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Essential sales skills for CEOs webinar

Essential sales skills for CEOs webinar

If you're a CEO or founder and want to get a quick introduction to essential sales skills for your startup, this webinar is a good place to start. 34 minutes (or 17 minutes if you watch at double speed) and you'll know the most important fundamentals of sales that truly matter.


Transcript below.

Introduction

Welcome to Essential Sales Skills for CEOs. I'm super excited about this group today, amazing founders and CEOs in the session. We're going to go through the webinar and talk about all the ways that you need to think about sales and the basic sales skills that you have to have if you're a CEO and a founder and somebody who's running a business. And then also how you need to think about all the people in your day-to-day job that you're selling to, and what you're selling them in the first place. So we're going to really go deep in sales focused on the CEO level.

First, let me share a little bit of background. So I've been a founder and CEO my entire life since I dropped out of high school when I was 17, 18. So I'm completely, you know, unqualified for any kind of job. I'm totally unemployable, but I've had at least the title of CEO for a very long time. And I've been selling to CEOs for a very long time.

ElasticSales

The latest business that's probably most relevant to you guys is a company that we started called “ElasticSales”. With ElasticSales we helped over 200 venture backed startups in Silicon Valley scale their sales efforts. So we coach CEOs and founders in sales. We help them develop a sales process. We help to go out and sell to other businesses mainly in the B2B space. And the majority of those sales were actually to core decision makers, so CXO levels, many, many times to the CEO level. And we, as ElasticSales, we always sold to the CEO, the final decision maker in basically utilizing ElasticSales sales force to outsource sales and to get sales consulting and to scale their sales efforts.

Close sales software

We've worked with many, many companies in developing their sales process and scaling that. And in the process, we built a tool. At first we called it our internal “secret sauce” called “Close” that our sales people and our sales teams used in order to scale all these sales campaigns and outcompete their competitors. And you know, after a year of holding that piece of software close to our chest and calling it our “secret sauce” and our “secret unfair competitive advantage,” finally we gave in to all the demands from the outside market. We released Close, and it's been a tremendous success. Thousands and thousands of companies and sales people, people around the world, are closing more deals and making more sales using our piece of software.

So sales is really near and dear to our heart. It's in our DNA. It's the core thing that drives us and drives our business. And we're talking to CEOs and founders every single week, helping them with their sales strategies, helping them scale their sales forces and overcome their sales challenges.

Pitchology 101

All right, let's get right to it. So let's start off with Pitchology 101, right, the basics of pitching, the basics of sales. First of all, you need to understand that sales is nothing else than results-driven communication.

It's all about communicating with other people. It doesn't matter if it's in the context of a corporation or an individual buyer. You're always communicating with other human beings. And the goal of the communication is to help them make a decision, to drive a transaction, to drive a result, you know, yes or no. But you are in the results driven communication business.

And when you're managing teams as well as when you're selling yourself, you need to understand and separate communication for communication's sake versus communication for result's sake, right? So when you're in sales mode, and as CEO, you should always be in sales mode. It doesn't matter if you talk to your team to build something, if you talk to the press, if you talk to, you know, co-founders, employees, investors, you're always in sales mode, and talking is not selling. You know, you really need to focus on speaking in a way and communicating in a way that's actually going to drive a result and that has a result at the end of it as the end goal and the core driver of it versus just communicating for the sake of hearing yourself speak. Right?

And that's where sales is the closest to sports, in a way, and why a lot of people that are great at sales are actually people that are very competitive and might have had a background and history in sports because in sales you have a scoreboard. It's not just like, “Oh, I communicated great today, and I think I made some really amazing points.” Nobody gives a shit. Like, “I played really well today, but I didn't score anything.” Nobody gives a shit, right? The only thing that matters is how much, how many results did you drive, how many, you know, scores did you make if you were on the court, if you played basketball, whatever the competitive sport is; and in sales how many deals did you close? Nothing else matters.

And the other thing about that is it doesn't matter what the results were that you drove yesterday. You could be the best of the best, the best of all time. You could have been like Michael Jordan at his prime. When he went on the court for a new game, the score as zero, zero. Nobody said, “Well, this is Michael Jordan. He starts off with, you know, 30 points ahead because he's already worked his ass off for the last couple of years and he's the best of all time.” Nobody gives a shit.

The score he starts is zero. It doesn't matter what your results were last week. You have to perform again. You have to constantly drive results. And that's what it's all about. And as a CEO, you should only communicate to actually drive a result. No other communication should be part of your day-to-day life and the day-to-day where you do things and communicate things.

Handling rejection and failure

Because sales is a result driven activity, you know, you're never going to always just get wins. Not every throw is actually going to score. So you're more likely going to get more noes than yeses. You're going to have more failures than successes. If you opted to actually drive a result and get to a yes or no transaction one way or another, you're going to have to live with pain and rejection and failure. So you got to get used to that. And in sales, it's all about figuring out and training your own tolerance for pain and training your own tolerance for rejection. Right?

Most people design their lives around rejection. They design their lives around creating safe spaces where they're going to have to face as little rejection as humanly possible. When you're a CEO and you're selling, you need to get over yourself, which a lot of CEOs – a lot of CEOs have this problem that because they have this “title” for whatever the fuck that's worth, because they have that title, that title is seen as something that's prestigious, they only want to go out and sell when they know they're going to succeed. They don't want to fail in front of their team and staff. They don't want to look stupid. So they always kind of pick and choose what deals and what interaction they should get involved with only when they feel really, really, really confident that they can step in as the CEO and fucking drive the win and make this a big success and close the deal or whatever it is.

You have to get over yourself. You know, if you're only winning as CEO when you're interacting in sales conversations, you're not selling enough. If you're only winning, you're not taking enough risk. You need to fail. You need to show your entire team, organization, the public that it's okay to fail. It's okay to lose when you're playing to win. It's fine. As long as the scoreboard all in all has you ahead, you're fine. It doesn't matter how many times you took a swing, or throw and didn't hit the basket. So it's all about actually figuring out a way to tolerate and manage your emotional household and be okay with rejection. If you're not getting noes, if you're not getting rejected as CEO, you're not selling enough, you're not taking enough risk in sales. You need to be out there and figure out a way to manage your own emotional household and manage the way that rejection will be part of your daily life, hopefully.

Selling = Asking the right questions

Right now a lot of people and a lot of especially inexperienced CEOs – there are two camps: inexperienced CEOs when it comes to sales, people that maybe are very technical or don't have like a long background in sales; and also the other camp, people that love themselves talking, like super outgoing, super gregarious kind of personalities that think talking equates to selling – these two groups of CEOs think that selling is all about hearing yourself speak, selling is all about talking, selling is all about stealing the show and walking to a room and like babbling on forever and, you know, whoever has the most percentage of talk time in a conversation won. Nothing could be further from the truth, right?

In sales, the person who asks leads the conversation. Not in sales, in life, the person who asks the questions is leading the conversation, is focusing and directing and shepherding the conversation IN the direction you want to. You can only sell if you have understanding. You can only have understanding if you ask questions and you actively listen. Sales is all about first qualifying the prospect, qualifying the opportunity before you actually go out there to sell.

Brute force selling sucks

Don't throw darts in the dark. Too many people do that. You come into a conversation, you think, “Oh, this could be a potential buyer for a product so let me go on and tell that person everything there is to know about our business, and I'm going to throw as many darts in the dark,” darts representing value propositions, features, functionalities, fun facts. “I'm going to keep on saying, 'Well, our product is this and it does that and we have this and we have that.' I'm going to just throw as many things as possible, and something will surely hit.” Right? That's kind of the most unelegant, brute force, stupid way of selling. And what's going to happen as a results is the person will stop listening to you because you're like this overbearing person that is so self-involved and only in it for yourself. And it's impossible to listen to somebody and actually remember the 25th value proposition of that product. nobody is capable of doing that. And we've all been in these kind of very counterproductive conversations.

You can't just come into a conversation and sell. You come into a conversation to first get to learn and get to understand who it is that you're conversing with, who it is you're communicating with.

  • What are their needs?
  • What are they use cases?
  • What are their goals and challenges and obstacles?
  • Who is this person that I'm selling to and what do they need?

And once you actually get to understanding, not just surface level understanding but deep, real understanding of somebody's situation, then and only then do you have the permission to sell. And then and only then do you have the ammunition to sell because you have real targets.

You know, oh, this person really, really cares about X, Y, Z and I know why they care about it and I know the context, the environment in which they care about this. I really have a deep understanding so when I now start speaking to pitch them on our product, both do I have the authenticity that I believe our product really solves their problem; but I also a have clarity of what I should focus on. Instead of telling them everything our product can do, I'm going to tell them what our product can do that's going to help them and that I know is a priority for them.

So you always want to qualify first before you actually start selling anything. You always want to ask questions before you start assuming you know who they are, what they need and start pitching them on those.

And when you ask questions, make sure that you don't just ask them so it gives you a permission to pitch. Ask them to really understand them. Ask them with the real curiosity and an open mind and actively listen to what they say, the content of their words as well as the context, how they say it. Are they congruent? what's the environment like in which they are interacting and saying these things? Pay attention to not just what they say but how they say it and really drive understanding and qualify them. Yes, they are actually a really good fit for what we do and I understand what they need and why they need it, and I'm going to go and pitch them really effectively, throw in one dart into the target and hitting on the first attempt.

Building trust

So the other thing that you need to know is that trust comes before any transaction, trust before transaction. Nobody buys anything if they don't believe everything you say, right?

So here's an example. If your phone rings after this webinar, and you pick it up and it's an unknown number, and the other person on the other line goes, “Hey, John. This is Steve. I'm calling from company X, Y and Z. I want to tell you you've won $1 million. Isn't this exciting?”

Are you going to get excited? Are you going to jump up and down from your desk, high-fiving your employees thinking you've just won $1 million? No! Chances are you're going to think about hanging up. You're going to say, “No, no. Not interested,” and you're going to hang up. Why?

Isn't the content of the call amazing? Isn't hearing and learning that you just won $1 million incredible value? Well, the problem is that you have zero trust. The problem is that you believe nothing that was just said. And the more amazing it is, the less you trust it.

It's not only about what you say, it's how you say it and who says it. Credibility and trust before any kind of transaction. You need to establish some level of trust before people can actually buy from you.

You need to understand that trust is being developed on three core levels:

  1. on the company level,
  2. the product level,
  3. and the personal level.

And if you can only establish trust at one level, do it on the personal level because that's the most vivid, active relationship, is you and the person you're selling versus – your product doesn't have a relationship with the person you're selling. Your company, which is this conceptual construct of multiple people and things. A company won't have a relationship. It always comes down to people.

So first, people have to trust you. Then you need to build some trust in your product, whether you're actually going to deliver what you promised.

And you also want to create some trust around your company, right? So why is this company going to be around? Why is this company known for keeping their promises, or fixing their issues. or keeping their words? Why should I believe this company is going to be around for a while? So interacting and getting into a relationship with them is not a waste of time that's going to be worthless in a few months because they're going to be out of business. So you need to build trust and tell people why they should trust your company.

You need to build trust around your product. Why will your product deliver? Why should people trust your product?

And most importantly you need to create trust around you as a person. Why should I want to be business with you? Why should I believe anything you say?

Explicit vs. implicit

And you can do that explicitly and implicitly. And implicit is always better. Like you can always tell them about things that will make them think, “Oh, this person is trustworthy,” versus saying outright the words, “You should trust me.” Right? I'm always distrustful. The first thing I think when somebody is like, “You should really trust me,” is, “Oh, my God. I will never trust this person.” That's the most obvious thing to think.

So you want to be able to say things like, “Hey, here are the five amazing companies that have bought our product and here's the value they're getting and here's what they're saying about us. Hey, here's my background, here's my personal story, here's the companies that I've built, that I've led as a CEO and the results these companies drove and the legacy I've led them to become. Here's my background and story. Here's where I'm coming from. Here's where I am today. Here's where I'm going next.”

And you want to speak in a way that is authentic so people feel the congruency of your words so every word actually hits and people start believing you and trusting you. And a big benefit that you have as a CEO of a company is that the title alone comes with a lot of trust, right? The title CEO alone comes with a massive bag of goodies, and one of them is trust. People immediately assume you're important. People immediately assume they can trust you a lot more than your sales people or anybody else in your organization. So if you come into that relationship with all these like, you're already coming into this relationship with a lot more trust than normally people would have. And you want to make sure you're taking advantage of that.

Sell benefits (not features)

Here's a big one about sales. You always – no matter what you do, product, service, I don't care what it is that you're selling – you always sell value. Nobody cares about your features. Nobody cares about how you've built what you've built, the functionality, the features, the buttons, the things. Nobody cares about the things that you're involved with all day long.

All people care about is what is in it for me. What have you done for me lately? What is this going to do for me, for my life?  How is this solving my problems? How is this making my life better? How is this making me more money or saving me money? Like why should I care?

And you have to focus on talking about value versus features. You have to talk about benefits versus functionality. And we all, we all forget this. It doesn't matter how amazing you are as a CEO. It doesn't matter how professional you are as a salesperson. Sooner or later you'll get so self-involved with your product, you're so focused on the features and functionalities and the bolts and bits and little pieces of how everything works that you're going to start talking about these things a lot more than you should be translating these things into value.

It doesn't matter that you're product has X, Y, and Z functionalities. The question is what kind of value does that drive to the other person and why should they care? Is this going to make them more money or save them time? Is this going to make them look good in front of their boss? Or, is this going to save them embarrassment? What is the core value that you could deliver with your product? Only talk about that.

Talk about the value you create. And then later one, as a follow up, you can talk about the vehicle that delivers that value, which in technical products, might be the features and functionalities of your product and the technical background. But the features and functionalities are always the deliverers of value. What people really care first and foremost about is what's in it for me? What is going to be the value of what you're trying to sell me for my life, right? Always sell value. Always do value-based sales. Never do features, functionality-based sales.

Managing objections

The next basic thing you need to know, understand, and master if you're a CEO in sales is the art of managing objections. There is no such thing as no objection sales. If you can pitch somebody, and they just say, “Yes,” and they buy – the most scary prospects for me are the ones that buy without objections. The most scary people that I try to hire for my company are the ones that want to start immediately without having any critical questions. The most scary potential investors are the ones that are immediately talk about investing without having any challenging objections.

Objections mean somebody is real. Objections mean somebody is trying to qualify ifhis is a good fit. Objections mean somebody operates in the real world with real constraints. I like these people. These people actually are the reason I exist. If people just bought left and right and had no objections, challenges and critical questions to ask, there would be no need to do sales anyway. Everybody would just buy. You wouldn't have to sell anything ever.

So objections are a good thing. You shouldn't hide or run from them or be annoyed or inconvenienced by them. You need to learn to manage them, anticipate and then manage. Hard preparation, easy fight.

Be prepared

So here's what you need to do. You should never compute an answer to an objection on the fly and in real time. What that means is if you're selling it doesn't to employees, to investors, to the press, to customers, you're going to get similar questions more often than not. 80% of the time, people want to have very similar objections and questions. There's going to be the, “We don't have any time. This is too expensive, what about security risks?”

Like there's going to be a set of questions, five, ten, 15, 20 questions that you hear again and again and again and again and again. And what surprises me is that people are surprised of hearing these things again and again and again. You know what? The more they hear them, the more annoyed they are that they have to deal with them. How stupid is that?

How about preparing for them and being excited when somebody has that objection because you're prepared to answer it effectively,and you know how to actually answer it in a way that drives your agenda forward and helps them, and helps you move the deal forward.

So what you need to do is once you know what the top five, ten, 15 objections are that you get all the time, sit down, you write these in a piece of paper or a document and you think about an answer that's effective, that only needs one or two sentences, no paragraph, no pages. You want to answer any objection as concise and precise as possible, one or two sentences.

You know what the secret is? It's not even that much about like how amazing is the answer. It's even more about – it's not so much how you answer it, or what you say when answer,but how you're answering it. Whenever you're able to

  • answer an objection in one or two sentences, and
  • keep eye contact, and
  • keep your level of energy and focus and clarity,

what it does is it doesn't just communicate the content of what you're saying, it also – the underlying message to the other party is, “Wow, this guy seems to not be rattled at all by this objection. This person seems to know exactly how to deal with it. This person seems to have a very high a level of clarity on how to manage that objection.”

The underlying message?

You're an expert. You know what you're doing, you've done it before.

That makes people comfortable, and comfort is - more than anything else - what people are looking for when they're bringing up objections. They don't just want to hear you answer and believe it. They want to feel like you are a pro, you've dealt with this before, they're in good hands.

So hard preparation, easy fight, you learn how to embrace objections, manage them, and use them as a tool to sell more effectively.

Ask for the close

All right. Now the last of the sales basics for CEOs is the most surprising one. Duh, you have to ask for the close. Every conversation, every communication with somebody, needs to end with an ask for a close. Wow, Steli, you know, this is amazing. I'm so glad I enjoyed this webinar. I've never heard of this before. This is such a groundbreaking concept. Right? This sounds like the most stupid, obvious thing to say, but how is it that every single day I hear sales calls, I participate in sales conversations, where the end is the weakest part of the conversation and the CEO is not going for it? Again, looping that back to the fear of rejection, because they're afraid of hearing a no instead of embracing it.

Ask for the close:

  • Hey, are we in business yet?
  • Hey, what will it take for you and us to get into business?
  • Hey, what would it take for you, now that we've figured out that this is a good fit for you, now that it seems like we're really aligned and I was able to answer all your critical questions to your satisfaction hopefully, I'm curious, what stands in the way of us getting into business?
  • What needs to happen for you to become a customer of our solution?
  • What needs to happen for you to decide to join our team?

Like whatever it is, go for the close. And you know what? More often than not, you're going to get a no, or not yet. That's awesome. Embrace it. Anticipate it. It's a good thing.

What's the most powerful thing you can do when somebody tells you no?

Don't be rattled by it. Keep your smile. Keep your energy and composure. Show the other person that that doesn't affect you, that you anticipated that, and that it's fine for them to not quite be there yet now, but you're going to help them get there. Right?

That's when you come into the conversation, the sales conversation, from a point of friendly strength. Right? You're very friendly to them, but you're also, there's an underlying strength, like a parent interacting with a child that's really upset about something, or throws a tantrum, is coming from a place of knowing, showing the other party, “You know what? I've dealt with this situation before. I know you're not quite there yet. And that's okay. I'm going to help you and guide you through the process until you feel comfortable to make a buying decision.”

Nothing is more powerful than being okay with somebody saying no, and still keeping the conversation moving forward and focusing on servicing them into giving them everything they need to buy your product.

But you have to ask for the close to get the no. You have to ask for the close to get a close. You have to ask for the close to get to a result, a yes or no. You have to make a throw to make a point. You have to take a chance.

Too many times at the end of a conversation, a CEO or a salesperson will not actually really go for it. They will go, “Well, this was a great conversation. I'm really happy about it. Well, let's stay in touch and see how this is going to develop. And then let us know if you have any more questions, and we would love for you guys to buy our product. All right, bye.” Boom. What kind of a shitty close is this?

How about, “Hey, how was this call? Are you happy with all the answers? Are you ready to get in business with us?” Right? “Are you ready to go? Are you ready to rock and roll?”

Ask people for the close to get to a result. Yes or no doesn't matter. A no could be a not yet.

Even if it's a definite no, and there's a real good reason for why they'll never buy your product, you better want to know about it right now than wait for it for weeks. “Oh, are they going to buy or not? I don't know. We're still looking into the account every day and hoping they're going to upgrade or purchase themselves.” That's weak sauce, right? You have to go for it and ask for the close every single time.

The close might be, “Buy our product.” The close might be, “Let's schedule that next meeting.” The close might be, “Introduce me to somebody important.” But you have to ask for it. You can't get what you want if you don't ask for it. Right?

Following up

All right. So let's go to the next one. Fortune is in the follow up, and that's really the last step of the Pitchology 101, the Hustling 101, Sales 101 for CEOs, is you know, you know you have to deal with rejection. You have to go out there and pitch people and communicate in a result driven way. You have to qualify them and ask lots of questions to have a real understanding. You have to actually sell in a value focused way. You have to manage objections, and then you have to go for the close. And you know, more often than not, the transaction will not end until you have to do a little bit of follow up. And follow up is really where the fortune is. Follow up is where winning actually happens because nine out of ten times, everybody else will not follow up when a deal falls through.

So here's what happens. You have a sales conversation, you have a meeting, you have a recruiting call, you have an investor meeting or whatever it is, and it goes really well. And then they say, “Hey, let's schedule another call to talk some more,” and then send them an email to schedule the call and crickets, silence. You don't hear from them back.

So you send another email. You don't hear from them back. You wait a little longer, you send another email. You don't hear back. You call, you leave a voice mail. You don't hear back.

At that point, you start assuming, “I've been rejected. They hate me. They probably think I'm horrible and stupid. Oh, my God, I'm going to feel really shitty about this. I don't want to be meeting and keep getting rejected by their silence. So I'm just going to stop and call this a 'loss.'” It's the stupidest idea and the stupidest strategy you could ever apply.

When you have been in a positive interaction with somebody and they fall off the track and they don't communicate with you, you know how many times you should follow up?

Indefinitely! Forever.

You should never stop following up until you get to a result. Again, looping back, result driven communication. Silence is not a result. A no is a result. A yes is a result. But silence isn't.

So here's my simple philosophy. I always follow up indefinitely. I keep following up forever until I hear back. When somebody tells me, “Hey, fuck off dude. I really don't want to hear anything about this anymore,” I'll stop. I totally will stop. But until I hear back, I will never ever stop following up.

You know how many deals we closed, how many investors we got, how many things we've moved forward just by being the only ones that kept following up? A lot more times than you could ever imagine.

I'll give you a quick example, a story that I tell oftentimes. An investor, somebody that's so famous, all of you have used his product, the product that he developed and made billions with I can say with certitude, we got a warm introduction to that investor. Once we were fund raising, that guy replies and says, “Yes, I'm interested. I want to meet up with you guys.” We get all excited, high-five each other. We send an email with some times and dates to meet. Silence. We send another email, silence. We send another email, silence.

You know how many follow ups it took to hear back from him? 48 fucking follow ups, 48 follow ups, where he was totally silent. You know what, when we follow up, we weren't needy about it. I was referring back to the original emails. “Hey, you said 'yes'. What's up? I've followed up with you 12 times. That's not cool. Really, it would be – I really appreciate it if you” – like no!

Every single email, I was clear and to the point, short, precise and concise:

“Hey, another beautiful day in paradise. Here's a little tidbit of good news about our company. How about a quick call on Tuesday or Thursday at this or this time?”

I send another follow up:

“Hey, how about we should try to meet on Wednesday or Saturday.” Nothing.

Another follow up: “Hey, you know, here's another cool news. We just hit this milestone. Would it be possible to meet this week, either this time or that time?”

I just kept following up, professional, clear cut, one or two sentences, precise. After 48 follow ups, the guy replies and says, “Oh, my God. I'm so glad you kept following up. I'm so sorry. I suck. We had this big crisis. I had to fly around the world. I had to do this and that. Yes, can you come tomorrow to my office at 11 a.m.” We went there. We closed the deal. We got the investment.

That's how you win. Follow up when nobody else is following up, because everybody feels rejected and needy and doesn't want to be inconveniencing somebody. This is business. When you're in a relationship with somebody and you interacted with them and they give you positive feedback and said, “Yes, let's move forward,” they've given you permission to follow up. And it's not just rude to follow up. It's rude to be silent. Don't assume people are rejecting you. Assume people are busy. People have other things to do than to answer you. Something came up so keep follow up until you hear from them.

If you only do one follow thing as a CEO is instilling a culture of follow up in your organization, and you have to go first. Lead by example. Show your employees, your team, your investors that you always follow up and follow through to get shit done. Right?

Play the CEO-card

All right. A last little tidbit on the sales side, pulling the CEO card. Like being – just by having the title of CEO, deals will happen faster and better because people assume a lot of stuff with, “Oh, the CEO has stepped in to talk to us.” Right? You could give a junior salesperson the CEO title, and that person will probably close more deals next week just because they come into a conversation with like, “Oh, this is the CEO of our company.”

People assume importance, people assume authority, people assume intelligence, all kinds of amazing shit with the title CEO. So just by having that title, just by giving yourself the title of CEO of your two-person company, right, I'm the chairman and CEO, just by that, people will take you more seriously, people will listen to you more carefully, and people will resonate and respond to your message a lot more powerfully.

So you have to help your team. If you have a sales team already or team that sells, that goes out there, you have to get down and dirty. You have to step in and help your team close deals especially the important ones. Help step into your HR recruiting team to hire people. Step into, you know, the industry and fund raising side. You have to be in the front lines using your title, and using the authority and the magic and the unicorn sprinkling, all the cool goodies that come with that title to get shit done and make transactions happen. So support your team and utilize that title to make stuff happen.

And then one quick other tip is that one of the more core important things about the CEO title is that people assume that you are busy, that you are important. Being busy and important assumes that you don't have time to waste. So when you go into sales conversations, one easy hack to make the other person really feel implicitly that you're important is to have time constraints. If you go into sales calls as a CEO and you take two hours for like a $100 a month deal, you know what the other person will think? Even if they appreciate that you take all the time in the world for them, they will assume you're not important. They will assume you have nothing better to do than to take two hours to close a $19.99 monthly subscription deal with them, all right?

So here's a simple hack. As a CEO, everything you do should have a short and precise time line. You do 15-minute sales calls. You don't do one-hour sales calls. You come into the conversations with having real time constraints. “Hey, my name is Steli. I'm the CEO of Close. I'm super excited to talk to you today. I'm going to highlight to be respectful of your time that I'm going to have another call in about 15 minutes. My day-to-day is a little crazy. I apologize for that, but I think that if we both focus, we're going to be able to accomplish our objectives and get really a lot of things done. Why don't you start and tell me the three things that you want to focus on? And then we'll go ahead, and we'll try to make it happen.” Right?

Just by saying, “Hey, I have a real time constraint. I have another call in 15 minutes or 30 minutes, but I think that amount of time, if we focus, will help us get everything done,” just by that and having that kind of energy of like, “I need to get you done. I don't have time to babble on for or talk about the weather and everything. I'm here. I'm focused. I'm going to give you all my attention. Then I have to move on to something else,” just by doing that, you're going to have real impact, and you're going to implicitly communicate to the other party that you're important and busy.

And people love to buy from people that are busy and that are important. Right? It makes them feel comfortable. It makes them feel like this is somebody that's important for a reason. Probably they're very intelligent and successful. So doing business with them is probably going to be a good idea. Right? Use that.