Three Sales Lessons From The Lions
As a co-founder of a boutique growth agency I realized it was time to scale our business and not only focus on growing other peoples businesses. What a concept! The problem was, I hate to sell. I’ve always been so uncomfortable that when I have to do it, frankly, I suck at it. At least that’s what I thought. My mindset defeated me before I even began. I had to break that trend, so I started looking at Sales Optimization strategies to help get me over the hump.
I was fortunate to have the opportunity to head to HubSpot HQ in Boston. There, I met a ton of great people from diverse backgrounds and learned from the most energetic and skillful smarketing duo I’ve ever encountered, Dan Tyre and David Weinhaus. Dan and David are from polar opposite sides of the sales spectrum, yet each a total ninja at what they do. I knew immediately that this was the place I needed to be to get our sales engine humming.
Over the course of the two days in Boston and the following five weeks of virtual meetings, I learned three very critical sales lessons that have already helped us close deals.
No, really. Always help. It is the easiest thing to do, and it feels great. I realized through this workshop that I’ve been selling for most of my professional career. I just looked at it as helping. Yeah, so you might have been someone who bought a bike from me when I was 16 working at a bike shop. I was just so excited about the new components I had to tell you all about them, and if they were too much for your skill level, I’d tell you that too. You might have enrolled in one of the schools I opened. I didn’t think of it as being a sales guy; I was helping people do something they loved and start a career they could be passionate about.
It was not about the money; it was about helping people reach their full potential. By approaching prospective clients with this lens, you will never be that pesky sales person who makes you feel like they are out to suck your blood. By helping them, you become a trusted source for relevant information, and we all prefer to work with people we trust.
Invest In Prospects
Invest in prospects even if they don’t immediately invest in you or your services. This may sound like a waste of your time but everyone has their schedule, and it may not align with yours. They may not immediately see that they need your help because “they don’t know what they don’t know.” Does that mean there is no hope down the line? Absolutely not!
If you are following takeaway #1 (always help), while making new connections within your industry, everyone wins. By positioning yourself as the authority on what it is you can help them with, you are creating a connection based on trust. For example, we help schools increase student enrollment. I’ve been amazed at how many senior marketing and admissions leaders don’t know their most basic conversion metrics.
How can you grow, and grow effectively, if you don’t have a clear view of performance? So we built tools to help them calculate their enrollment conversion metrics, and they can use them regardless of whether or not they are a client. I sincerely want them to get better at what they do, and experience shows that having the proper metrics in view is the first step. We just want to help. Once they understand their metrics, they may conclude that they do need help. Since I’ve already made the connection and established trust, the odds are high; they will ping me back and say “ok Chris, we understand we need your services after all and it’s time.”
Embrace A Process
Embrace a process and leverage new technology. It’s easy to do what you’ve always done and especially if you’ve found some success at it. But what if you could double, triple or quadruple that success? In our agency, we constantly find ourselves saying to clients “If you never want to grow, keep doing the same thing you’ve always done.”
In our Sales Bootcamp, Dan pushed us to lean into a systematic approach to prospecting, try new and personal communication formats like video email and old ones like PICKING UP THE PHONE! Have fun with it and be human. Sure, it can be a bit intimidating to learn a new technology or process, but by not embracing them you are allowing your competitors to hit you hard and steal that competitive advantage. Who doesn’t want a competitive advantage?
So what does all this mean?
It boils down to thinking in terms of a Human-to-Human sales approach. My first prospecting call after my time in Boston was a mess. I was nervous and way outside of my comfort zone. Even though I had sheets of papers with talking points lined out on the desk, and all of the strategies I learned fresh on my mind, none of it went as planned. I wanted off that call fast, and so did the executive on the other end. I was so disappointed, but I regrouped and talked myself through what I learned from the experience. This helped me develop strategies that kept me from making the same mistakes with my next prospect.
The next call was totally different. The company did not need our help at the time, (or at least they didn’t think they do), and that ‘s okay too. We had a great conversation, agreed to keep in touch, and laid the groundwork for what can lead to a positive connection in the future. They may or may not turn into a client for us, but the Human-to-Human approach helped us make a new connection and enjoy getting to know them.
Remember, nothing big comes from the comfort zone. Challenge yourself, be open to new concepts and ideas, and create a sales process that benefits everyone. Help, Invest, Embrace. Be a lion!
If you want to kick your company's growth engine into overdrive we can help. By aligning marketing and sales (smarketing) you will increase your lead generation, customer acquisition and competitive advantage. That equals GROWTH!