Business of Law Track: Every Lawyer is Also a Salesperson

(lively music)

(audience applauds)

- Feel that excitement?

Feel that vigor?

How has everyone's day been so far?


You got keynotes, you got acquisitions,

you got Kelly McGonigal.

You've gotten everything that you could imagine

for day one of Clio Cloud Conference number six.

Can we give it up for that?

(audience applauds)


And I know that we're getting close

to the end of that day, and I know

that your energy's maybe getting a little bit lower.

You're gonna drop it to the floor soon in that second line,

but we still have a really exciting

presentation for you coming up.

Now our next presenter is, I would say,

a close friend of mine,

or maybe just someone I have met before.

He is our Senior Vice President of Sales at Clio.

He has brought a complete attitude to Clio

that has really helped propel us to where we are today,

and keep letting us do what we do.

He's going to be talking to you about how you,

as a lawyer, are also a sales person.

But you don't wanna hear it from me,

so without further ado I'd love to introduce

the one and only Steven Silberbach!

(audience applauds) (man in audience yells)

- (laughs) Thanks, Jesse.

Glad we don't have to cart you out of here on a stretcher.

You almost went down. (audience laughs)

All right, good afternoon everybody.

I'm excited to be here.

My name is Steven Silberbach as Jesse said.

I am the Senior Vice President of Global Sales here at Clio.

I've been with the company for over five years

and I've been to all six of our Clio Cons.

This one is undoubtedly the biggest and best.

It's been an amazing day so far.

I hope you guys are having a great time.

Yeah, let's hear it.

(audience cheers)

So we're in the big room, which is awesome.

This is a big room.

It is impossible to make this room look full

when there's three other amazing presentations

going on in the other rooms.

But I'm gonna do this for my LinkedIn profile anyway.

And we're gonna call it standing room only,

regardless of what it actually says in here.

Thank you very much.

All right, we're at it. (laughs)

My goal today is I wanna have some fun.

I wanna give you some new things to think about.

I wanna help you maybe get some more business,

but certainly think about your business

in a way that maybe you haven't thought about before.

That's our goal today.

If you come out of here and you've learned

something and had some fun then I'll consider

it a pretty successful 30 minutes.

So the official title of my talk today

was Every Lawyer is Also a Salesperson.

And I kind of actually completely believe that.

I'm not a lawyer myself, obviously.

I've been in tech, tech sales,

tech leadership, my entire career.

But because of that, I'm really excited

to talk to you about how I think about selling,

and more specifically how we together

can think about selling value.

That's where I'm gonna spend the first part

of my discussion, that sell high piece.

And in the second part, I'm gonna kinda flip it around,

completely change directions a little bit,

go to the buy low piece, move the negotiation table

to the other side, and give you some tips and tricks

about how to be an educated buyer

of cloud services and subscriptions.

I've been doing this nearly my whole career.

I'm gonna give you a little bit of the special sauce

about how to be a great buyer,

both sides of the relationship is what I'm hoping

we're gonna accomplish today in these 30 minutes.

Should be fun.

Let's dive in.

So this morning you heard an amazing amount

of new product that we're releasing,

that we're introducing over the next

quarter in the coming year.

Jack did an amazing job highlighting

everything that's coming.

We're excited about so much great stuff.

We're excited, obviously, about our Clio Grow

and the acquisition of Lexicata

and them joining us is going to be amazing.

There's so much great stuff

and so many great sessions for you to learn

about all the great, new things that are coming.

I encourage you to go visit the Smart Bar in the Clio Lab,

and the demo room where most of my sales team

that's here is hanging out today.

So with that, I am gonna commit

to spend this next 27 minutes

not talking about the product at all,

'cause I'm probably the least-qualified guy

at the Clio company to talk about the product.

I'm gonna talk about sales.

We're gonna kinda talk about it from both sides

of the negotiation table, no product talk today.

So I think the best way to dive in

and to begin this conversation is to use

kind of the Legal Trends Report

that I'm sure you're starting to hear a lot of

to frame our conversation this afternoon.

If you had a chance to attend George's session this morning,

he dove really deep into lots of really interesting

things about the Legal Trends Report.

He kind of created the narrative

that I think is so relevant in today

as our world kind of expands

and our marketplace morphs and changes.

I'm gonna spend a little bit of time today

talking about I think really two key pieces

of the Legal Trends Report that are really important

for the modern-day law firm.

We're gonna dive in and talk about only about two

and then we're gonna see how that plays in.

You've probably seen this slide a couple of times.

It's been in every Legal Trends Report,

or variation of it, since we started,

since our very first one three years ago.

It is the one that has formed

basically the narrative for all

of the three years and still holds really true today.

We know, and our data and our surveys tell us,

that of your eight-hour workday,

or you possible billable eight-hour workday,

only 2.4 hours of those eight are being billed to clients.

And as you move down that funnel,

you get to the bottom of that 1.6 hours

of actually being collected,

and those numbers kinda become concerning.

There's been a lot of great talks so far

and there'll be more coming up

that talks to you about how to address that.

I'm gonna take a certain angle to that,

but I think it's a really important piece.

So the big question is, where is that time going?

What are you doing with that six hours or so

that you're not billing your clients for?

And this data shows, and this is probably

the second most popular slide we've put up

in Legal Trends Report since we announced it,

is nearly half of all that time

is being spent on administrative tasks.

We see them there, office admin, technology,

sending out bills, trying to collect money,

doing all that stuff.

It's important work, but it's just

not work that's making you money

and I wanna talk about how we can

maximize the time that you are.

We also see that about 60% is being spent

on licensing and education.

That's probably a pretty good use of your time.

Probably should continue to do that.

But I wanna spend our time on that top orange bar,

the 33% that you identify as business development.

You like to call it business development,

I like to call it sales, 'cause that's what it is.

And what's really interesting about this 33% is

it's in many cases not being deliberately carved out

as business development time.

Most lawyers report that they are not putting

in their calendar "I am gonna spend 33%

of my day in business development work".

Some might do it, but it's not

a deliberate part of your day.

And if it's not gonna be billable time,

I propose that you spend as much time

as you can trying to figure out

how you can grow your business and earn more business.

So what I wanna do in the next few minutes

is take some time to figure out

how we can at least maximize that 33% you are spending

and maybe help you realize how important it is

to make it a crucial part of your business.

So my first order of business when I was doing

some research for this was to kind of dive in

and see what kind of rules governed

the selling of legal services.

It was actually pretty fun research to do.

I'm a tech sales guy, been in tech sales my entire career.

Our rule book is really thin.

It's like don't get fired and barring that,

try not to get arrested.

And pretty much everything else is open for debate for us.

So we've got not a lot of rules to govern how we do it.

But I was not surprised to see that the legal profession

has a lot of rules that govern it.

There's a lot of things you cannot do.

There's some things you can do.

We're gonna talk about that,

but things you can do aren't as exciting

as the things you're not allowed to do, but we'll dive in.

This information comes from the American Bar Association.

It's pretty common across all jurisdictions.

There are some slight differences between states,

but for the most part, these are the ethics rules

regarding selling as it is described

in the way we think about it.

So let's start with what you cannot do.

These are pretty fun.

So, no cold calling.

You cannot pick up the phone,

you cannot fill a room with 22 year olds

blasting a hundred calls a day

to all of your potential clients

in hopes that you can bring in some business.

You can't do it.

We can do it in sales.

We do it all time.

In fact, I have a room full of 22 year olds.

It's a nice room, but it is a room full

of 22 year olds making dials all day long.

You can't do that.

You can't go after your potential clients,

but that is an important distinction.

You can't go after potential clients.

We'll talk a little bit later about what you can do.

If you're a current Clio customer,

you've probably been on the receiving end

of one of those calls from my team.

I hope you have, and if you are,

I hope he treated you well.

You're here so it probably went okay.

If you haven't or you aren't yet a Clio customer,

we're probably coming for you, too, so expect that call,

but at least you'll know it's coming now.

This becomes really important with this kind

of limitation that your lead generation

activities become that much more important.

You really have to focus on the things

you are allowed to do to grow your business.

Okay, so we know you're not allowed

to cold call potential clients.

It turns out you're also not allowed to lie.

I know, I know. (laughs)

The rules say: no false or misleading communications.

That's rule 7.1 in the ethics guidelines.

You just can't do it.

I'm gonna stop for a minute.

You probably all have this joke rattling around

in your head about what legal salespeople

can or cannot do based on do not lie,

so figure out with you think is funny

and come tell me at the bar tonight,

'cause I'm sure I've heard them all

but I'd love to hear what you're thinking.

So what's interesting here is language

becomes really important for this unverifiable claims piece.

So you can't say, as an example,

that you're the best lawyer in New Orleans, even if you are.

You can't say you've won the biggest settlements

or the biggest judgements in New York City

even if you have because you can't back it up,

you can't verify it.

So this starts to build the narrative around

articulating value becomes that much more important

when you're living under these kinds of limitations,

limitations that most other salespeople just don't have.

All right, so you can't cold call, you can't lie.

You also can't spend too much time

patting yourself on the back for all

the great work you do to your potential clients.

You gotta be really careful about

setting expectations or putting clear disclaimers

around anything you say to your clients.

You know, it's interesting.

Every great salesperson loves

to highlight their track record of success,

and you can too, but you just have to be really

careful about it and you've got to wrap it

in a lot of really important disclaimers

or you're violating this rule.

So as an example, you can probably say

"I won a $5 million judgment in a case similar to yours,

although I can't guarantee that I'm gonna

get similar results for you".

That's a pretty catchy sales phrase.

You can say that, but I don't recommend that you do it.

You can't say "I won a $5 million judgment

and I'm gonna do the exact same thing for you",

'cause you're not putting a justification around it.

You can't say that.

That would be a much better thing to do, right?

I've got it, don't worry about it, go home.

I'm gonna get you that five mil.

You'd like to do it, but you probably can't.

Tech sales people, we can say whatever we want,

however we want it as long as we can back it up.

We're actually pretty good about backing it up as well.

But this also is particularly limiting

in the way that you can advertise and sell

your product and services.

So the actual list of what you can't do

is longer than this, but gets no more exciting than this.

But this helps us set the stage

for what we're gonna talk about

for the rest of the afternoon today.

So with that, let's kinda flip it around

to talk a little bit about the stuff you can do.

Again, not as exciting,

but important to frame the conversation.

So if your remember earlier, I said

you could not cold call potential new clients?

That's true, but you can cold call other lawyers,

and you can do it all day long,

and you should be doing it all day long.

This is where your opportunity

to create that referral network,

and we'll talk about it in a minute, comes in.

You can go back and fill that room full of 22 year olds now

and build your own boiler room of cold callers,

but they have to be calling

for potential business with other lawyers,

so you have to build those relationships.

And it very quickly becomes a very necessary part

of your business development plan.

It's really the key to your business development plan.

What I don't have time to do today

is talk about all the great ways

to do cold calling and all the methodologies

and all the data-driven stuff that sales people use

in order to make sure they're effective.

We could do other sessions on that

and I'd love to talk to you about it separately.

We don't have time to do that today,

but there are lots of great ways to mount

an outbound effort to build your referral network,

which is your version of cold calling.

Really important.

I know I promised no product, but it would be,

it's one of those things I might

get fired for if I don't bring up.

So this was really important.

We announced this this morning.

This fits perfectly into this narrative.

Our new Clio Referral Network is the foundation

and the platform that's gonna allow you

to build that outbound, prospecting effort

to potential other lawyers who you can

both exchange business back and forth.

This is how you cold call.

And you can beat these guys up every day.

You can call other lawyers every day and say hey,

do you have any business you can refer

to me in my area of specialty

when I'll do the same thing back for you?

You can do that all day long.

I encourage you to take a look at that.

This is part of our new Clio Grow initiative,

and it's a pretty amazing way to kind of up your game

and get even a solo, having an active outbound effort.

All right, so what else are you allowed to do?

It doesn't get anymore exciting from here,

but we'll talk about them anyway.

You can describe yourself using non-comparable traits.

That sounds pretty exciting.

So here's how this sounds.

You can be a hard worker,

you just can't be the hardest worker.

You can't say I'm the hardest-working lawyer

in New Orleans, even though you might be.

You can be an accomplished litigator.

You can't be the most accomplished litigator.

It's like that precise.

You can be a strong advocate.

You can't be the strongest advocate.

You get the idea.

You just can't do anything that doesn't

put this massive disclaimer around you,

but you can start to talk about your value,

and that's what this is.

Tech sales guys, we be with we wanna be,

we can say whatever we wanna say,

we can back it up with our product

and we're not bound by these rules.

This is really limiting but I really kinda starts

to build on what we wanna spend some of the time.

And finally, the last thing that I think I'll bring up

today because it helps is you can talk

about the basics of your availability,

your responsiveness, your general abilities.

Nothing particularly game changing here,

but at least you can talk about and say

"I'll answer your phone call 24 hours a day if you need me".

That's probably some value that you could think about,

but still pretty limiting.

So what's interesting about all this

is if you wrap all this up together,

especially these last two slides,

these to me fall into a broader category

that I wanna spend the rest of the time talking

about today which is selling on value.

Because you're so limited in what you can and cannot do,

you have to be really precise about delivering

a value and a differentiated value that makes sense

to your clients and that will allow you to have

an opportunity to separate yourself from the pack.

What makes selling on value amazing

is the best salespeople are great at this.

You can be bad at every other aspect of selling,

but if you can articulate value in a really precise way,

you're pretty much guaranteed to be a great salesperson.

You also have to be willing

to make a hundred phone calls a day,

but when you're making them,

you better be able to say good stuff.

And it's really the key to great selling

regardless of what you're selling

and who you're selling to,

and that's where this is so effective

and so applicable to the legal industry.

The real challenge here is establishing

a value proposition that resonates

and then evolve it for a constantly changing market,

a constantly changing customer,

and a constantly changing market dynamics.

That's really tough to do,

and as we heard this morning at Jack's amazing keynote

about our own evolving value proposition,

that we're going from a practice management solution

that basically allows you to run a more efficient firm,

pretty good value proposition.

We don't talk about that anymore.

Now we're this platform for the client experience.

Just think about how far that came from where we were.

That's an evolving value proposition

that everybody needs to think about.

I spent eight and a half years

at before I joined Clio,

and I still think one of the best selling

and marketing organizations in technology,

we evolved our value proposition once a quarter.

Just as we had nailed it, we changed it

because we always knew we had to say something different

to differentiate in a very crowded market,

even though we were the clear leader.

It's the same thing we're doing here at Clio.

We've got to change our value proposition

and add more value so that we can stand out from the pack.

And I think that's your challenge.

So what I'd like to do is play with a few non-legal examples

of how to think about value in a different way.

Nothing to do with the legal industry,

but I hope it'll resonate.

One is kind of an old-school story

that you may or may not have heard of,

and the other one is much more modern

around a technology that my sales team in Toronto,

who I think that a number of them

are in the room here, use every day.

Hopefully this will help

illustrate what we're talking about.

So the story goes something like this.

There was a new CEO of Black & Decker,

walked into a room full of his sales and marketing people,

kinda old-school folks, walked in there and held up a drill

and said to this room full of salespeople

and marketing people, is this what Black & Decker sells?

And he holds up this big drill and he watches everybody,

and they give the predictable answers.

"Yeah, that's like our best-selling model".

"Yeah, we sell drills".

"We sell those and we sell other power tools".

"That's who we are".

"That's who we've been for a hundred years".

The CEO was trying to get to a new place.

He was trying to get them to think deeper.

Sure they sell drills.

But then what he did was he held up a piece of wood

with a hole drilled in it and said, "this is what we sell".

"We sell the hole, right?"

This is the game changer.

This is that level one of value.

We use a selling methodology

at Clio called the Sandler Method,

and part of the Sandler Method is really

based on evolving value propositions.

So level one value is this, we're going one level deeper.

We don't sell drills.

We sell your ability to make a hole

for something that's gonna be important for you.

It's pretty common, but people don't think about it

and everybody looked at him kind of stunned like huh?

That makes sense, but I never thought

of articulating it that way.

That's kind of how the story ended for a while,

but as things got more modern and people had

to think about it in a different way,

I think they needed to go to a level two of value.

They needed to go even deeper.

And I propose that kind of this is the level

two value of that drill, is this.

We don't sell holes.

We sell this, we sell a lifestyle.

We sell a project, right?

So this kind of changes it,

and as we evolve our value discussion,

we get farther and farther away from the core product.

I can guarantee people talking and enjoying this deck

were not having a lot of discussion

with the guy who built it about the drill he used.

Guarantee it, but he couldn't have done it without it.

If you wanted to take this to a level three of value,

you might show that deck with a big party going on

or a wedding happening, or a barbecue,

and you'd say that's the drill's all about.

I can have my friends over.

That's how you start to think about value

at a completely different level.

The drill never enters into the conversation.

Okay, so that's a bit of the old-school one.

Has anybody ever heard that story before?

It's kind of a legendary story in sales.

It gets told in a lot of different ways,

but it still really resonates and it's still valuable.

Let me tell you quickly about this other story that I love.

So if the Toronto team's in here

then they're gonna know this one

and I picked it up because I'm fascinated by these guys.

So this company is called Ritual.

They're based in Toronto.

They're basically an app that allows you

to order food from local restaurants,

usually at lunch and breakfast.

You order it through the app, you pick your menu items,

you pay through the app through a card

you've already inserted, you place your order,

and then the app tells you when it's gonna be ready

and also measures how far you are in walking distance

from the restaurant and tells you when

to start walking to pick up your food.

You go to the quick service restaurant,

you pick up your lunch, it's got your name on it,

you come back, and they do all kinds of other stuff

that you can see there.

This actually their listing on the Apple Store, the iStore,

because this is what they do as their value to the end user.

Now, Piggybank, earn rewards.

It's a fascinating app and it's pretty simple.

They're already in a pretty crowded marketplace,

Uber Eats, SkipTheDishes, and others.

They have to figure out how

to differentiate in a tough market.

I had the chance to speak to the CEO a couple of times.

Pretty cool guys, he's a former Google guy, pretty young.

His company has raised over $110 million

in venture capital funding.

Everybody in Toronto in my office,

we have about 50 people there,

we live and die by this app.

This feeds us almost every day.

When I started to talk to the CEO,

I wanted to get an understanding

of what he viewed as value,

and what he explained to me as I was trying

to dive in and figure out what's level one,

level two value, and I assumed it was

the level one, level two for the user,

for us going to get the food.

And he said "sure, but that's not who I sell to".

"You buying food, you're not my customer".

"My customers are the restaurants".

"They're the ones who pay to use this".

"So I kinda don't care about what you think".

"I need to get them to adopt in order for you to do this".

So he said, "The way we sell to restaurants is simple".

"We go in there and we will sell you increased demand."

That's like a level three level of value.

It's not about any of this.

It's about I guarantee you I will deliver

you more business than you could ever imagine

if you didn't have this app.

That to me is kind of a game-changing way

to think about level three, level two value

in a very crowded marketplace in a very new technology.

This stuff fascinates me and I wanna kind of

wrap it up a little bit before I kinda

bring this part to a conclusion

with an interesting way to help you visualize this

as you go about doing this for yourself.

Here's a little takeaway,

a little test to pull it all together.

Call it the steering wheel test

and it works really well when you're trying

to help establish your own value.

So think about this, here's how it works.

Think about the last time you went to buy a car

and think about that situation.

If you haven't bought a car in the age of Uber,

you might not have one, but you probably

understand how the process goes.

Think about when you went in to buy a car

and think about the answer to these

kind of four basic questions.

When you went into the dealership,

how much time did the salesman proactively spend

talking about the steering wheel

in the car you were looking at?

Then second question, think about how many questions

did you ask the dealer about the steering wheel

and its features and functions?


Question three, how much did the steering wheel factor

into your decision on which car you were gonna buy?

So you went in there and maybe you're looking

at three or four different cars,

three or four different models.

How much did the steering wheel factor into the decision

of the car that you finally ended up buying?

And finally, would you have bought any of those cars

if it didn't have a steering wheel?


So the answer pretty quickly is almost none,

almost none, almost none, absolutely not.

So there's no way you're buying

a car without a steering wheel,

but I had zero impact on your decision

to buy a car, or which car to buy.

If you apply that test to how

you think about your own value,

it's gonna be easier to figure out how

you can get to your level two and level three.

I would propose the steering wheel is your law degree.

So you've got to take it a couple levels deeper than that.

Okay, so I dove in.

I wanted to see what lawyers actually thought about this,

and I certainly didn't have the capability

to do a survey, but we found one.

There's a great article written

by a lawyer called Jordan Furlong,

the Law21 Blog, and it was written

about five or six years ago.

And it was literally called "What Do Lawyers Sell?"

And what he did was he went out there

and he surveyed informally about a hundred lawyers

and asked them that very question, what do lawyers sell?

He asked a hundred of them, what do you think you got?

He didn't get a hundred different answers.

He actually got five answers that fell

into these basically broad categories.

It was informal, but.

So this is what lawyers said they sell.

Time, nobody buys or sells time.

It's innocuous.

Expertise, it's kinda table stakes.

It's kind of a little too

ubiquitous to carry any real weight.

It's a feature at best, maybe the steering wheel.

Excellence is maybe only slightly

better than expertise, not much.

Solutions kinda gets there in kinda level two,

like you sell solutions, but solutions kinda just implies

that every legal task is for solving a problem

and they're not always solving a problem.

So solutions sometimes don't work.

And then value which is funny to me,

because saying value isn't value.

Oh, I sell value.

What does that mean?

Value isn't value.

So they're all around but still people

weren't diving in and trying to get an understanding

of really how to figure out their own value.

So if you follow through the article a little further,

Jordan Furlong proposes what he thinks

is the best answer for what do lawyers really sell,

and actually gets pretty close

to a value two, and that's this.

That's actually pretty good.

Peace of mind is level two value.

You bring me a problem, you bring me a concern,

you're at a place in your life where you need help,

I'm gonna deliver you peace of mind.

I got it, don't worry.

We're gonna get it done.

That's pretty good value if you can

build it into a bigger thing.

Now I'm no lawyer, so I'm not one to propose

what better ones could could like than that,

but not surprisingly, lawyers who read the article

chimed right in and if you read the comments

on this article, they came up with a whole pile

of other ones which are pretty interesting.

I actually like number two a lot.

It sounds like it's as a result

of something tragic potentially in your life,

but that's a pretty good value proposition.

And some of the others are good,

some are not so good, but I think this is a really

interesting way that people are starting

to think about how they're gonna articulate their value

because they know hey, I'm a lawyer with a law degree.

I can solve your problems and you can

get it done in today's modern world.

Pretty impactful, pretty fun.

So I wrap it up with that.

That's the part of the value propositions

that I hope, if nothing else, got you thinking

about what you do and how you're gonna articulate

what you do to your potential clients.

I hope you go out there and prospect and talk to them,

build some networks, talk to other lawyers.

They'll help you, and establish your own compelling value.

I'd love to talk to you about it later.

I'm pretty passionate about this stuff.

It's what makes great salespeople.

It's what we think about a lot.

We think about it a lot at Clio.

I think Jack did a fantastic job this morning

of articulating Clio's evolving value.

I think he did amazing.

Think about yours and I hope this was helpful.

Okay, got only about five minutes left.

I wanna switch it around a little bit.

I wanna completely change trajectory here,

go to this buy low part.

I'm gonna switch the negotiating table around

and tell you how to make your best.

I'm gonna give you a few tips,

a little bit of the secret sauce

on how to make your best deal

when you're buying technology,

when you're buying subscriptions,

when you're in this cloud world.

Pretty much anything to do with tech,

these are gonna be pretty important.

I'm not gonna give you any secrets I'm scared to give away.

I want you enabled.

You may have already bought Clio,

and we probably had some of these go down between us.

You may not have, but now you'll be better prepared.

But you'll absolutely be better prepared

when you go out and buy whatever else it is

you're gonna buy to add to your tech stack,

which I know you're gonna buy more of.

I'm gonna kinda just riff on these

really quickly 'cause I'm running out of time.

I got five things I wanna bring to your attention.

So here we go, let's start with number one.

Okay, compelling event and timing.

Sales people care about timing.

You may not, we do.

We're not gonna try to make

your timing not be good for you,

but we're gonna ask about it

and we're gonna ask you to commit.

The compelling event portion of timing

is we're gonna help you work backwards

from whatever it is important

that's driving your decision to move forward.

Compelling event being I'm opening a new firm,

I'm hiring some new people,

I'm doing a year-end audit and I need new software,

I wanna start something new in January,

I'm deprecating old software.

Any of these things might be compelling events.

They're important for us 'cause they help us

work with you and establish a timeline

that allows us to secure resources.

So we're gonna ask you for a timeline

and I hope you have one, and if not,

we'll help you establish one by working backwards.

Okay, that's number one.

Number two, up-front contract.

Lawyers in the room probably get

pretty excited about a contract.

Sales guys, we don't love contracts,

but in this case, this is really helpful.

What an up-front contract is in various forms is

your salesperson's gonna say hey,

let's agree on how this sales engagement is gonna go, okay?

I need you to commit that when you promised

to get on a demo with the rest of your firm

that we can actually get that done,

that you will work hard behind the scenes

to get those people on the demo.

And I'll commit to bring the resources

to make sure we make it a compelling demo.

When we ask you to give us access to decision makers,

introductions, give us a timeline,

all of that stuff just so that we can be on the same page.

Not gonna force you or ask you to do anything

that you're not comfortable with,

we just want an agreement that this is how it's gonna go

and we should all do our best to get there.

Things happen, let us know.

It might not be presented to you "hey,

I'm now going to ask you

to do (laughs) this up front contract",

but we are gonna ask for some commitment

or we're just gonna say are we good on that?

Can we agree that we're gonna go through these milestones

and on the 15th of this month we're gonna

come to a decision and we're gonna make it move forward?

That's what we're hoping for.

Usually it happens verbally often followed up with an email.

What I found over my career both at Salesforce and Clio

is our best sales engagements happened

when we had an up-front contract,

both for the buyer and the seller.

They were much more satisfied

with the engagement and so were we.

Okay, buying process.

Not dissimilar to the up-front contract,

we need to understand how you buy.

What do you need to do in order to get to a decision?

We just wanna know so that we can work

through those elements and help you be more successful.

We need to understand how have you bought

software like this in the past?

Who needs to sign off on it?

Who might need to see a demo?

How do you normally handle payment?

What's your payment cycle?

How do you plan to roll this out?

We want and need to know all of it,

not because we're digging in

and trying to make you uncomfortable,

because that's how we're gonna help you be successful.

Every technology salesperson's gonna wanna understand this.

If you don't know it, which happens often surprisingly,

we'll work with you.

We'll help you understand how we do it

with other companies and we'll help get

through this and make that up front contract

and the buying process that much easier.

I know this one sounds weird.

We want you to buy the max that you need,

but don't buy any more than you need.

And that sounds kind of obvious.

Like sales guy trying to get maximum dollars out of you.

And to some degree that's probably true.

That's why we're paid to be salespeople.

But the beauty of SaaS and cloud is you never

have to buy more than you need, right?

If you have six people on your firm, don't buy seven.

No good SaaS sale guy will ever try

to sell you seven, even if you're growing.

We'll sell you that seventh one when you add that person.

But buy all that you need so we can give you

all the value that comes with buying that.

So we can get resources, train everybody together,

and deliver on the value that we bought.

If you come and say I've got a 10-person firm,

you agree that you're gonna buy 10,

at the last minute you say we're gonna try it with two,

it denigrates the opportunity for you

to get really successful with our software early,

and that's what we care about most believe it or not.

We want you on it, we want you staying it,

we want you loving it, and we want you getting value

and buying the maximum allows you to do that.

And finally communicate your decision to us.

I know this sounds obvious, but this is one

of the things that drives salespeople insane.

We do our up-front contract, we get to a point.

We agree that on the 15th of the month

we're gonna execute on this deal.

You guys are excited to go and then something happens.

All we want you to do is communicate with us.

We have a bit of a mantra in sales

and the mantra goes like this.

We absolutely want a yes when it comes to decision time.

We want you to say yes, we want you to buy.

That's what we're hoping for, but we'll accept a no.

We're okay with a no as long as we understand why.

Maybe makes our heads explode,

and especially if it's maybe at the last minute

when we think we're getting to that place.

It's okay to change your mind.

It's okay to need more time.

It's okay to all of those things,

but just communicate it with your salesperson

who is advocating on your behalf

for the rest of the company.

My sales team works with me and their managers

to say hey, I wanna do this deal with this customer.

We wanna give this kind of resource.

That's important, and if this decision

isn't articulated to us clearly,

it's harder for us to deliver on that

and the salesperson gets caught in a spot

where it's viewed as they didn't

know their customer well enough

and they've advocated to you and now we can't deliver.

So that's really important.

And that concludes the five.

This list could be a hundred things long,

but I think these five are pretty applicable

to everything you're gonna do

and every technology you're gonna buy.

I hope it helps you understand better how to work with us.

We're very open.

We often will talk about these and say this

is how we're gonna work together, I hope that's okay,

and it always makes those sales

engagements go that much better.

I'm at the end of my time.

I really appreciate you spending

time with me this afternoon.

I hope it was informative.

I hope you had a little fun.

I hope you learned something new.

I hope you were happy that we didn't spend

this 30 minutes talking about product.

Enjoy the rest of the conference.

Thank you everybody.

(audience applauds)

(lively music)