Steli Efti learned a hard lesson back when he was running Supercool School.

“We failed at closing these massive organizations,” says Steli, now the founder of and ElasticSales and author of The Ultimate Startup Guide to Inbound Sales. “So we decided to offer a self-service platform…so people could sign up and then pay us 15 or 25 bucks a month to use the product.”

Steli and his team poured all of their energy into this new direction. Unfortunately, all that effort “had no impact on the business,” he says.

Steli realized that it all boiled down to a sales problem.

But these days, Steli not only knows how to grow sales, he builds sales machines to do it.

As a result, already hit the $2 million mark in annual revenue run rate. “I went around the corner to Walgreens [that day], bought some cheap champagne, came back,” he says. “We all cheered, and then we went back to work, because it was a really busy day!”

In his Mixergy course, Steli shows you how you can build a sales machine so you can grow your sales, too. Here are three highlights from the course.

1. Make Them Choose a Pill

Lots of founders think that the longer prospects have to try out their product for free, the more “locked-in” they’ll be. So at the end of the trial period, they’ll convert into paying customers.

That’s what one of Steli’s clients thought, too. “They thought that after 60 or 90 days they would get a better conversion rate than if the free trial was just 14 days or 30 days.”

But when Steli checked the numbers, he saw that that wasn’t true. In fact, most products aren’t as sticky as their founders like to think…

“Most users, they’ll log in, they’ll create a free trial, and then they’ll leave and forget about you and never come back,” he says. “And the ones that do come back, it’s not like if they keep using it for 30 or 60 days for free that that means that they’re going to convert.”

So how can you increase conversions on your free trial offer?

Create urgency, then help them decide

Create a greater sense of urgency by shortening your trial period. Steli recommends 14-day trials.

“You’re also going to be reaching out to them proactively with drip emails, calls, and other things, to help them in the decision process in the 14 days,” says Steli. “Don’t just leave it up to them, help them make a decision within a short period of time.”

You also can extend the trial to close more sales. “We reach out two days before the trial…and ask, ‘Hey, did you have enough time? Do you need more help? Do you want us to extend the trial?’” he says. “And many times that’s the beginning of a real conversation where people say, ‘Yes, please give me another week or two,’ and then we start engaging and closing these much more successfully.”

In the full course, Steli reveals what you have to do five minutes after they sign up for a free trial. (It gets through to them 67% of the time.)

2. Just Say No (To the Wrong Customers)

It’s tempting to sell your product to anyone, no matter what they want to use it for.

But Steli says that’s a huge mistake, because it creates conversations like this:

First person: “Hey, have you ever heard of”
Second person: “Yes, it’s a really shitty shopping list tool.”
First person: “Shopping list? I thought it was a project management tool.”

“And now I’m creating confusion and a bad reputation,” says Steli.

And obviously, that’s bad for sales. “I want people to be raving that they’re getting a lot more value from it than what they’re paying us,” he says.

So how do you make sure only the right people buy your product?

Ask the right questions before the sale

Prequalify prospects before they buy.

“First thing we do is figure out, should you be a customer?” he says. “Is our software really the best piece of software for you? And we’re not trying to sell you if we can’t answer that question with a yes. If it’s a no, we’ll say don’t buy us, go somewhere else.”

For instance, Steli turns down enterprise clients. “We know that we don’t want enterprise clients, so we’re looking for small businesses, mid-size businesses, startups,” he says. “We know that we’re looking for companies that do inside sales and not field sales, because our software was not made for that.”

In the full course, Steli tells you exactly what to ask when you prequalify prospects.

3. Don’t Bore Them to Death

If your sales demo is more of a training demo, you’re doing it wrong.

“[Many companies] give demos as if a demo was a training course for customers…they explain everything that a page can do,” says Steli. “Why the hell do we have to see this? Why do we have to watch somebody…click on everything and show every little detail…?”

And not only is it mind-numbingly boring to watch, but those kinds of demos don’t increase conversions.

So how do you create a product demo that sells?

Show them what they care about

Instead of demonstrating every single feature, demonstrate value.

To do that, you need to understand what they care about, what they need, and why they need it. “Then when you demonstrate a product, you can focus on those things,” he says. “Maybe they should just check out the big two or three items that really relate to what they care about and what they need. You demonstrate how your [product] accomplishes these things, and hopefully in an impressive way.”

Then, give them another 10 to 15 minutes to ask questions. “But you have to keep the prospect focused so that they don’t run off with a million questions that might not even be relevant to what they want to accomplish,” he says. “You kind of rein it in and make sure that you focus on their top priorities in the demo…versus demonstrating everything.”

Written by April Dykman.

In the full course, Steli shows you how to end your product demo so you can close the sale.