Sales! Its what every business aims for. This week's blog is written by Eric Jacobson, Business Development Manager at IQnection, about his experiences in Dan Tyre's Sales Lion, an exclusive class for Hubspot sales professionals. We hope you can apply some of Eric's suggestions from his experience to your own business. - Greg Cawood, President, IQnection
In September I departed on a customer acquisition journey with Dan Tyre from Hubspot. Dan runs an eight week “Sales Lion” class designed to train salespeople from Hubspot digital marketing agencies to become “Sales Lions.” A “Sales Lion” who graduates from Dan’s class has become an expert at making connect calls. Connect calls establish a connection with a prospect that will lead to a second call to determine whether that business is a good fit for the agency to continue to engage. I was fortunate to have passed the screening interview with Dan. As someone with a customer service background, and a natural introvert, I am as far away from the stereotypical salesman as one can get. I suspect that Dan selected me to round out the team and thought I’d provide comic relief, or at least would laugh at his jokes.
Before we made our first calls, Dan reviewed best practices and calling scripts, and had us do role playing. Dwight D. Eisenhower said, “In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.” Our trip required us to embrace the spirit of a lion. Most cat species live a solitary existence, but the lion is different. Lions have developed a social system based on teamwork within the pride. Our pride was a close family unit centered around Dan Tyre. We practiced calls with our “Lion buddy,” one of the six class participants. Practice calls helped us to improve our phone calling techniques, and we became more comfortable on the phone. I will admit that I was somewhat intimidated by my classmates because the majority were more polished than me, yet we shared a common goal of becoming better connect callers. They say that metal sharpens metal, and having access to other agency sales members to share what worked and commiserate on pitfalls was encouraging. Dan also encouraged us to relax, breathe, and have fun on the calls.
A lion uses its paws to hold down its prey as it bites into it. We were schooled that a “Sales Lion” uses its pause to develop control and avoid sounding like a typical cold caller. Mark Twain said, “It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.” In the class we were informed that a well-timed pause can set the stage for a productive interaction with someone you’ve just met over the phone. We were coached that a salesperson should speak for about 30% of the conversation, which is problematic for most people to maintain. We were informed that when we call someone we are not making a cold call; rather, we are helping them solve their customer acquisition or client engagement challenges and work to develop a competitive advantage over their competitors.
African lions are the laziest of the big cats; however, “Sales Lions” have no time to rest. A lion can be found in the African savanna. A “Sales Lion” can be found in his or her office, standing near a phone wearing a smile next to a company positioning statement taped to the wall near their dream board. The dream board is designed to reinforce for each “Sales Lion” the things that motivate them. The images of family, travel, cars, etc. remind them why they pick up the phone and reach out to someone they don’t know. A lion in Africa hunts to feed itself and the pride. A “Sales Lion” makes calls to reach the end goal of growing their company and for self-pride. I spent many hours in my office with the door closed as I searched for prospects who visited our website or were part of associations to which I belong. I revisited stacks of business cards from people I met at face-to-face networking events and could rekindle some of those relationships.
I discovered that we are one of less than 300 growth agencies in the country. This exclusive club of agencies helps businesses grow by applying Inbound marketing strategies and incorporating the Hubspot marketing automation platform to provide visibility into who specifically visits their website. Since consumer buying habits have changed, we understand that businesses must adapt their marketing to meet the new way consumers purchase. The Hubspot platform helps us to nurture our customer’s prospects through their buyer’s journey until they become sales qualified leads.
Generally, mature male lions have a thick mane of dark hair. As a follicle-challenged person, I am proof that one can become a “Sales Lion” without necessarily looking the part. Appearances are deceiving. You may look at someone and think that they are merely a lion cub, but with the support and encouragement of Dan Tyre's Sales Lion class, they can grow up to be a full-grown “Sales Lion.” And when they graduate you can expect a call that begins like this: “Hi. This is Eric Jacobson from IQnection. (Pause … Pause … Pause).”
Schedule a call with me and let’s see what inbound sales and marketing can do for your business.