Jeffrey M. Gabriel is an expert at domain brokerage and building sales teams. Jeffrey most recently co-founded Saw.com, an industry-leading boutique brokerage that specializes in acquiring, selling, and appraising domains. Previously, Jeffrey was the Vice President of Sales at Uniregistry (recently purchased by Godaddy), one of the industry-leading domain marketplaces, domain registrar, and monetization platform on the net.
In his seven years with Uniregistry, Jeffrey and his team quadrupled sales dollar volume, delivered the highest average sale price of any marketplace in the industry, and exponentially increased the number of closed transactions. This has been accomplished by constant education and refinement of the sales process.
Mike: The company, Saw.com, is currently less than a year old. Tell about the launch and the process to get things off the ground. What is the effort for starting such an endeavor?
Jeff: I have never worked so hard, but also never had an opportunity that is so rewarding. Starting this business was a unique situation for myself and my family. Not only did I start a new business, but we moved back from the Cayman Islands after being there for seven years. Having to find a place to live, and getting myself and my family acclimated was a large task as well.
Launching any business is a major endeavor. Someone who is coming from a large business like I did where there was many resources, and support (technological, financial, and peoplepower wise) to just yourself and your cofounder you realize there are a lot of small details you need to spend your time working on. Those can be from designing your website, choosing and mapping out a CRM, creating contracts, finding designers, recruiting top talent, marketing, finances and most importantly where to focus your time to create revenue. There are a lot of opportunities for “Busy Work” which is focusing energy working on opportunities, initiatives or vendors that will not bring in the revenue you need to meet the projections one sets for themselves. Looking back at it we had some great wins, made a few mistakes, and learned a lot of lessons. I am very proud of all of the advancements we have made since our launch in December of 2019.
Mike: What differentiates Saw.com from other brokers? What makes you unique or the brokerage firm to hire when the need arises?
Jeff: Our team is four salespeople including myself. Per salesperson we have some of the most experience in the industry.
My specialty is creating sales processes that get the most out of every opportunity. That was demonstrated by over 350M in sales during my tenure at Uniregistry. When founding Saw.com I was given a clean slate to learn from our previous shortcomings and build the perfect system for portfolio holders to maximize their opportunities that are presented to us, and create opportunities for our acquisition and or brokerage clients. Most importantly focus our energy in the right places. Match that with a highly experienced hungry sales team you have a formula that works. It is already proving some great results.
Amanda Waltz, her specialty has been working with large corporates, selling super premium blockbuster domains, as well as acquisitions. We are working with many organizations privately, confidentially and transparently through the process.
Mike: Saw.com fits the definition of “Premium Domain” any way you slice it. Three letters. A generic word. Descriptive. A dot com. What made this the right chose to be home for the company?
Jeff: Our advice to our clients is a short, easy to spell, easy to remember domain is one of the most important parts of owning a business. We felt that taking our own advice should prove that.
Mike: You bring with you almost seven years at Uniregistry as VP of Sales, and two years as President at Igloo. How did that position you to co-found Saw.com?
Jeff: Both instances gave me the opportunity to grow a small business from almost scratch and turn it into an industry leading brand. Both required creating sales processes, relationships and opportunities that allowed us to grow. At Uniregistry there was four salespeople on the team when I joined, and when I left there was close to forty, and with it so did sales. At both of those organizations I was fortunate enough to (with other team members) learn the formula for success from trial and error. Then implement it and continue growing. In just a few months we have grown to eight people who are working for us in different capacities, and we are still looking for more to join. Our revenues reflect that. March was our best month transactions wise, dollar volume wise, and revenues. April is looking favorable as well despite what is going on in the world.
Mike: How did you get involved in the domain name industry to begin with?
Jeff: I was an Outside Sales Representative at a startup job-board. A company similar Monster.com, or Careerbuilder. In 2009 when the market crashed, the company I worked for lost their funding, and I with it lost my position working there. I did what I did best, started calling companies to see if they were hiring. Sedo gave me an opportunity to be a Domain Broker. I grabbed it!
Mike: You’ve held many positions and dealt with millions of dollars in domain names. Other than being a broker or leading your own brokerage company, what other types of positions exist in the domain name industry?
Jeff: When I left Uniregistry and decided to start a brokerage, I knew that it takes a long time to build a pipeline as a Domain Broker. I used my experience to do some sales consulting to some of the GTLDs in the industry. That really opened my eyes to how much more there is than being a Domain Broker. Instead of listing all of the many opportunities there are, if someone is interested I highly, highly (I will say it again) highly suggest you go to ICANN. When you are there make sure to leave your comfort zone and meet as many people as possible. It is a great place to learn about the investor side of the business, brokerage side, corporate side, and the regulation side of the business. It is really interesting to speak to people in areas you do not even know existed. Once you do and start connecting the dots one will see that this industry has opportunities and possibilities for every skill set imaginable.
Mike: Do you have a story about acquiring or selling any great domain names that you can share?
Jeff: In March, we completed an excellent acquisition opportunity for Yac.com. Brooke Hernandez, one of our Domain Brokers, started by making contact with the decision-makers where others fell short. Then used her years of experience to educate the buyer on the values of domains and present a realistic offer. While doing so, educated the seller to have reasonable, fair market expectations for their valuable asset. After a lengthy negotiation, which included price and other contract terms, she was able to deliver the perfect domain at just the right time for a fantastic product that can only be compared to a mixture of Slack and Zoom.
Mike: Are you a reader? If so, is there any one book you would recommend to domainers or entrepreneurs that might be reading this interview?
Jeff: During a very interesting evening in NYC I had the pleasure to go to a hockey game with the founder of Ancestry.com, the President of the NJ Devils and Chester Elton the author of, “Leading with Gratitude.” It is a new book, but I wish I had this earlier in my career. The title speaks for itself. During that hockey game I was lucky enough to hear about the book. Chester told me that the number one reason people leave their jobs in the United States is they do not feel appreciated. Appreciation/Gratitude is just as important as compensation. There are many eye-opening portions of this book that I came across, but here is one quote I will leave you with:
“Developing genuine gratitude involves carefully observing what employees are doing, walking in their shoes, developing greater empathy and sincerely trying to understand the challenges they face. It is about seeing good thigs happening then expressing appreciation for the right behaviors. On the flip side, manages who lack gratitude suffer, first and foremost, from a problem of cognition – a failure to perceive how hard their people are trying to do good work – and, if they are encountering problems what they are. These ungrateful leaders suffer from information deficit. When we ask them why they are not getting better results they generally have a hard time answering. “