In this ongoing series, we ask executives, entrepreneurs and business leaders about mistakes that
have shaped their business philosophy.

Co-owner, goBRANDgo!


Founded in 2010, goBRANDgo! is a St. Louis-based marketing firm that develops advertising, branding, sales tactics and strategies with its partner companies. Its services include brand management, content development, web development and coaching. Brandon Dempsey is also a public speaker and the author of “Shut Up and Go!: A Millennial’s Guide to Figuring Out What You Want and How to Get It.”

The Mistake:

Not sticking to the company’s detailed sales process.

We developed a long time ago a sales process that has 13 steps. And, in that process, we identified three different meetings we needed to take with all clients to ensure that they saw the value in what we were providing and knew what all we could provide. So, in the first meeting, we would talk about what it is they need. Second meeting, we’d do a presentation and say, “Hey, here’s what we heard you need and here are our ideas to help you. And here are an additional three or four ideas.” In the third meeting, we gave them a proposal and walked them through it.

As we implemented the process, it was working so well that I got kind of cocky with clients who got so excited in the first meeting that they asked, “Well, what will this cost?” I didn’t follow the process. I just said, “If you are willing to pay this much, how about if we did this, this and this?”

They signed on the dotted line and we did the work. But what I realized later is that I actually lost what probably could have been a double- or triple-sized sale because I closed on the initial need without giving them the full assessment. We should have come back to them and said, “Here are all the things we could really do for you.”

I allowed myself to be pigeonholed into just being a specific type of provider. An example would be a client who came to us for a website and I quoted them a price on the spot and sold them when, in reality, I could have closed on a website, content writing, video and ongoing marketing and strategy work.

I allowed myself to be pigeonholed into just being a specific type of provider.

The Lesson:

Now, I take the time to make sure we stick to our process when we’re talking to prospects and go through all the steps to make sure that they know what we do and we fully understand what it is they’re after. That ensures that we both maximize the sale and they get the best product from us.

We have a lot of processes in our company now and we are seriously focused on sticking to them. We do not let anything take us off our processes because we find that we get burned every time we step off our processes. Something gets skipped or a deadline gets missed and the client gets upset, all because we didn’t stick to a process.

One example would be when we design a sales flyer. In the past, we would first talk about something, then design it. But a key stakeholder wouldn’t be there. So, once it was designed, they’d say, “Well, I don’t like it. Start over.” Then we’d go through 15 different revisions, which burns up a lot of time. Or, we’d not talk to a key stakeholder at all, get it printed and it would show up on the president’s desk and he would say, “I don’t like this. We’re not giving this to any of our clients. Start over.”

So it’s about really involving those key decision-makers early on to make sure we don’t miss the mark. It’s getting a series of small yeses as opposed to getting a big no that costs a lot to redo. It ensures a consistent client experience.

Follow Dempsey on Twitter at @BrandonDempsey and the company at @goBRANDgo.

Photo courtesy of Brandon Dempsey.

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