I am a big Tony Robbins fan. When I read his quotes I get inspired, and this one really rang true for me the last couple of months...
“It is in your moments of decision that your destiny is shaped.” – Tony Robbins
Decide to Meet Your Destiny
At the risk of dating myself, I have been involved in sales either for myself or for other companies for over 25 years. I have either done it all or read it all in terms of sales training...Brian Tracy, Jim Rohn, Zig Ziglar, Stephen Covey, Napoleon Hill, Dale Carnegie...you get the idea. And, that doesn't even include the corporate training I have done.
So, when my HubSpot Channel Account Manager, David Appleby, suggested I participate in HubSpot's Pipeline Generation Boot Camp, you can guess what my internal response was... "No. Not another sales training!"
But, here is what I found out about it. Apparently, not everyone gets into this boot camp. There is a waiting list. And, people who have done it have seen a marked difference in their business in a short amount of time.
So, my thoughts were, "What could they be teaching that everyone is clamoring to get in?" And, "Who is this guy, Dan Tyre, who conducts the boot camp and everyone is raving about?"
For an overachiever like me, this was like a bone to a dog. So, you guessed it. I made the decision to do it.
Little did I know, I would have to wait 6 months to get in. By this time, changes in our business had left me swamped with work. So, now I had to decide if I had the time to do it. While I was trying to make the decision, I got a call from none other than "The infamous Dan Tyre"!
To say that I was bowled over by his personality and sheer energy would be an understatement! Apparently, I was the only person who hadn't confirmed my participation. After speaking with him for a few moments, the decision was made...I have to do this, busy or not!
Tip # 1: If opportunity comes calling, MAKE THE DECISION TO ANSWER THE CALL!
The boot camp is everything they say...Jump Starter, Motivator, Skill Builder and Accountability. But most of all, it pushes you to Get Out of Your Comfort Zone!
I am a big believer in sharing knowledge, so now that I have completed the boot camp, I would like to share some of the sales success strategies that I learned.
The Power Has Shifted To The Buyer
If you haven't noticed it yet...sales has changed. Gone are the days where the salesperson had the power in the relationship.
It used to be that salespeople had control over the information. They had the technical specifications, pricing information, implementation instructions and the best practices of others using their product or service.
Buyers used to depend on salespeople for this information. So, the salesperson would follow up on referrals and cold call prospective clients, or the buyer would call the product or service company and ask for a salesperson to meet with them. It worked this way for generations.
Enter technology, the internet and social media.
With more power at their fingertips than ever before, buyers can now do their own research. They don't need salespeople to find solutions to their problems. They can research their own solutions, look up technical specifications, compare pricing, find out how to implement a new system and see what people think about your product or service. In fact, they can even communicate with your customers using social media.
In other words, the power has shifted to the buyer.
With this newfound power, the buyer can decide when and how they want to talk to a salesperson.
Check out these statistics:
- 74% of B2B buyers research half or more of their work purchases online before buying. (Source: Recent Forrester Study)
- Only 29% of people want to talk to a salesperson to learn more about a product, while 62% will consult a search engine. (Source: https://www.hubspot.com/marketing-statistics)
- B2B researchers do 12 searches on average prior to engaging on a specific brand's site. (Source: Google)
And, here is the most alarming one of all:
- By 2020, customers will manage 85% of their relationship with the enterprise without interacting with a human. (Source: Gartner Summit Prediction)
So, what does this mean for you and your company?
Tip # 2: Recognize that the shift has happened and adjust your marketing and sales strategy accordingly.
Embrace Technology Or Die
Understanding how technology has changed the sales landscape is step one for businesses and salespeople who are struggling. Believe me, I get how hard this is. It is easy to get stuck in your ways.
But, when I discuss the shift in the sales process with companies who are struggling to grow, they have an "Aha" moment.
I recently asked a VP of Business Development for a $28 Million company in a competitive market what will happen if they don't make a change.
His answer..."We will die. I give our company 5 years at most."
So, how do you embrace technology?
1. If you don't know what inbound marketing is, start learning now! Here are some of our articles to get you started:
2. Start Using a Marketing and Sales Platform for Automation. We and all of our customers use HubSpot. You get a Content Optimization System (COS) and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system that work together.
- In a nutshell, you get... Lead Generation, Customer Acquisition and Client Engagement
3. Get help. Marketing has gotten more complicated, so you are most likely going to need help. You can read why in these articles:
- Why Should I hire A Marketing Agency For My Small Business?
- 5 Reasons To Hire An Inbound Marketing Agency
Tip #3: It is better to implement technology before your competition does, or you may never catch up.
A Helping Attitude Is Your New Best Friend
Just because the power has shifted to the buyer doesn't mean that they don't want to talk to you or don't need you. But let's be honest, if you're going to go barreling in like a "Used Car Salesman", you are not going to get very far.
Because buyers spend so much time looking for solutions to their problems, they still may need help. So, being helpful without expecting anything in return is a way to get past the walls people put up in dealing with salespeople.
Here is what salespeople have a hard time with...Being helpful without selling something!
But, we can all be helpful in some way...by providing information, providing resources or giving advice. Listen for what your prospect needs.
I spent 20 minutes on the phone yesterday helping a business that wasn't our target customer. But you know what, it felt good to give her advice and steer her in the right direction. At the end of the call, she said, "I can't believe how helpful you were. In today's day and age, that is so rare. Thank you!" Enough said.
Here are some benefits about approaching prospects with a helpful attitude:
- It helps you build trust and rapport with your prospects.
- By asking questions about what they need help with, it helps you qualify if they are your target customer.
- By being positive in your advice and not critical, it is a way for you show that you are caring and knowledgeable.
- Even if it doesn't work out with them becoming a client, they may refer you to someone else that can use your help.
Tip #4: Remember, even in this age of automation, sales is still "Human To Human" .
Never Stop Prospecting
One thing that hasn't changed about sales...you still need to build a sales pipeline.
Here are some ways to build an initial lead list:
- Ask your friends and family for referrals
- Ask your customers for references
- Attend networking events
- Do social media prospecting - LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or wherever your prospects live
Before you get on the phone...Practice, practice and more practice!
While this is something I don't particularly care for, role playing is important to build your confidence.
Here are some ideas on how to make role playing work for you:
- Find a partner you trust that you can role play with
- Create a phone script
- Practice your script until you can deliver it in a voice that sounds like you are talking to a friend (Warm Calling)
- Discuss ideas with your role play partner on how to combat objections
Last, but not least, PICK UP THE PHONE AND MAKE YOUR CALLS!
Oh , and according to Dan Tyre...Be a LION when it comes to prospecting!
Tip #5: It is not about cold calling, it is about warm calling!
In addition to what I already shared with you, this is what I personally gained from the HubSpot Boot Camp:
- Just because you love to help people doesn't mean that you have to take everyone on as a client.
- Ask the right questions to determine if your prospect is the right fit for your company.
- You don't need to close every sale. Your company's success depends on you finding the right clients.
- In order to be the best salesperson you can be, you need be willing to step out of your comfort zone, embrace change and meet your customers where they live.
One thing I have learned in life...You are never too smart or too good that you can't learn something new from someone else.
So, thanks Dan Tyre...for teaching this "old girl" some new pearls of wisdom!
Olivia is the Co-Owner and VP of Sales for InTouch. She loves getting to know and connecting with people.