Raise of hands, how many of you “love” cold calling? I am guessing not many of you.
When I was a senior in college, we had plenty of job fairs come through campus. Many of my friends were taking entry level sales jobs at various companies large and small. The writing was on the wall, they were cold calling positions or even door to door sales jobs. At the time, I was finishing up my senior film project and swore I would NEVER be a salesperson.
Oh how the times have changed!
As the President and Director Business Development at Beacons Point, my primary role is to bring in the new business, aka sales. My dad was a top salesman at Hormel Foods for 30 years, and he seemed to have a great life. Golf tournaments, sales trips and the annual sales cruise trips for being a top salesman. That part didn’t seem too bad but still, I did not like the idea of picking up the phone and trying to sell someone on a product or service.
I had some apprehension when I transitioned into my role at Beacons Point, not only due to the pressure of growing the company and bringing in new clients, but also because my lack of experience and knowledge of what it takes to be a salesperson made me feel somewhat limited.
Now, let’s rewind to 8 weeks ago.
8 weeks ago, I started the HubSpot Academy Pipeline Generation Bootcamp lead by none other, Dan Tyre, HubSpot Sales Director and employee #6. I am guessing most of you do not know who Dan Tyre is, I didn’t either until I started the bootcamp, but this man can change lives. I don’t put many people on this list…. Abraham Lincoln, Maya Angelou, Brian Serocke, and now Dan Tyre. Honestly, stop reading this article and find him on Linkedin and ask him to be your friend.
In this 8-week bootcamp I joined 9-10 other agency owners, sales leaders and all around awesome people and we learned some valuable lessons on how to sell inbound marketing and how the sales process has changed in the last five to 10 years. Dan refers to all of those in the bootcamp as LIONS! Ready to roar and take on the world! Below is our final class "selfie" with Dan, dressed in a Lion costume!
Many of the changes run parallel with the inbound marketing methodology, and how content marketing has revolutionized marketing, putting your customer first and finding a way to help before you start offering your service.
I talked about how the sales process has changed in a previous article, Always Be Helping.
Here are my top 3 takeaways from 8 weeks with Dan Tyre and my other Lions. Just a warning, they may not be what you expect.
I generally feel like a nice, happy guy. When I meet new people or walk by a stranger on the street, I like to think I more often than not smile and say “hi”. But, when I get on the phone and call someone for the first time a wave of panic, stress and anxiety washes over me. I tense up and nervously make my way through the call, or at least that used to be my approach.
One of the first lessons we learned was to SMILE. Simple right? When you smile, even on the phone, your disposition, voice, and attitude change. If you sound like a nervous sales person, you will be treated with caution. If you sound like a happy, smiling person, you will be accepted with open arms - most of the time :).
Once I relaxed and smiled more on the phone, things got a little easier. I saw some success with my calls (remember, calling gets the business!) and I began to have some fun. I remember having a one-on-one call with Dan around week three or four, and talking about how my nervousness had begun to fade. He reminded me that I am selling to another person on the end of the phone and that this is not brain surgery.
Human 2 Human Selling
Sometimes, we forget we are just talking to someone else on the other line who has the same challenges we do. Who doesn’t struggle to wake up early, find time to work out in a busy day, or to say no to the office muffins someone brings in? They usually have hobbies or interest outside of work, and also enjoy going on vacation. Once you step back and forget about selling them on your service and become genuinely curious about how they are doing, what fun thing they have planned for the weekend, or what challenges they face as an employee, you begin to realize you are just having a fun, casual conversation and things get a little easier.
It’s Warm Calling, not Cold Calling
I did not want to believe it. I hated the idea of calling people up at random and trying to have a conversation about inbound marketing and lead generation. They had no idea I was calling, and, for all the reasons above, I was terrified. I knew that in order to see some serious growth, I needed to pick up the phone, and call. But I didn’t know how.
Valuable lesson #2 with Dan Tyre is that you are never cold calling, you are now warm calling. You are not randomly picking up the phone and dialing a marketing director any longer. You are taking the time to identify your perfect customer, research their role in the company and perhaps other information you find valuable.
One of my favorite tactics in the warm calling process is to find a blog, social media post, or a linkedin article and share it on my social media accounts while tagging the company referenced in the content. I always try to find something relevant to me or marketing and make the connection. Then, when I call them (after my research) I can talk with them about the article and why I really enjoyed it and shared it.
I may find an interest like hiking, sports, or non-profit we share, and bring those up, too. Finding the information that you have in common will help you ease into the conversation, and go a long way in building a rapport with your new contact.
My next favorite lesson in the “warm calling” methodology is the email follow up. Seventy percent of the time, your warm call does not pick up the phone and you leave a voicemail with the prospect This is where I mention my name, company, that I shared some content, and that I am hoping to help. But what comes next is my favorite.
The video email follow up
About 2 months ago I began filming quick video clips on my computer and including them in my emails. This process intensified while I was working in the Pipeline Generation Bootcamp.
I now had a chance to get “face-to-face” with my prospect. And what's better than a boring follow-up email? VIDEO!
I record a short clip, all while smiling, with similar content to my voicemail, and use it to introduce myself. Dan watched a few of these videos and gave one valuable piece of advice. Make it more personal. So, I began taking screenshots for the thumbnail with a personalized message to that prospect. The result? More people watched the videos, and more people either emailed me back or answered the phone next time I called. It was no longer a cold call. They saw my smiling face and got a glimpse into my personality.
Keep your Eyes on the Prize
This one sounds easy, but in practice may be the hardest.
Our very first assignment in the bootcamp was to create a vision board. When I heard this all I thought about was my first year of college in a leadership course, where we were tasked with cutting out magazine clips to create a vision board. I did not think this was a serious assignment, and I had no idea what I was going to do.
Have no fear, Dan was there to help us all out.
Like in the sales process, we asked ourselves why was it important to grow our company? What did it mean to fail? What would happen if we grow by 30%? 50%? 100%? Who are we working for?
I decided the only way to really grow Beacons Point was to buy into the process and so I sat down and made my vision board.
For me, the most important reason was for my wife and family. I want to build a strong foundation so we can live a beautiful, crazy life.
Next was my my co-workers and employees. As an owner, I am responsible for my employees financial well-being. I wanted to make sure the agency could grow and help them create the life they also desire.
I also wanted to grow our agency so I can enjoy more time off and hit the road. And travel. Preferably in a Volkswagen bus.
This may be a silly challenge, but take a few minutes and write out what is important to you. What motivates you to excel at work and be a better person. Put some photos together and make a vision board, print it out and put it next to your computer.
When I started taking on the role of salesperson at Beacons Point, I did not know exactly where I was going. I did not know how to handle a connect call, run an exploratory call or even that I was supposed to have a goal setting call. Thanks to Dan Tyre and David Weinhaus at HubSpot, I know how the tools I need to be a better inbound marketing salesperson, and overall better person.
Some self promotion here, Beacons Point is hosting a FREE video marketing event called, Using Video to Create An Effective Inbound Campaign, and I would like to invite you to join us. If you are not in San Diego, we will record and publish on our site. Join our mailing list to get more info.