I hate selling. I don't think I'm good at it.
I used to say this countless times and usually people who know me smiled since I do run a HubSpot Platinum Solutions Partner agency, where I'm the main sales person. But honestly, saying that was not the case of fishing for compliments. I just don't like many salespeople's approach, because I find them pushy, salesy, and to aggressive. (To the sales people reading: sorry, I'm sure you're not all like that!).
What I did for years, even when I didn't know it was a form of inbound selling, was helping. As Dan Tyre, a HubSpot legend, the first HubSpot's salesperson, an author, speaker, entrepreneur and a fantastic mentor says, always be closing is dead, we should always be helping.
One of the benefits of being a HubSpot Solutions Partner are the numerous ways that HubSpot helps us grow and one of them is also Dan Tyre's Pipeline Generation Bootcamp. It's an intense 8 week course and to be honest I passed on it several times in the past knowing it would require 5+ hours per week that I just didn't think I had. But 2020 is a bit special, so I considered it to be the perfect timing for learning more about prospecting, even though we generate most of our business through referrals and inbound leads.
I learned a ton in 8 weeks of the program, but here are my key takeaways:
- Focus on good fit clients: I thought we already did that, but after this bootcamp we are much more strict. If you follow your company's positioning statement great fit clients are pretty clear. In Actuado, we optimize inbound marketing and sales for companies working internationally, using a customized approach to help drive growth and results with the right martech stack.
- Connect with closed lost clients: I actually never did that in the past. I emailed and called a few now. Some of them worked with an in-house team, some were happy with the current agency, but there were a few that weren't satisfied with the agency they chose. An opportunity for us.
- Talking points: while I am really bad on a script, because I just feel I don't come across as genuine, I love some of the talking points Dan thought us. Tell me more is probably my favorite. The gentle encouragement of the prospect to tell you more about their issues works like a charm for them to dig deeper.
- Active listening: so important both in business and private life. It turns out we often just wait for our turn to speak. Dan reminded us of the 4 step process of truly listening of the prospect, feeding back the content and feeling of what they said, confirming we heard them correctly, and asking relevant questions to further clarify our understanding of their situation.
- Practice and role plays: we did a ton of role plays on our weekly calls and were encouraged to do more with our classmates. I did them with both sales rookies and seasoned sales professionals and I benefited a ton with both. Practicing helped me move from the first few that were awkward to the ones where I was quite satisfied with my output.
- Using video for sales: OK, this one was not that new to me, because we've been using Vidyard for a while in marketing, sales and support. But Dan showed us additional ways to how to personalize the sales process using video. It humanizes the process and it got HubSpot 4 times more booked meetings in comparison to using emails and calls. And in 2020 the use of video is skyrocketing.
- The fairytale number 7 goes to the simple fact of me realizing I can actually do prospecting (see what I did there, Actua-do? 😉) and have a good feeling about it! The bootcamp reframed how I view prospecting, because I know I'm delivering a lot of value to prospects with this consultative approach, even if they don't end up being our clients (yet).
If you aren't as lucky as I was to get into Dan Tyre's Pipeline Generation Bootcamp, I suggest a second best thing: reading the book Inbound Organization he wrote with Todd Hockenberry.