thing that's going against us is time. If we can change the way we approach things, that's really what has to change. If we learn something new, we can approach the situation differently. Then we're one step closer.
The biggest, most critical failure with customers
The biggest failure that I've had in sales is not listening well and not aligning myself with what the customer wanted. When I've looked at it from a selfish ambition standpoint, that's a surefire way to fail.
I had a customer with a very specific set of criteria. At first, it sounded like I knew exactly what they needed, so I rushed that. I went directly into, “Okay, this will be easy to sell.” I missed the mark completely. The customer felt awkward. They told me, “We like you as a person, Joe, but we're going to go with this other company because they met our needs more completely.” It was a tough loss.
Biggest success with customers