Coming from an editorial background, I didn’t know exactly what to expect from Dan Tyre’s Pipeline Generation Bootcamp. Our agency, madison/miles media, has done well at generating business, but we’re always interested in growing and learning new, more efficient ways to manage the process.
I’ll admit it; I’m not the kind of guy who likes to pick up the phone and call people all day long. (That’s why I got in this business from the editorial side!) But, as the creative director and co-founder of our company, I knew that it was important to understand how today’s sales process works — and what doesn’t work at all.
Our agency is grounded in HubSpot’s principles and practices, so I knew that if I was going to do any kind of sales training, it had to be the one offered by Dan Tyre. I've had a lot of respect for Dan for a long time. He's HubSpot’s Sales Director and played a key role in helping it grow into the high-profile and highly reputable company that it is today.
His bootcamp came around at the right time; we are in the midst of a growing our agency, so learning the best way to attract new business is at the top of our goals. I cleared my Monday afternoons on the calendar and committed them to Dan’s weekly video conferences.
The video calls are more than just training; they're also a chance to connect with my cohorts in the bootcamp and to hear what worked well for them in the past week. That was helpful in itself; I got to hear real people telling actual examples of their victories, losses and what they learned from both.
And here’s what I learned from it:
Takeaway 1: Learn to Connect
The Connect Call is probably the most effective way to gather the background information you need to find out if you can move forward with a prospective client. So much of this is about a mindset, which plays out in the next three takeaways.
A connect call is different from cold calling, but what makes it exceptional isn’t just the process, it’s the purpose. Before getting on the phone, I learned the importance of research to build rapport with the prospect. Learning their background and knowing as much about them before getting on the phone takes some of the anxiety out of calling. It feels like calling up someone you’re already familiar with, and I had the confidence that I’d be able to offer a solution for them.
Then, when it’s time to make the call, you can do a surprising amount of discovery in just a short, 15-minute call.
The connect call is about focusing on their needs and areas of improvement, not telling them what you can do for them. In other words, it’s like going on a first date and letting the other person talk about what they’re looking for in another person. After that, it’s a lot easier to know how to make this work.
Takeaway 2: Know What Questions to Ask
Asking the right questions is something that really resonated with me, of course; it’s what I’ve been doing my whole career.
Every good story begins with asking the right questions. Ask the wrong questions, and you’ll miss out on a fact or detail that could change the whole texture of the story. The same thing is true here: Instead of asking the “how,” we learned to ask the “why” — and when you change the question, you change the answer.
Learning to ask the “why” changes the information we receive about prospective clients. If we know why they have a certain need or desire — if we know why it’s important to reach that goal — then we have a much better chance at developing solutions that will suit their unique situation.
Takeaway 3: Words Matter
Again, this is one that I could appreciate, since I originally got into this business to be able to use my words. I’ve always known that the words we choose and use can have a powerful impact, but Dan put that into a different perspective for me.
madison/miles media is already big on using positive language, particularly when talking with clients, but also in our day-to-day interactions. The Pipeline Generation Bootcamp added one more dimension to this focus on language, by teaching us what phrases we can use to appeal directly to prospective clients instead of scaring them off with agency-speak and empty marketing phrases.
Takeaway 4: It’s All About the Humans
Dan likes to talk about H2H, which is totally different than H2O, but in many ways is just as important. H2H is “human to human,” and it reminds us that no matter what business or industry we are calling on, we aren’t calling the business — we’re calling the people within the business.
Learning to approach people on a human level, not just as a prospect or a job title, can change the way you reach out to them. Offering them help, not just selling a product, can change how they respond to what you have to say.
All of these takeaways are effective elements of selling, and they’re good practices to adopt just as part of your everyday living: Connect with others, know what questions to ask them, use the right language and always remember that you’re talking to a real person, not a job title.
In the end, what I learned most is that sales and content aren’t all that different. We’re working toward the same goal, and it takes the same method and mindset to make it happen.