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“You f*cking have to sell if you really want to succeed, and when you’re able to communicate with another human being, it’s a very powerful thing”, said Steli Efti, CEO at Close.com, on the SaaStock stage.
A call is an incredibly influential tool to build human connection and human interaction.
You’ve probably done hundreds of thousands of cold calls in your life, and one reason why most of us don’t like sales calls is: rejection is really personally felt, right?
And if your reach rate is below 15%, it’ll be a painful and inefficient experience.
So, you want to understand your reach rate.
- How many people do you call?
- How many people have you reached?
- Of those that you’ve reached, how many are truly qualified to buy your product?
- And out of those that qualified, how many did you close?
That’s the funnel you need to keep track of.
Find out how to design a killer SaaS sales call from Steli. Watch the full video on our YouTube channel. You can also read the full transcript of this video below.👇
Hey, everybody. Yes. Hey, the two people that saw me yesterday at the bootcamp. They already know what I’m expecting. All right, let’s do this again. Good morning, everybody.
Cool. Just because we are still collecting ourselves as a crowd and starting the day, doesn’t mean we can’t be high energy. All right. So, first of all, to set the scene, raise your hand if you have no f*cking idea who I am. Just be proud. There you go, I like the enthusiasm in that. “Yeah, motherf*cker. I don’t know who you are.” All right, very good. This is important for my ego. This sets the stage for me. Nobody really cares and knows who I am. All right. So, we’re going to talk about sales calls today. Right? I’m actually impressed how many people are showing up to this, because it’s not always the sexiest of topics, but it’s an incredibly important one.
I’ll tell you a little bit about myself to give you some context and make you understand, or give you an idea why I care about sales calls and why I know a thing or two about it in SaaS. Sounds good? All right. This is, “Yes.” This is, “No.” This is, “I don’t really care, and we’re just waiting for the next session,” or something. Patrick is going to be excellent. My name is Steli Efti. I’m originally from Greece. I grew up, and was born, in Germany. 10 years ago I sold everything I had. I bought a one way ticket to San Francisco, and I’m still living there, right? I did one tech company that was a spectacular, soul crushing failure, and then I did another one that is doing pretty all right.
The last two companies are really the ones that are most relevant to what I’m going to talk about today. It started originally as Elastic Sales. What we were doing as Elastic Sales is, we were helping venture-backed B2B SaaS companies in Silicon Valley scale their up on sales efforts, and we had done that for over 200 venture-backed startups. We did hundreds of thousands of cold calls for SaaS companies over the span of two years, and during that time, we developed a little piece of software called Close.IO, which is an inside sales CRM. It was the first CRM that had integrated calling right out of the box, so you could make and receive calls out of the CRM without having to switch systems. All calls were recorded and automatically tracked.
So, you can tell that even… When was this? January 2013. Even four years ago, we really cared about calling when it comes to the sales context. Today, we’re a tiny team. 24 people. All remote, all around the world, and we’re making millions and millions. Thousands of companies all around the world use us to make more deals and crush it in sales. I don’t just have a SaaS company that’s evolving around sales, I have a podcast. This man, if you don’t know him yet, you should. He’s the godfather of SaaS. He has the reputation of being the most generous founder in Silicon Valley. Hiten Shah: founder of KISSmetrics, Crazy Egg, and a bunch of other stuff. Twice a week, for 20 minutes, we talk about anything and everything. Tuesday is usually super tactical. How to do sales calls; how to put together landing pages. Fridays, we talk about whatever the f*ck we want, like the death of our parents and how that affected us or religion in startups. Whatever the f*ck we find interesting to discuss. Check it out, thestartupchat.com.
All right. I’m going to give you the goodies right away. I’ve written a bunch of books. There’s tons of sales scripts, sales templates, email templates, cold templates. Everything in one link, packaged up just for you. If you send me an email with the subject “BUNDLE MOTHERF*CKER!” To email@example.com, you’ll get a link with all my shit. Sounds good?
All right. There you go. A bunch of people here already sent me an email, got that link. So, let’s jump right into it. Why is a sales call still important and relevant today, and why do I believe it will still be relevant five, 10 years from now? A call is an incredible, powerful tool to build human connection and human interaction, and I know that as technology entrepreneurs and technology people, we love to automate things. We love to make things. The machine take over and do everything, and you just sit back and look at the revenue piling up. I remember in 2007 when I went to Silicon valley, most B2B companies, they were all about virality. They were all about setting up some viral thing that would make the thing grow from the bottom up in the enterprise. Then, they would just kick back and get the revenue.
Nobody wanted to do sales calls. Sales calls don’t scale; sales calls are old technology; sales calls are not sexy. Today, it took over 10… Yeah, almost. Over 10 years to really shift the mood. Many, many B2B companies had to realize, even in Silicon valley, you f*cking have to sell if you really want to succeed, and when you’re able to communicate with another human being, it’s a very powerful thing. It is a context rich environment, right? Somebody telling me, “Maybe,” in an email is different than somebody going, “Maybe,” or, “Maybe,” or, “Maybe.” Right? I said the same word three times, but it meant something different, right? My body language, my tonality, gives you more context. Gives you more data, more information to compute and interpret and understand another human being, so when you do surveys, when you do emails, when you commute with chat bots and all that shit.
All that is awesome, but nothing is as possible as an in-person conversation. The next best step is a phone conversation. You don’t have the visual, but you have the auditory stimulation to really understand and hear somebody, and you can ask follow-up questions. How beautiful is that? A conversation is something powerful. Somebody tells you something that makes no sense, you can ask, “Can you clarify that for me? I’m still trying to understand you better. Why is this what you’re looking for?” You can’t do all that shit in many other contexts, and you don’t get the information that you need to truly understand. If you don’t understand your customers, you’re going to lose them. Whoever understands the customers best, sooner or later, will get them. Right? It’s simple as that. Makes sense? Cool.
So, doing calls with people is a powerful tool. You might have to do it with all your prospects, you might only have to do it with some. Even if you can’t scale it with any in the early days, I would advise you to do it, or once in a while to do it just to stay in touch with your customers. The most dangerous thing you can do is get out of touch with your customers, and that’s something that’s going to automatically happen. The faster your business grows, the more you’re not going to know anymore what your customers think, what they feel, what their fears are. What really is going on in their life. All right.
A few things when it comes to calling, one of the reasons why calling sucks, right? I’ve done probably hundreds of thousands of cold calls in my life. One of the things that really sucks and why people don’t really like it: one is that rejection is really personally felt, right? It’s different if somebody doesn’t click my link on an ad. I don’t give a shit. Or, if somebody clicks my ad and doesn’t sign up for my landing page, it doesn’t really hurt. But, if somebody on the phone says, “F*ck off,” that hurts. That’s a painful experience. That’s why it’s so healthy; that’s why you need to experience it once in a while.
That’s one, but the other thing is that it’s super inefficient. You call a ton of people; you’re not really reaching that many people. This is when it comes to benchmarks. One of the most important number you need to know when it comes to sales calls is, “What is our reach rate?” Reach rate indicates how many times did I actually have a human being on the phone that was relevant to what I was doing. Not the secretary, not a voicemail, not just the ring tone. I talked to somebody that was the person I wanted to talk to. If your reach rate is below 15%, which it often is, sales calls are going to be painful. It’s going to be very inefficient.
You’re going to be doing a hundred calls and only having a chance to talk to 10 people. 90% of the time, you’re just wasting life, sitting there listening to dial tones of voicemails, right? That sucks, and that’s why a lot of people don’t love doing calls. So, you need to know what your reach rate is. It needs to be above 15%. If it can be at the 30 or 40%, your money. If it’s below 50%, your f*cked. It doesn’t matter how good your pitch is; it doesn’t matter how amazing your product is. Sales calls are going to be a difficult, painful thing to do, and a very, very inefficient thing. Makes sense? Cool. Thank you one person.
All right. So, you want to understand your reach rate. How many people do we dial? How many people have we reached? Of those that we’ve reached, how many truly qualified to buy our product? And out of those that qualified, how many did we close? That’s the funnel you need to keep track of. If your reach rate is really low, you need to figure out something better to do. You need to figure out a better time to call them. Maybe it’s on the weekends; maybe it’s late at night; maybe it’s super early. Maybe you’re trying to talk to a certain type of customer that’s not really picking up their phone, so you have to warm them up in email and some other tool as well. Hello, sir. Very good looking, powerful men over there.
All right. So, when you reach them and you don’t qualify a lot of people, your problem is that you have shitty lead list, right? Or, that you are doing marketing that attracts the wrong people. That’s even more painful to me. You’ve done all this work to reach somebody, and then that person you should have never talked to. They have no chance of buying your product. Your product is not the right product for them. That sucks, right? So, you want to make sure that your qualifying rate is really high. Out of the people that you reach, you want to qualify a very high number of people, or you need to improve your lead-gen process. Out of those that you qualify, so this is somebody you’ve talked to and they and you both agree, in one way or another, that this is a good fit. Out of those, you need to close a shit ton of people, or you just suck in sales. That’s the only real answer to this. Your sales process sucks at that point, right?
But, this is not the problem that most people have. Most people don’t have a problem that their sales process sucks. Most people have a reach rate problem or a qualifying problem when it comes to calling. All right. When you think about the sales call for SaaS, I want you to think about it just like a product. Think [UYUX 00:09:30]. What is the user experience when I call them? That’s what nobody ever does, that’s why sales calls suck. It’s because the person that’s calling you is completely selfish, right? It’s like me building an app that all it does is trying to get my credit card. Any time I click anything, it just wants my credit card. I wouldn’t f*cking use that thing. When people call you, you need to try to understand what is the journey of the person on the other end of the line, right?
Step number one is, I need to reach you, right? Once I’ve reached you, I need to sound good. You’re like, “Sound good? That sounds superficial.” Yes, it’s pretty important. You need to sound good, and I’ll explain to you in a second why that is critical, foundational to the sales call. If I reach you and I sound good, I need to ask a bunch of questions. Trying to understand you; trying to build a relationship; trying to get some insights. And once I truly understand what’s going on, I’m probably going to have to manage some objections, right? There’s going to be some problems. Pricing, timing. Something that’s going to stand between you and I and us working together, and once I’ve done that, I have to go for the close. That’s really it. It’s as simple as that. Five steps, and we’ll go through all of them together.
Step number one, reach people. I’ve talked about this a little bit already in the beginning. Here’s a bunch of tips on what to do: when it comes to inbound leads — people that come to your site, your landing page, put in their information, give it to you voluntarily — you have to find a way to call them within five minutes. If you call them within five minutes, your reach rate… This actually sounds wrong, but it’s scientifically proven. There’s a research project at some university that proved that you have a hundred percent higher reach rate when you call within five minutes than if you call 10 minutes later, an hour later, a day later. I know for a fact that if you call a day or two later after people giving you their contact information, your reach rates is going to be very similar to cold calling reach rates. Doesn’t that suck?
Somebody came, gave you all that data. Said, “Yes, I’m interested. Please call me, please talk to me.” And then, when you try to get in touch with them, it’s, for you, the same experience as if they’ve never given you anything. That sucks. Why within five minutes? Basic logic. I’m just at my laptop; I’m just giving you all my data. It’s very likely I’m not in a meeting. I’m not right now skiing somewhere, right? If you call me, I know what this is about because you just signed up. Now, some people go, “Well, but I didn’t give them enough time to explore my product.”
You don’t have to. You call people within five minutes, they go, “Oh, I just signed up.” “Yes. Oh, and I wanted to say welcome.” Right? “… and I wanted to make sure that I’m going to set you up for success. I know that you want to sign up, you want to explore our trial. Let me ask you two questions, and then I’m going to guide you so you get the most out of the trial. You understand immediately if this is right for you or not.” Nobody complains about that, right? Call inbound leads as quickly as possible, it makes a massive difference. If you call people that are not inbound leads, make sure that you truly understand your customer. Again, customer insights is key for success. If you call a high executive at bigger companies, sometimes calling at an unusual time is a really good idea, right? Sunday evening is sometimes a really good time to call, because a lot of people that are CEOs of companies go to the office Sunday evening to prepare the week because nobody’s f*cking there on Sunday, so they can get some work done. Right?
It might be super early in the morning. You might be like you’re super late in the day. Usually, Monday at 9:00 AM is not a good idea. Just like Fridays at 4:00 PM, not the best idea. It might be different for you; it might be different for your customer, right? There’s no general answers here, but you need to experiment. Truly try to understand, “Who is my customer? When do they pick up the phone? When is a good time to talk to them?” Oh, a quick word. The founder of Calendly is going to talk today. Go check out his talk. A cool tool.
When you have an agreement with somebody that you’re going to talk to them, make sure that you do whatever is in your power to remind them. Make sure that that call happens. Nothing is worse than scheduling a call, and then calling them… Scheduling a call two weeks out, and then calling them and expecting them to know and remember, and not cancel. They’re not going to show up. It’s your job, a week before, to send me another email. Re-reminding me. Reselling me on the idea of why we’re talking next week. And then, the day before, you might text me or tweet me, “Hey, I’m really excited about tomorrow.” That doesn’t guarantee, but it definitely increases the chance of somebody picking up the phone.
Sounding good. Here’s the deal, and you’ve heard this. In fact, it’s been repeated so often, it’s hard to compute. It’s hard to actually listen and truly understand this, but when it comes to human communication, right? The content of our words is really the most insignificant part, right? We know that body language is 70%, and what we say is 30. On the phone, it’s reverse. Tonality is the dominant communicating factor. Who disagrees with this? Raise your hand. All right. Well, I’m on stage and have a mic, so this is a request for only the bravest of the brave. Right? Okay. So, we’re all in agreement with this, right? Now, how do you sound good on the phone? Here’s the basic thing that happens. Let’s go back to user experience, right?
So, you’re calling me, I’m picking up the phone. Now think about me. When I pick up the phone and it’s a number I don’t recognize, it’s a voice I don’t recognize, what do I think? I think, “Who the f*ck is this? Who the f*ck is this? Who the f*ck is this? Who the f*ck is this? Is this a sales person? Oh, shit. How do I get off the phone? How do I get off the phone? How do I get off the phone?” That’s my experience. That’s my user experience. It’s like, “Who’s this? Does this person want to sell me something? Oh shit, yes. All right. No, no, no. Not interested. Bye, bye, bye, bye.” Right? That’s what I want to do. Just like, “Who is this? Who is this friend?” Fight or flight? Fight or flight? Fight or flight? Flight, right? That’s what’s going on in my mind.
So the first few seconds, the way you sound will create an imagery in the person’s mind. It’s not as solid as a real hallucination, but it is there. We imagine somebody when we hear somebody’s voice, and based on the energy, based on the tonality, we will imagine different people and that will influence how we feel about what those people say. So, if you call me and you don’t sound excited, you don’t sound enthusiastic… I’m not meaning in a fake sales-y like, “Hello. I’m calling from blah, blah, blah enterprises. What a beautiful day today.” Just shut the f*ck up. Nobody talks like that, right? It’s kind of a dirty… I want to take a shower after I hear that. Right?
Don’t be fake, but be enthusiastic, motherf*cker. If you are not excited about calling me, why the f*ck should I be excited about talking to you? Right? You interrupted me. You are calling me. You better be in a good mood. And I don’t care if you feel like it, get into it. Find a way to feel like it, right? If you call me and you’re like, “Yeah, hello. I’m from…” I’m already dead. I’m like, “Oh, my God. This is somebody…” I’m imagining somebody in gray. Not really well fitting clothes, in a little cubicle contemplating suicide, right? I just don’t want to be in this room with this person.
So, you need to sound excited. You need to sound like you’re some kind of authority. That you’re somebody that knows what they’re talking about. Now, how do you do that? A few things I’m going to run you through just very quickly. The best thing you can do: you don’t need to read books and learn body language and tonality, and all that. All you have to do is get in a good f*cking mood. Find a way to do it. Some people listen to music. Some people have to work out or run. Whatever the f*ck it is that you need to do, do it. Make sure that when you’re on the call, you’re professional. Part of being professional meaning having good energy, so the people that listen to you are uplifted. I want people to smile when they talk to me. I want people to be sitting up right without noticing it while they’re talking to me.
I want people at the end of the conversation with me to feel more energized than after it, right? “Did I give them energy, or did I suck energy out of their life?” My responsibility is to give energy. To make people go, “I want to talk to this person again. I don’t know even why.” Right? But, here’s a few things when it comes to tonality — very basic seminar, one minute or less — talking tempo matters. When we talk very, very slow, usually, on average, human ears will interpret this as, “This person is not very bright.” Right? When we talk super fast, it’s hard to listen to and it’s very tiring, but B, we will make the assumption, “This person is not very careful. This is somebody that just runs around and is chaotic, and is just so fast that we cannot follow.” What you want is you want to be a little faster than average.
See, if you have a good tempo in terms of your communication, we quick quickness. We associate that with mental quickness if somebody communicates a little quicker than average. Tonality, same thing. You’re too loud, you’re aggressive. You’re too low, you’re timid. You want to be a little louder than average, right? You want to be sounding a little louder than average because that we translate as confident. And then, if you smile, it actually makes a difference in the sound of tonality. They’ve tested this. Rooms where people saying the same thing, fake smiling or not, and people could hear the difference. Their brain could hear the difference. It would have different waves and shit. So, sound like you know what you’re talking about, sound like you’re excited to be there, and obviously, you should know what you’re talking about. Your content should be good. But, if you sound depressed, no matter what you’re telling me, I’m not going to listen.
Ask questions. I’m not going to go into too much detail here, but your communication in sales should always be dominantly driven by the other party talking, right? She who asks the questions, leads the conversation. That’s it. I want to know all about you when I talk to you. I already know all my shit, right? I want to know exactly who you are, what you’re all about, what is going on. The better I understand you, the easier it’s for me to identify if we are the right fit and to know how to sell to you. I have the prospect give me everything I need, and then selling is easy, right? They’re painting a picture, a target, in all minute detail, and at the end, all I have to do is throw one dart and I hit.
Most people in sales, what they think is, “The more darts I throw, the more chances I have to succeed,” so they’re blindly throwing darts. They’re like, “Oh, we’re cheap, and we’re fast, and we have all the features. We’re venture backed, and we have a great admin tool and API.” They throw more on, and they think, “Surely something will f*cking hit.” The problem is that if you tell me 10 things and one of them is relevant to me and nine aren’t, you know what I’m going to listen to and what I’m going to zero in on? The nine things that weren’t, not the one that was. I’m going to go, “I don’t need API.” “Motherf*cker, I said nine other things.” “Yeah, but API is really not what we need.” “God, but I said other things as well.” “Yeah, yeah, but API is really not…”
I don’t do that. I talk to you, I learn all about you. I learn about what you care. If you care about the f*cking admin tool, I go, “Let’s talk about our admin tool,” and then I tell you all about it. Then I go, “Is there anything else we need to make this deal happen?” “No? Boom, let’s make it.” “Yes. I also need to know about the API.” “Beautiful, tell me more about it. Why do you need it? How do you need it? When do you need it?” Right? And then, we’ll talk about that. I’ll let you tell me what I need to talk about and what I don’t need to talk about on how to close the deal, and then closing is very, very easy.
People will have objections. Sales people are like, “Oh, my God. Why again this pricing question?” Motherf*cker, so you have a job, right? Congrats. That’s your reason for existence. Is resistance, right? If there’s no resistance, there’s no reason to do the job. So, what you need to do instead of being annoyed by objection… Here’s the deal with objections, they’re always the same. No matter what it is, you’re going to have a top 10, top 15 list that you hear again and again and again and again. Here’s what happens with you, you get annoyed by that. You’re like, “Every day I hear this shit.” Well, motherf*cker. Why don’t we prepare for this if we know it’s happening?
I’m calling you and I know you’re going to say something, and then I’m annoyed that you’re saying it. To me, that’s just irrational. That’s just dumb, right? Embrace reality. If I know that you’re going to say your price is too high, I need to manage it. I need to work with it; I need to expect it; I need to be excited. I call you, and you tell me, “Oh, the price is too high,” and I go, “Beautiful.” At this point, my best customers always said the same thing. Let’s talk about f*cking price. I need to be excited about it. I can’t be like, ” Well, yeah. We’re a little pricey, but times are hard.” Shut the f*ck up. So, right out the top objections, create a document in versions. Update it every two weeks. Eventually, once you scale, you can do it once a month or once a quarter. Write down what are the top 10 objections we have, and write down a good answer.
It doesn’t have to be the best answer, it has to be a short answer. Two sentences, max. That’s it. Again, do you know what most objections are? Most objections are a transition between confidence. I’m telling you something that made me uncomfortable or that I’m fearful about, and you need to instill confidence and comfort in me back, right? I’m like, “Oh, how about security?” It doesn’t matter what you’re going to tell me. In reality, will anything you say really make me an expert in how secure your system is? No. Do I know if you’re truthful or not? No. Am I a security expert? No. So what the f*ck are we talking about security? You know why? Because I am fearful, because my boss is going to ask me about security, because I need to have some ammunition in different meetings because I got burned last year. Something happened. This is a matter of concern, you need to make me comfortable. That’s it. Don’t give me a PhD education in computer security, and don’t get annoyed and don’t get flustered, and don’t compute the answer in real time.
Have you ever done this? Where somebody asks you something and you come up with the answer in real time? How does this go? Usually it goes something like this, right? You’re like, “Ah.” You’re looking all the way up in the moon. “Oh, well…” Trying to find an answer. “That’s security. It’s a good question. Well, we’re doing a lot of things. One, for instance, is that we try and encrypt everything and SSL, and this and that and the other.” You’re just searching for things, and you talk and talk and talk, and do you talk too much? Yes. Do you talk way too long? Yes. How much confidence and comfort do you get when you ask somebody something critical and they have to do, “Let me see,” and they talk for hours. Right?
What you want to be able to do is answer something in very concise and precise ways. “What about security?” “That’s a beautiful question. It’s very important to us. We have more than 10 million in venture funding. Ward is the number one system in our planet, and when it comes to security, we take it very seriously. What else is important to you?” Did I say anything about security right now? I just bullshitted you for three sentences. I didn’t say that we have venture money. We got prize and award, and we take it seriously. That’s nothing. I’m not saying that should be your answer, I’m just trying to make a point here.
If I can answer in three sentences, calmly, while keeping eye contact, the other person is more often than not just going to be like, “Yeah, okay. That seems like they have their shit together.” Right? It’s dumb, but it’s human. We’re emotional. We’re not totally rational. Once computers buy all the products, we can build bots that sell all the products, and then just computers can talk to each other, right? It’s going to be a beautiful world, potentially, but as long as humans are involved in the buying process, there’s going to be rationality, emotionality, and all kinds of other weird things happening. You either embrace it, or you suffer the consequences.
All right. Here’s the number one mistake that people make when they’re on sales calls: they don’t go for the close. It is ridiculous. Sales calls often in SaaS, and I’ve heard thousands of CEOs and founders on sales demos, on SaaS demos, on SaaS sales calls. They always have a pretty good start. They always start energetic, and then they just fade in energy. They don’t have the stamina. At the end of the one hour conversation… Please don’t have an hour conversation. Your sales call should be 30 minutes. Get to it. Get to it. Be busy. Get to the important things. Don’t f*ck around for 60 minutes, 90 minute demos. Kill me right now. Nobody can compute all this information that long. At the end of these calls, here’s how they usually end: They end with something like, “Yeah. Thank you so much for your time. Yeah. I mean, we’re going to send you more information, and then whenever you guys are ready, just let us know about the next steps.”
What? That’s the end of your conversation? That’s how you close? Let’s push all responsibility over there, and we’re going to lean back here and wait for them to make the buying decision on their own. F*ck that, ask for the close. I’ll give you a very simple technique. One of the most powerful sentences in sales, in the world. It’s very simple. It goes like this: “What would it take for you to become a customer of ours?” You can ask this question multiple times, and you can ask it early. “Hey, now that we figured out that this is a good fit, let me ask you, what would it take for you to become a customer of ours?” Then, what you do is you follow up until you arrive at a virtual moment in the future where they buy.
So when they go, “Well, we have to go back to the team and evaluate this,” you don’t go, “Cool. All right, thank you. Goodbye.” You go, “All right. Once you evaluated it, what happens next?” “Well next, we’ll set up another call with more stakeholders to really dig a little deeper.” “All right. That sounds good. Let’s say that call goes well, what happens next?” “Well next, we would want to put together a pilot proposal.” “All right, and then? How long does the pilot typically go? What are the KPIs for success in a pilot? How much budget do we have? Tell me more about it, whether the stakeholders… All right. Let’s say the pilot has ended and we checked off all the boxes, what happens next?”
People just assume. People on the phone, they just go, “Oh, a pilot? Okay. Then, after the pilot, they’re going to buy. All right. A pilot sounds good. I’m going to prepare the pilot.” Shut the f*ck up, we don’t know that. What happens next after the pilot? “Well, after the pilot, you have to talk to procurement.” “All right, and what happens after procurement?” “Well, you have to talk to legal.” “And then? Are we in business now?” “No, no, no, no, no. You have to talk to my grandmother. She’s going to read your palm and your future.” “All right, and then when grandma’s says, ‘yes’, what do we do then? Are we in business?” “Yes, then we are in business.”
Now I have a roadmap from this very moment to the time they’re going to buy. Beautiful. Now I can decide is this too long? Too difficult? Are there any hurdles? How am I going to manage the process? Also, they might tell me things I don’t like to hear, like, “Hey, what would it take for you to become a customer of ours?” “I don’t think that’s going to happen.” Most people are like, “Oh, I didn’t want to hear that.” I go, “Ooh, a moment of truth.” I lean in and I go, “Awesome, thank you for the honesty. What am I missing? We’ve been talking for 30 minutes. It sounded to me like this is a good fit. Obviously, I’m missing some really critical things. Enlighten me. What’s going on?” “Well, yeah. We don’t really have a budget set aside for this till 2025. I just wanted to get informed on the market.”
“Now I know I need to do a better job qualifying.” “Oh, I’m just the intern. I’ve never bought anything at this company.” “Now I know I need to do a better job qualifying.” “Oh, I’ve seen five other demos, and your product I liked the least.” “Ooh, hurts, but healthy medicine for my stupidity. Tell me more about it. What did you like about the other products? What didn’t you like about us?” When somebody says, “No,” when you ask them for their money, their business, it’s a moment of truth. It’s a beautiful opportunity.
A few words before I wrap this up. Sales scripts, I know most of us don’t like them. You can tell, I like to rock and roll. I never enjoyed having a sales script. I always wanted just to talk like a human being, but it’s dangerous not to have them. You want to design a basic sales conversation where you thought it through, you thought through the user experience. The beginning, the middle, and the end. Now, if somebody is, in the moment, empowered and creative to go out of that and be better than that, they’re welcome to. But, salespeople have good days and bad days, and on bad days, everybody can fall back on something that works. It doesn’t have to be word for word. It doesn’t have to be robotic. It just has to have a structure, thought through.
I can’t just wing every call, because if I just had a huge argument with somebody and I call somebody, I don’t know what I’m doing. Or, if I’m talking to a prospect that’s very dominant, they might take over the conversation and run with it in all kinds of weird ways, and I’m not going to be in control anymore. You want to use scripts to train people, on board people, scale things. You want to, again, think in versions every two, every four weeks. You want to talk to the sales team and go, “Does this still work? Do we have problems with is? When we talk to people, does it work? Are they empowered? Do they close? Do they buy?”
I’m going to share just the beginning of a sales script that we used, and if you want it, it’s going to be in the package of the Bundle Motherf*cker. This what we used when we started doing Elastic Sales. I was cold calling companies for two weeks to see if any startups would want to give us thousands of dollars to do sales for them. Within two weeks of cold calling… No website, no brand name. I was Steve Eli. I was faking it. We just wanted to see if there’s a market out there. We had seven companies that wanted to pay us a lot of money for this. Here’s how we’d call people: I’d say, “Hey, my name is Steve Eli. I’m calling some startups in the area to see if they might be a good fit for a beta program that we’re currently running.
First question is, “Who the f*ck is this?” “My name is Steli Efti.” “Why is he calling me?” “I’m calling some startups locally to see if they might be a good fit.” Locally suggests that I might also be close to you. Close to you might mean I might be similar to you. And I’m calling startups for a beta program fit, right? So, I would call startups. They know the lingo, they had beta programs, and I’m just trying to find out if this is a good fit. I’m not saying I want to sell you something. At this part, the other person goes, “Okay. What is it?” So, I go. I would even do this body language on the phone. What we do in a sentence, and this suggest is only going to take one sentence. Relax and listen to me, right?
What we do in a sentence is we offer startups with a sales team on demand. “Does that, in general, sound interesting to you?” At this point, if they said, “No,” I said, “Interesting. Tell me about your sales process.” When they said, “Maybe,” I said, “Interesting. Tell me about your sales process.” When they said, “Yes,” I said, “Interesting. Tell me about your sales process.” It didn’t f*cking matter what they said at this point, but I needed them to say it. I needed them to get it out of their system.
At this point, they and I, we were both not educated enough to know if we could work together. But, once I told them the elevator pitch, they had an opinion and I needed them to get the opinion out of their system, because if they’re thinking, “No, I cannot talk to them anymore,” they need to say it, release it. I would just keep going on with my [inaudible 00:31:31] part of the script. Asking a bunch of questions and going for the close.
All right, that’s it. My time is up. The next guy that’s speaking is Patrick. He’s a very attractive and powerful man. He’s probably the most knowledgeable… Not probably. He’s the most knowledgeable person in SaaS pricing. My friend and co-conspirator at The Startup Chat, Hiten Shah, anytime he gets a pricing question, he just forwards it to Patrick, right? So stick around and welcome with me onstage, the one and only Patrick from Price Intelligently.
Thank you, guys.