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Hack & Hustle

The experience that stopped me from becoming a sleazy salesperson

Most people in sales that have done really well for themselves are those that truly create value for others.

Those salespeople all have one thing in common.

They’ve all had one experience that pointed their life in a different direction. A moment so powerful it made them realize what kind of salesperson they wanted to become.

Here’s my moment.

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5 questions that prove you probably don’t need to have a meeting after all

“Actions speak louder than meetings.” — Lee Clow | Global Director, TBWA

Another day, another meeting. An hour later and it feels like the only thing successfully accomplished was wasting time.

Everyone talked in circles, no decisions were made, and the whole team leaves frustrated and exhausted. Except for the one guy still there, who fell asleep halfway through.

Sound familiar? Meetings get a pretty bad rep. According to one study, 47% of employees think meetings are the biggest waste of time in their business, and 39% admit to dozing off during them.

But here’s the thing: Meetings don’t have to be that way.

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How to fire a B2B customer? (without causing bad will)

As a B2B startup, there's going to come a time when you have to let go of a customer. It's an ironic role-reversal when you finally are in a position to tell no to someone who wants to pay you money, but firing a customer can be just as hard as winning a customer. Here's how to do it right.

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How I made a total fool of myself in front of Mark Zuckerberg (and what you can learn from it)

We’ve all been there. You’re having a great conversation and you’re excited, enthused and eager to speak. You get carried away. And before you know it, you’ve jumped in and said something stupid, insensitive or even offensive.

You listen to the words coming out of your mouth and you immediately regret it. You can tell the person on the other end is silently judging you. Perhaps they smile politely. Perhaps they don't. Either way, the conversation is over. The damage has been done.

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Product update: Give your sales cycle a boost with Close.io’s one-click Integration Links

We’re excited to roll out Integration Links to all Close.io customers.

Connect your Close.io account to platforms offering complementary services and experience a more streamlined and accelerated sales cycle.

Let’s take a look at how Integration Links work and how they will help you close deals faster.

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5 mega-successful entrepreneurs who launched their careers in sales

In 2011, over 400,000 businesses were launched in the US. Two years later, one-third of those businesses had gone under.

Waverly Deutsch, clinical professor of entrepreneurship at The University of Chicago Booth School of Business, attributes this to a lack of salesmanship. She argues that many young entrepreneurs are innovators, engineers or designers—people used to working alone with their ideas. As a result, they are so product-focused that they forget to actually sell their product.

The truth is that behind every successful product is that first killer sales pitch. Great ideas are a dime a dozen, but, as some of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs know, it takes the hustle and grind of sales to build a business.

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Sales in an AI world: How human is your sales process?

If you’ve ever had a call or a meeting with me, then you scheduled it through my awesome assistant, Mary. She keeps my calendar running smoothly and follows up with folks right on time. She’s so organized and professional that some people don’t even think she’s human.

No, seriously. People ask me all the time, “Steli, is Mary a real person?” It seems ridiculous. I talk to Mary everyday. She’s got family, friends, goals, dreams—stuff every other human has. Why do I hear this question so often?

It’s because people actually do run into virtual versions of Mary—artificially-intelligent (AI) assistants who schedule meetings and follow-ups. More and more tech-savvy professionals now use AI applications to automate commonplace human interactions.

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Why “the economy” isn’t an excuse to fail

2015 proved that even unicorns aren’t invincible. Snapchat’s value took a 25% hit. Evernote went through a second round of layoffs. Optimizely had to let go of 10% of their workforce. (Let’s not even talk of Zenefits.) Good Technology sold for less than half of its top valuation.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

These economic changes have founders afraid. “If it’s happening to billion-dollar businesses, it’ll happen to mine. Right?”

Not necessarily.

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Product feature: Manage expectations by adding a confidence level to your lead

In Close.io, the Opportunities feature helps you identify and keep track of deals that are on the verge of closing.

Any opportunity that is added to a lead becomes visible on the Opportunities screen to give your team a high-level view of your entire pipeline.

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Your one-way ticket out of Maybeland (The place where startups go to die)

Yes is good. No is good. Maybe is where startups go to die.

Let’s talk about how people get to that middle ground, Maybeland. Then, let’s talk about how to get the hell out.

Truth is, most companies—most startups—have to make their way through Maybeland at some point. First of all …

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