GUEST: Brandon Bruce, Co-Founder and CEO of Cirrus Insight
Sales and hustle are often considered synonymous, but that’s not always a good thing.
Step 1: Your Powers Come from Kypton, But So Does Your Kryptonite
If you’re like most people, the source of your greatest strength can by your greatest weakness, if you use it at the wrong time. For most of us in sales, patience is not in our top 10 list of attributes and you may associate a successful salesperson with:
- Hard work
- Not accepting “no” for an answer
Alternatively, the ‘slow sale’ is an effort to hit the pause button, be thoughtful and methodical about what you’re doing, and give your prospect room.
“Don’t constantly be hustling in some frenetic state. At the end of the day, that starts to freak out the customer because they feel like they’re being pushed.”
co-founder and ceo, cirrus insight
Step 2: Pause for the Laughs
A comedian needs to pause between jokes so the audience can laugh. It is built into the experience.
The same pause is part of the sales process.
What looks like hesitation to the salesperson, can actually be the consideration phase of the sales funnel.
“If we think of ourselves as the buyer… we realize that we also go into the tank for two weeks before we make a substantial purchase,” says Bruce. “We also don’t answer calls and emails. And this is simply the pace, the normal pace, of the customer and seller relationship.”
“The slow sale isn’t saying let’s all take a vacation and sales will come to us, it doesn’t work that way… But it’s saying, let’s not push people around, let’s not try to advance a deal faster than it’s meant to go. Because it’s just not going to happen. In fact you’ll chase away a deal that might otherwise have come you way.”
co-founder and ceo, cirrius insight
Step 3: Live the ‘Slow Sales’ Process in Your Own Life
“Early on with this company, I was going to take a long weekend with my family. I had never been away from the business at all, and I had three mid-level deals out,” remembers Bruce. “I wasn’t going to be following up with them while I was gone, and that freaked me out. I was impatient.”
He decided to go away with his family and leave the prospects alone. When he returned from his family vacation, all three deals finalized.
“It was time for reflection. All of them turned out and I didn’t hammer them over the head. So I learned that lesson myself.”
Step 4: There’s a Quick Way to Find Out If They Are Into You or Not
An interesting follow-up that has worked really well is to request and share cell phone numbers with the buyer in case they have questions that need immediate answers. “That’s been very, very successful for us and a lot of other companies, too,” says Bruce.
“If the prospect is willing to share their cell phone number with you, the deal is pending. If they say ‘no’ then it’s not going in the direction that you’d like.”
co-founder and ceo, cirrius insight
If you get the digits, you can take your time and let the sales process breathe.
Step 5: Give Away Your Time and Rake in the Sales
“The one thing that has made the biggest difference for us over the last ten years is being very generous with our time; it’s easier said than done. When you get busy, you want to prioritize. But we’ve had the most success when we’ve been very open to talking with everybody about anything,” says Bruce.
Make your calendar available, let customers book on it, answer all their questions, and talk with them. Meet with them in person.
“We do most of our sales remotely, but if the deal is the right size, I’ll say, ‘Sure, I can pop over to Kansas City. How’s next week?”
CO-FOUNDER AND CEO, CIRRIUS INSIGHT
That’s putting yourself out there and saying, ‘We’re confident enough, we have enough resources to meet you where you are, and we’ll make it worth your while.’ So that’s the number one thing, be as generous as possible.”
“A great example of the unpredictable nature [of sales] is someone comes in who’s a lone wolf who’s just looking out for himself. To an enterprise system person, that’s not very interesting, [the prospect represents] just a few hundred bucks a year. But often, that lone wolf is a consultant who is vetting for a company with thousands of seats. They’re almost a secret shopper,” says Bruce.
“So we make them very happy with all of our resources, and then they say, ‘I can see that you can scale up, I’m actually trialing this on behalf of [Big Company] that’s ready to load up.’ And we’re so glad that we gave them time and treated them like a customer should be treated. We don’t care about your size, we just want you to have an awesome experience. It’s like the integrity thing, ‘Who are you when someone’s not looking?’ They want to see that part of the company so that they know their client is going to be in good hands.”
If you do not use iTunes, you can listen to every episode here.