In this interview, Jeffrey goes over what it is like to start a business, what struggles we have faced as a company, and what you can do to be a more successful manager.
He also discusses his “CEO Story” as to where he has gotten where he is today, from entering sales to cutting his teeth in management.
Jeffrey discusses his experience in the domain business from entering the industry. Specifically buying web domains, selling web domains, Co-Founding, Igloo.com, building the sales team at Uniregistry, then returning home to Co-Found, Saw.com.
Hear about how Saw.com is helping companies name their products, services, or their organization. How we have helped many companies find the best domain for their business when their first choice is either not available or not attainable. Jeff also touches on how we offer representation for Super Premium Domains like Ballet.com, Cool.com, and Ai.com.
Jeff also gets away from talking about the domain industry and speaks about a “CEO Nugget,” which is what quick tip can he can give to other CEOs or small business owners. That is called “The Money List.” A CEO’s day is full of distractions. It can quickly become full of busywork. The most important a CEO, manager, or salesperson can do is make a list of the most essential items that will make either yourself or the company the most money the fastest.
Additionally, Jeff also talks about leading through gratitude. Acknowledging that our salespeople, lead generation team, and vendors matter. Doing it in a way that is genuine, sincere, and motivating.
Have a listen it is only fifteen minutes long!
We would like to thank Gresh from CBNation.co for the great interview.
Gresham: This is Gresh from the I am CEO podcast and I have a very special guest on the show today. Jeffrey Gabriel of Saw.com. Jeffrey, it’s awesome having you on the show.
Jeff: Oh, thank you. Thanks for having me. I really appreciate it.
Gresham: No problem. Super excited to have you on. And before we jumped in, I want to read a little bit more about Jeffrey so you can hear about all the awesome things that he’s doing. Jeffrey is an expert domain brokerage and building and building team sales teams. Jeffrey most recently co-founded Saw.com, an industry-leading boutique broker brokerage that specializes in buying, selling, and appraising domains. Previously, Jeffrey was the vice president of sales at Uniregistry, recently purchased by Godaddy and one of the industry-leading domain marketplaces, domain registrars, and monetizing platforms on the net. While with Uniregistry, Jeffrey and his team quadrupled sales volume, delivered to the highest average sales price of any marketplace in the industry, and exponentially increased the number of closed transactions. Jeffrey has contributed to over $350 million in completed transactions while in the industry and its most notable sales, including the Guinness world record-breaking sale of sex.com for $13 million and the highest .org sale ever, poker.org, for $1 million. Jeffrey, are you ready for the IAM CEO community?
Jeff: Sure am. Absolutely. I’m excited to do it.
Gresham: Yeah, definitely excited to have you on.You’re doing some phenomenal things and we’re super excited to hear a little bit more on how you got started. So could you take us through your CEO story? We’ll let you get started with all the awesome things you’re working on.
Jeff: Oh boy. So when I first graduated from college, I was supposed to go to law school. That summer, I started selling loans. And this was back in 2002 when the first refinance boom was going on. And by the time the fall rolled around, I was doing very well selling loans and I decided I didn’t want to go to law school anymore. And that was very disappointing for my family. But I stuck with it for about five or six years.
While selling loans, one of the most valuable things I learned was that you need to understand your product, forwards, sideways, and backward in every direction possible. Additionally, it’s also very important to understand who your suppliers are and how they work, and surrounding yourself with the resources that are available to you. It’s so frustrating to go to a cell-phone store and the salesperson there knows nothing about the products that they’re selling. And they’re not even taking the time.
Here’s an example of what I did. Where I worked, there were a lot of loans that were not approved which were put into a pile to be locked up to be shredded. This is before a lot of privacy laws came into place. So they would kind of put them in a pile and they put them out in storage because they had to be saved for a certain amount of time and things weren’t quite digital yet. So I used to open them up and glance at the applications. And I’d say to myself, “Well, this person could get a loan. The salesperson didn’t realize that and they put it in the trash pile.” So I started taking those “trashed” loans back to my desk and calling those people. They started calling me the “trash man” or whatever. But then people got smart – they’d started asking me before they threw him in the piles. They’d be like, “Hey, you know, we could split this.” And that helped me and then I left there.
And I thought to myself, I always wanted to start my own business and do my own thing. So I was at a crossroads where I either wanted to start my own business selling loans or trying something else. And I decided to sell an HR staffing software, more like access to a recruiting site. And that was a company called job Fox. It was like Monster, where it’s free for users to upload their resume but it costs companies money to access the resumes for the job postings, wither a monthly or yearly fee. There were about 200 salespeople that work there from varying levels of sales experience and salesmanship. While there, I was able to get in the top five of the 200 salespeople. I did this by learning the business, understanding what the problems the buyers have and how to solve them, and being a human being and not a robot. Also, talking to customers honestly about their issues and then going to meet them face to face. I was in the New England region, so I’d bring them doughnuts or a case of beer or whatever it is to make myself more human and approachable. And then you can really start to extract the object, the true injections or the issues that they’re having and trying to find a solution to find your way in there, you know.
Gresham: Take us through a little bit more about Saw.com so we can figure out what we can find there. And what you feel is your secret sauce for getting yourself in a company that makes it unique.
Jeff: Absolutely. So I think our experience is one of the things that makes us totally unique as a business. As for me, I’ve been in the domain business for 10 years. You read off, you know, all these accomplishments that I’ve made. Well, I’m just one of three other salespeople whom I consider equal in skills and ability, if not better than myself. I already mentioned Amanda. I have another person, Brooke Hernandez, who I’ve worked with for eight years. During that time, she sold 10s of millions of dollars worth of domains. And then I work with another gentleman, Robert Wilson. He has sold 10s of millions of dollars worth of domains and is coming together. It’s a wealth of knowledge. I think the average amount of experience is immense.
And I think when clients come, you know, it’s because some of our competitors are more of a very quick and transactional style of selling. What we would like to focus on are two, well, three main parts of our business. The first main part of our business is that we work with many entrepreneurs, startups, or companies looking to launch new products or services. So companies will come to us, and this is one of the parts I absolutely love about my job is talking to somebody that is about to launch, and they don’t know the name of what their business should be. And they want particular keywords, like they want the word “blink” or something involved in some sort of action. And we’ll go out there and hear what their budget is, what their plans are, who they’re targeting. And then we can come back with a list of domains from the suppliers that we work with and prices where we can end up on a pricing scale. Sometimes we even work with sellers who allow the buyer to pay over a period of five years. So that’s really exciting. And my co-founder, Amanda, for example, she worked with the founder of the jet which was bought by Walmart. Jet was not the original brand, they wanted something else for their domain but they couldn’t come to an agreement with the owner of jet.com. So that was a number two choice that they ended up liking more than their first. And that’s an exciting thing to see. It’s especially exciting when you see one of these companies on TV> Or your friend will say, “Have you heard of Jet? I really like their website.” And I’ll say, “Yeah, I think I’ve heard of them.” So there are countless situations like that that people can truly understand. This week, we have one selling that’s going to be a dog food company. It’s a subscription-based dog food company that delivers on a weekly basis or a monthly basis food for your dog. It’s kind of like Chewy, but it’s a little more upper class, it’s higher-end dog food. So that’s an exciting part of the job.
The second part of the opportunity we have is we take super premium domains. Right now, we’re working with belay, calm, cool, calm, ai.com. And we’re taking those to market. We’re calling companies and letting them know that those domains are available for sale and talking about why they’re valuable, what they can do for their business, and how they can get them and how they can make offers to make it happen.
And the third major part of our business is that we represent domain investors that own large portfolios. We have about almost 50,000 domain names that are for sale pointed at our website right now with our for-sale landers on them saying that the domains are for sale. We negotiate and represent the investors in the process. We talk to buyers about their budgets, we help them understand why the domain is priced, and what it’s priced for. We provide comparable sales, other metrics to help them understand why. And I think that’s one of the things that I’ve realized is a lot of people don’t know why domains have such price tags and why the price the way they are, and then we can talk about ways that we can make it work for their business because people look at it as this huge expense. It’s all about getting them to understand that it’s an investment. They’re investing in their business. They’re investing in the marketing of their business. They’re Investing to make their brand memorable and sticky so that customers come back. And that’s an important thing. If you start playing with something like bass-boston-ball.com, that’s a terrible domain name. If you expect people to type it in and come back to you and tell their friends about it, no one’s gonna remember that, especially if you buy airtime on the radio. If you buy other advertising spots, people are just going to type in whatever that service is. And now you’re competing like you’re a brand new business again, and let’s face it, repeat business is the best business you can get.
But those are the three main silos of business that we have. We’re working on another one as we speak, but I can’t really tell you more about it. Maybe for our second interview, I can get into that.
Gresham: Yeah, I’m definitely looking forward to it. I want to switch gears a little bit. And I want to ask you about something I call a CEO hack. So this could be like an app or book or a habit that you have, but what’s something that makes you more effective and efficient?
Jeff: It’s actually something very basic. And I tell every salesperson this on the planet; I call it my “money list.” Every night, you write down the things that you need to do the next day that are probably going to make the most money or be the most effective for the business the fastest. It’s probably been in a lot of sales books, but I just kind of found it myself. And every night, it helps me sleep.
Gresham: Absolutely love that. And so, now I want to ask you for what I call a CEO nugget. So this could be a word of wisdom or a piece of advice. It could be around domains and registration and branding. Or it might be something you would tell yourself if you were to happen to a time machine.
Jeff: I think it’s a couple of things. I think the nugget is happiness and being happy with your family. I think in my younger years, and then when things are coming my way. Now I look at and say, “Wow, if I was 10 years younger, I would certainly act a lot differently about this.” One of the things that I think is really important is having gratitude for the people in your life, your family, and the people that you work with. The salespeople and the support staff of the developers, and the lead generation people that help us, and the writers that help us. Additionally, our suppliers and others that I work with, I try to lead through gratitude. I want to make them realize that what they’re doing is important, and it’s important to me in a way that is genuin., I don’t like ingenuine compliments and I don’t give them to people. I give compliments when they’re due when they do a great job. When someone’s struggling or having a hard time with it, instead of telling them they suck or that they’re not good at something, you offer help. And you let them know that you understand that you know the hardship that they’re facing and the troubles they’re facing.
Gresham: Absolutely. And so now I want to ask you my absolute favorite question, which is the definition of what it means to be a CEO? And we’re hoping to have different clinical CEOs on this show. So Jeff, what does being a CEO mean to you?
Jeff: That’s a really good question. I was actually thinking about that because I know you brought up that question before the interview. And I think that being a CEO, and while I was VP at Uniregistry, is I feel that being in a leadership position means responsibility.
Gresham: Jeff, truly appreciate that definition. And I appreciate your time even more. What I wanted to do is pass you the mic so to speak, just to see if there’s anything additional you can let our readers and listeners know, and of course, how best they can get a hold of you to find out about everything awesome you and your team are doing.
Jeff: The best way to get a hold of me is to email firstname.lastname@example.org, visit saw.com and call our phone number. But if you outline what you saw here, that’s fine. I’m happy to answer any questions. If I’m not available, you have one of our salespeople do it too. We look forward to hearing from you.
Gresham: Awesome. Well, thank you so much, Jeff, we will have the links and information in the show notes so that everybody can follow up with you. And we truly appreciate that that reminder as well, too, is just making sure that we understand exactly what we’re doing when we’re starting a business and if you aren’t really passionate about it, all of the things behind the scenes that you don’t see when you see a business, sometimes I can get up with you if you’re doing it for the wrong reason. So I appreciate you for doing it for the right reason and reminding us as well. I hope you have a great rest of the day.