Steli Efti has been an entrepreneur since the age of 18, helping more than 200 venture-backed startups and closing tens of millions of dollars in deals. Today, Steli is CEO and co-founder of Close.io, a 7-figure SaaS CRM that helps companies boost their sales. He’s built a reputation as a sales expert, international keynote speaker, and author of six books on startups and sales.
Steli’s no bullshit approach to the world of sales is quite refreshing. He didn’t always have this approach though. As a young entrepreneur, Steli allowed his feelings to dictate his actions. Realizing he wasn’t living up to his full potential, he shifted his mindset to be consistent and to act despite what he felt like doing.
Steli gives the same advice he’s given to thousands of companies, which is not to look for shortcuts. In his experience, seeking short-term success sets you up for long-term failure. The biggest mistake Steli finds salespeople make is they are looking for convenient solutions. He shares if you do this, you will never have sustainable success. The best salespeople think, “how can I win a customer for the rest of my life?“
- Words are Powerful: Your mastery of language and results driven communication is paramount to your success in sales. It’s one thing to be good, but becoming a student of linguistics and really understanding the nuance between conscious and subconscious states can take you to an entirely different level. Think about the notion of associated and dissociated language — such as using the royal “we” when you really mean “I.” Learning different communication styles can help you not only influence others but also yourself.
- Act Despite Your Feelings: Knowing yourself enough to realize there are times you don’t want to do certain things is totally okay. However, you still need to do them. Look, I get it — there are absolutely moments in a day or week that I don’t want to take a meeting, do a task, or even have a conversation. Give yourself the permission to have the feeling, but then figure out how to get over it and take the action you know needs to be taken. Learning how to overcome those emotions will change your life and put you in complete control of your career success. And once that idea came about my life changed and started being able to not be a victim of my emotions anymore being control of my life and being able to do things even if I didn’t feel like
- Your Job is Not to be Liked: Way too many sales reps I talk to want prospects to like them. They believe that if they say anything to challenge the person they’re talking to they will lose the opportunity. Neither of those things are true. You must realize, you do not have to sell to every prospect. Respectfully push back and tell them that while they may treat other vendors a certain way, for you to become a true partner to them, you have to better understand their current situation. This includes following up — if you’ve had a positive interaction with a prospect, it’s your duty to continue to reach back out even if that means pissing off a few people.
- Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life by Jon Kabat-Zinn