Today on Sales Transformation, Collin welcomes Sean Tepper, Founder, and CEO of Tykr, a stock screener and educational platform all-in-one that helps you manage your own investments. Sean shares his sales story and professional background, how he developed Tykr, and how important channel partners are in spreading awareness of your product.
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Sean: “We're essentially a stock screener, an educational platform. So if you're new to investing or you want to manage your own investments, we tell people Tykr is the best place to start.”
Sean: “Anybody who wants to get started managing their own investments, your goal right away should not be making money. Yes, that's what you want to build, your wealth, and of course have financial independence earlier if you so desire, but your first objective should be increasing confidence. So start small with like 100 to 1000 bucks.”
Sean: “With Tykr, the more confidence you can give people the better. So we try to provide more data in the tool, but it has to be meaningful data.”
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[00:00:00] In the world of sales, you either sink or swim or breakthrough to the next level. My name's Colin Mitchell. And this is sales transformation, a new kind of sales show designed to bring you through the epic life-changing moments of elite sellers. So you can experience your own sales transformation.
[00:00:29] Hey, before we start today's episode, I wanted to bring you in on the best kept secret in B2B sales. If you're serious about social selling and your only strategy is cold, the M's through LinkedIn. You're missing the mark big time. Learn how I fully manage revenue generating podcast can change your life and your email@example.com.
[00:00:55] All right. Welcome to another episode of sales transformation today. I've got Sean Tepper here. He's the CEO and founder of Teicher. It's a platform that helps people manage their own investments, and it is a B to C product. So today we're going to talk a little bit about channel sales, but before we dig in, we're going to hear a little bit about Sean's story.
[00:01:17] So Sean, welcome to the show. Colin going to be here. Thanks for that. Yeah, absolutely. So give us your, uh, the short version like of your sales story or a professional career, or if you want to go back a little further to give us some context, feel free to do so. Sure you got it. I'll try to keep this to like two or three minutes here, but my background is about 15 years in software engineering, primarily project management.
[00:01:38] Um, I had a. From 2006 to 2010, it was a service business agency did not make any money during the recession. It was an opportunity to get into entrepreneurship and learn how this works. The benefits of those first four years in business were, I didn't realize it at the time, but it was working with.
[00:02:00] Smaller mid-sized businesses and learning and a lot of different business models. Um, so I learned a lot about business. We fortunately drew the fourth year of 2010 and went through a merger. It was not like a big liquidity event. So I walked away with a few million bucks in the bank and retired. Um, and it was not that it was a moment where all debts and liabilities were removed and I got a fresh start by this point, I knew what kind of business I wanted to start.
[00:02:25] SAS software as a service. Didn't have any ideas. So what did I do? I got into corporate jobs, so I I've done a lot of work with like GE and Kohler the last 10 years. Um, at the same time I started getting into investing. I started with privates investing angel investing, which is essentially just investing in like local tech businesses and hoping they, uh, you know, go a thousand percent in the next few years.
[00:02:49] And again, another situation where we're looking to make a big returns retire, and then you're. Um, that never happened. Um, so I knew I could be swinging for the fences for a while with angel investing, turn my attention to the public market around 2015. So following guys like Warren Buffett, Charlie Munger, Phil tone, and I knew that, or these guys have stated that.
[00:03:10] They have made consistent returns in the market that definitely beat the market. In fact, I know Warren Buffett has said, if he's just managing a few million bucks, he could make consistent returns ranging between 15 and 50%. I knew that this is not a gambling man. He does not use emotions or feelings.
[00:03:28] Yeah. Um, which means he's using some sort of logic. My software engineering background told me that, okay. Time to learn this logic myself went down the YouTube rabbit hole along with read as many books as I could found a lot of math that does not work, but thanks to a guy by the name of Phil town, he wrote a few books.
[00:03:47] I'll list them right now. He's got rule one. Another great book is payback time, but about 70% of the math that's in ticker. She will talk about in a moments are really inspired from him. So, um, started using this tool for myself in Excel, very clunky process, but I was able to generate returns in the market that were between 15 and 50%.
[00:04:08] Sometimes better did that for four years. And then 2019, I started sharing this with other people, like sending it to them or pretty much meeting and saying, Hey, would you use. The tool and they're everybody's responses when you're going to turn this into a software to share with others. So, um, it took about a year to build the first version, 2020, one of my live we've been live now a year and a half.
[00:04:30] We've got about 4,000 customers around the globe. So we're essentially, we're a, we're a stock screener and educational platform. So if you're new to investing or you want to, you want to manage your own investments, we tell people take. Best place to start. Got it. Okay. Wow. All right. So you went down the entrepreneurship, uh, path, and I'm curious to know what you learned in that, you know, process.
[00:04:56] You didn't have the big exit. Sounds like maybe some things went, you know, it didn't go. Right. Um, but what learners, what lessons did you take away from that experience? We could be here all day. Give us the top ones. You got it. So I learned about business models, like being an entrepreneur is really exciting, but I learned what is a scalable business model.
[00:05:18] And what's not, this doesn't mean good or bad businesses, but my mindset is I'm very much an efficiency person. I like to see growth in a service business. You're trading your time for a paycheck. If you're building software or websites or applications or video or social media, these are all fine business models.
[00:05:34] But for me, I did not love it. And there's very limited revenue can generate and very limited, limited scalability. Our team was five people and that's about as big as we could get it before really bringing on more liabilities, AKA payroll, um, I also learned about the businesses we've worked with or what our scale of the businesses.
[00:05:54] So that's when I got exposed to SAS businesses, um, e-commerce can be scalable if your supply chain and manufacturing of whatever widget you're creating is done. Right. Um, right. There's a lot of manufacturing companies out there and, and, and everything in between, we were able to get exposure to, and that really.
[00:06:14] Helped me apply that to investing. So I can quickly analyze businesses, understand this is scalable is, is not. Um, so I'd say those are the biggest, biggest lessons learned about those first four years. Yeah. Sometimes you got to see what doesn't work, what does, which can be bad, so, yeah, totally. Yeah. Okay.
[00:06:36] And so, wow. Okay. So when you build ticks, Um, you used it for four years on your own before letting it before, giving anybody else access. Talk to me a little bit about that timeframe. What happened, you know, maybe iterations, um, uh, for, you know, four years of like really vetting, they must been hard to not want to share it with more people.
[00:06:59] That's that's the thing is like, I knew like, Took a year and then started going to people. Especially people have a lot of experience in the market. It'd be like, okay, this was a bunch of BS. Like really this can be locked. So the first year was a lot of like iterations of this thing. And then the second year where there's a little more, but I started to see some patterns over time.
[00:07:21] And essentially what ticker, I won't hide anything is all of our calculations. All opensource, you can literally go to ticker.com. We're all about keeping things transparent. So you could go create your own version of ticker if you really want it. But we, I need. I understand the rigor around what we're looking at in layman's terms here.
[00:07:39] W we really look at the revenue growth rates, the net income, the cash flow, lower deaths. It's all like the fundamentals of business, the good things on a balance sheet that you really want to look at. Um, and yeah, I played. Four years to really thoroughly bet this. Cause I'm like, if I'm going to create a sass around this thing, I better have some serious data and prove right before I really showing it, show it to people.
[00:08:05] Who've got a ton of experience in this space. And so tell me, is it, do you actually manage your investments there or talk to me a little bit? How about, about how the platform, our business model is as a straight up sass, so we don't manage any. We were not like a hedge fund or a portfolio manager where you manage people's portfolios or money.
[00:08:25] We don't touch anybody's money. They subscribed to a tool to see stock ratings, whether they're good or bad, and then they get access to the educational content for free. So it's, it's, it's very low barrier to entry to join as a B2C SAS, can you join for free? And it's got a paid membership upgrade thereafter.
[00:08:44] Um, But yeah. If people want to do this on our own, they do need a broker long story short, a broker is where you actually connect your bank account here in the states. The top ones are like TD Ameritrade, Robin hood E-Trade I use TD Ameritrade. Got it. Okay. So they're using it to educate themselves rather than spending endless hours researching and reunion and stuff like that.
[00:09:07] Got it. Okay. And so, um, And then did you have any, uh, okay, so there wasn't really a lot of risk as far as like putting your w will you, are you actually making decisions or were you testing the tour where you actually putting the money to work? I was actually putting my money to work. Yeah. Oh, wow. And was that a little scary?
[00:09:26] It is. And I will say with anybody who wants to get started managing their own investments, your goal right away should not be making money. Yes. That's them goals. You want to build your wealth and of course have financial independence. The earlier, if you so desire. Um, but your first objective should be increasing confidence.
[00:09:45] So start small start with like a hundred to a thousand bucks. So that's what I did. I just got in bought a stock or two started tracking them. And then you just keep doing that every month. You just had a little bit more and, and the thing is the hardest part is really that first step it's like putting your toes in the water.
[00:10:01] You just, just kind of. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Sink or swim. Right. Um, literally. Um, okay. And then, so tell me a little bit, like, since you're a, B to C, um, how did you start with building a channel, you know, channel sales program? Yeah. So take a step back as when building a B2C platform, your, you need to create a platform.
[00:10:26] That's got really low friction because me, I'm not going to sell to my. Audience personally, you need the platform to sell. You need the words, you need the colors and that's not easy. So the objective is to get this in the hands of customers as fast as possible. And I actually set a goal. I'm like, I'm going to give this away to a hundred people for free.
[00:10:47] And I want their feedback as fast as possible. I don't want to wait three months, six months, 12 months. I want to know in the next two weeks to four weeks, what would you change? What jumps out to you? What's bad. What's good. And that's how you, you can accelerate your B to C process much faster by doing that.
[00:11:04] You get that fast feedback. But of course, like I said, you shouldn't be focused on. Get it in their hands. First at the same time when building and B to C, we sell direct to the consumer, but you can sell a lot faster by going through channel partners or otherwise known as affiliates. So we, and we can, we can deep dive this a little bit, but at the surface, we like our affiliates are like, um, influencers like YouTube, burrs, or bloggers that have like personal finance channels or blogs and other B2C FinTech.
[00:11:35] So financial tech companies. Those are perfect because they already have the audience we're looking for. We give them affiliate kickback for every customer they bring us. Yeah. And so just to be clear, right. Is number one is making sure your product is. Going to do the selling for you for just thinking, Hey, I'm going to go do land channel partners, right?
[00:11:59] Because channel partners are never going to sell your product. It may be as good as you are, obviously. Um, and then when you're a B to C it's even, you're not even really doing any selling. Right. So the product and you know what that, how the product works. The, the language, the website, that's got to do the selling for you.
[00:12:17] So making sure that all of that is in order before going down building a channel program, uh, and then really being specific of the types of people that you know are going to have, um, uh, the type of audience. They would be your ideal clients and then build those win-win relationships. Right. Right. And just to echo, what you just said is, you know, that that's, the objective is to really nail down the product.
[00:12:44] And that can take a while. I mean, we, we're still evolving and we're improving and it, I mean the first year to year and a half, you know, Still moments like, gosh, we haven't really found product market fit here, which is common for a B to C. And it's just get more customers on the platform, give more feedback, get on those zoom calls and have them demo the tool.
[00:13:06] So you can see what they're doing and not doing. Don't just do a survey and ask questions. Like you got to have these relationships with your customers, you got to build friendships. That's where you can speed things up. Yeah. And so those. Uh, I mean, how, um, did that first hundred people, the feedback from those first a hundred people, how much did that feedback change?
[00:13:29] You know, what you guys were doing at that time? Yeah. So this was kind of funny. I, the first version, the MVP minimum viable product we launched with, it was exactly what I wanted. It was not even close to what the customer wanted. Right. But what we found is with ticker. The more confidence you can give people the better.
[00:13:52] So we try to provide more data in the tool, but it has to be meaningful data because there's a lot of platforms and a lot of screeners out there, you can go to Yahoo, finance, or MSN money, a lot of noise, a lot of clutter. And how do we take the data and make you like, create the why behind everything?
[00:14:08] Like, why are these ratings the way there and say it. Like layman terms, like make the super easy. And so that's what the evolution has been about is really making this tool increased competence. So more data points, more features without making the tool busy, but essentially then are a giving customers more confidence.
[00:14:27] They can move forward with buying or selling decision. And that has taken time. So it's been quite a journey I must say. Well, yeah, I mean, it's, it's funny. I mean, you have. It's kind of a tricky situation. Right? Cause you gotta have something to be able to get feedback. You can't have nothing. Right. So you can't like, Hey, what are you?
[00:14:47] I don't have anything. Like what, you know, what would you like to see? Right. You got, you're gonna have something to show people, but you know that, um, building that out to then find out that, you know, it was what you wanted and not necessarily what other people want. It's gotta be a little frustrating if it is, I've been here before.
[00:15:04] Cause I've kinda like, um, Invested. Like I mentioned those earlier days of private investing, you know, before 2015, I learned the hard way, you know, with a B to C, you have to go on the expectation. Most people aren't going to like this, but if I can get just in the ballpark just a little bit and then get those conversations going, like people say, I really like this, but can you add this, this and this?
[00:15:28] And you. Talking to more people and you can collect those data points. You kind of, you figure out then you create this list, whether it's an Excel or wherever you ATrack it figure out, okay, here are the top requests. This is what we need to create. And the bottom ones, you can pretty much lead, fall off your, your roadmap.
[00:15:45] Um, and that's really the process to hyphen to do it. Right. Okay. Yeah. And so, and to sign up for it is free, right. For people to sign up. Right. So then, so you've got basically. Yeah, a product led growth sort of approach of like letting people into the product and then there's like a free version and then they can upgrade.
[00:16:04] Um, and so the product is, is gotta be totally dialed in, in order for that to work. And you gotta get the right people to sign up for them to actually convert because a lot of people like free stuff doesn't mean they're willing to pay for it. Exactly. Yeah. Um, and so how has the. How has the channel program that you've built out, like, you know, how what's been the success of that would have been some challenges that you ran into with, with building that out with, with channel partners, you know, finding that product market fit is essential because you don't want.
[00:16:34] Your, your affiliates look bad. Um, and, and I was, I will say this within six months to nine months, I was already focused on channel partners and I've got a few little ones, which is fine, but their issue is they'd bring people on there. People would join for a month and then leave. Well, they're not going to make any.
[00:16:54] I'm going cashflow that way. And that's essentially what your affiliates want. Especially YouTubers, you know, YouTube will pay these people some money, but they want to be making money off of affiliates. Right? That's that's a reoccurring stream of revenue and I found it. You got to turn back to product market fit and focus on that first.
[00:17:14] And then bring on your channel and partners with those channel partners. We were right in our assumption is who to go after, like we knew YouTube versus cause that's growing fast. We haven't tried Tik talkers. I'm sure that's, that's another channel we can unlock. Um, bloggers is pretty straightforward and then other fintechs that's actually maybe the little bit of a surprise.
[00:17:34] We're finding a little more interest there than we expected, which is. That is exciting. Like our tool can compliment theirs essentially. So we're going to lean into that a little bit. Okay. Awesome. Have you, have you, um, I'm curious, have you built many channel relationships with podcasters? Um, a little bit.
[00:17:53] Yeah. There's um, there's a few that's like podcasts or they'll have like a YouTube channel or a blog or some FinTech, and it's actually part of our, the acquisition strategy or to the building relationships. Talk to those people, get them on the podcast, get them to talk about their brand and then turn around and say, Hey, I've got.
[00:18:12] Ticker. Here's what it does. I'd love for you to give it a try and see if it can provide value to your audience. And that's really our that's, our sales strategy is really low, key, low pressure friendship first, you know, don't, don't force it down your throat, right? The important, and that's important, right?
[00:18:31] Because when building these channel partner relationships, like you want them to last, right. And yeah. You know, not be like a one-time promotion and then it doesn't convert. Right. So it's gotta be something that you got the right product market fit. Yes. It's gotta be the right relationship. Right. And you it's gotta be something that they want to promote that they feel is going to actually convert.
[00:18:55] They've only got so much space to promote or else they'd be promoting all of the time. Right. They're sort of limited on how many different things they can promote and it's gotta be something that they're going to be willing to stand behind or else they sort of lose that, um, ability to promote things in the future.
[00:19:12] So, uh, yeah, I mean, I, I, I understand the space well more from a podcasting perspective, right. But like, for, even for instance, on my show, I only promote. You know, mine's a sales audience. So it's, you know, typically we run ads for, you know, sales products and stuff like that. Sales, SAS, things like that. But it's stuff that I have firsthand experience with it.
[00:19:34] Me and my team use that I've used for a long time. You know, it's not just anybody who's willing to write a check. Right. Um, because it's your reputation and. You know, these influencers, these bloggers, these YouTubers, they have a reputation that that's important, a hundred percent agree with you. Cause we, we have run into a few and you can tell right away what you're getting into is they, they want to work with you, but it's a one-off email or a one-off blog post.
[00:20:00] And it's like, that's not going to do it. That's not a channel partner because it's gotta be a little more Omni channel, meaning. Maybe I mentioned on the podcast, maybe, you know, YouTube post a blog and then ongoing emails and social posts has got to be kind of a micro campaign. You can automate a little bit of that with softer, but you gotta be bought into the product.
[00:20:20] You've gotta be emotionally in it to really move the needle. Otherwise like somebody just, oh, we've got 15,000 customers and we'll feature you in our newsletter once. Okay. I've been here before. That's not going to do anything. Well, I think they also probably want to test it a bit right before they go all in.
[00:20:38] I mean, it's a little bit of that. Um, I think in some cases or, um, you know, they want to dip their toe just a little bit, like, ah, let's see what the response is to something like this. Um, awesome. Sean. Thanks so much for coming on. Um, where can people sign up for ticker and check it out and all that good stuff?
[00:20:59] Easy. Just ticker.com. It's spelled T Y K R ticker.com. Awesome. We'll drop the link in the show notes for you there. Uh, so you can check it out. If you enjoyed today's episode, please write us a review, share the show with your friends. It helps us out in a big way, and I'm also always listening for feedback.
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