I jumped into 8 weeks of sales training with Mr Dan Tyre, HubSpot’s first sales executive of the now multi-billion-pound company, serial investor and co-author the ‘Inbound Organization’. If anyone was going to dispel the common preconception that top salespeople are born with certain personality traits and sales can’t be taught – this was the right person for the job.
A disc personality questionnaire highlights my tendency to ‘strive for stability and a feeling of peace and safety, fearing the loss of security through change’. Peace and safety? Not usually the words you’d associate with a sales call, so it’s safe to say I was completely out of my comfort zone.
This refers to an internal experience of believing that you are not as competent as others perceive you to be. After detailed research into their company website, LinkedIn profile and social media I’ve noticed a few opportunities where we can help grow their business. I’ve also highlighted the best person to speak to – a board level director.
Being in my mid-twenties, it’s also where imposter syndrome creeps in:
Will I be able to answer all of their questions?
Will they take me seriously?
Sometimes I Don’t Like Salespeople
Each year I have the frustration of renewing my home broadband package, with no game consoles or 4K TVs around the house will I notice the different between 50mb and 70mb broadband? Probably not. The fear of sounding like another salesperson trying to upsell me extra phone data I don’t need or a download internet speed I can’t get in my area was echoing in my head.
Nobody likes a cold-call, but Dan quickly reminds us that we’re not cold-calling.
This Is My Script
I have multiple positioning statements which I’ve rehearsed. These are short expressions describing what unique value you provide to your target market and why your prospect should believe you. When picking up the phone, they take away the fear and remind you that you’re there to help.
Another thing that’s rehearsed – silence. For me and I’m sure for many others too silence can feel awkward; go back to that first date or the friend of a friend you’ve been left with while your mate is at the bar. The temptation is to just keep on talking and it’s the same on the sales call.
Apart from that, there is no script. There's a lot of prep beforehand but it’s unique to the business I’m about to call.
Being in an open-office this felt a bit silly at first, now I rarely make a phone-call sitting down. First of all you sound a lot better, there’s less pressure on your diaphragm and psychologically you’ll feel more in control of the conversation.
I’ve done my research, I identified where I can help, I’m ready for this… ring ring ring ring ‘John’s in a meeting at the moment’. There’s a good chance you won’t connect with your prospect on the first dial, the second or even the third. Be human with the receptionist and they might just grant you a conversation.
LAUGHTER IS CONTAGIOUS.
No, really. Robin Dunbar, professor of evolutionary psychology, states that "Because social laughter leads to similar chemical response in the brain, this allows significant expansion of human social networks: laughter is highly contagious, and the endorphin response may thus easily spread through large groups that laugh together."
Dan’s positivity and energy is also contagious. He reminds us to lighten the mood in the sales call and to enjoy it.
Here's an extract from the course:
Eventually, they'll say, "Alright, why are you calling?"
I cackle. Seriously.
They'll laugh because you're clearly having fun.
Answer, "Sometimes I forget." Laugh again.
Trust me, this always lightens the mood. (Unless your prospect is in a major hurry, in which case, you should get the point.)
Respective Key Takeaway
The Pipeline Generation Bootcamp was a fantastic experience. Wearing a HubSpot t-shirt in his living room reflects Dan’s human to human approach. Standing up and being friendly goes a long way, this coupled with research and a personalised approach (this is video in 2019!) goes a long way into filling the sales pipeline.
When I first started the bootcamp 8 weeks ago, engaging with people on the phone was awkward and scary but 100+ calls later I genuinely have the confidence that I can help the people I talk to.