This year i am a lion-ess-ish

07 December, 2017

I was fortunate enough to experience the Lions Bootcamp with David Weinhaus from Hubspot. I know, isn’t Hubspot just great! But, having just completed the Lion’s Bootcamp with the incredible Dan Tyre, I was energized, pumped, confident, and ready to make the pounce - rrrr - I mean the connect call.

A connect call…. what was once an ultimate challenge grew into something I enjoy and do from the bottom of my heart and with a smile. Always smile - even when you are on the phone :-) You have to show your teeth :-)

The reason I enjoy doing connect and exploratory calls/meetings are that I am not selling. So I wouldn't say I like sales. And salespeople. Well, and most people too. I learned in boot camp that I am calling to help, learn more, and be as human and honest as possible. Sounds awesome, hey. It is!

So, 8 intense weeks coached by the wonderful David Weinhaus taught me the next step in my sales process: the exploratory call. Here are my top 5 key takeaways from boot camp:

1. Always have an agenda to set the expectation

Expectations are either your best friend or your worst enemy. You know those meetings that you go to expecting apples, but instead, you are offered guacamole. Expectations. A good way to set the expectation with prospects is to start the meeting by setting the agenda and getting an acknowledgment and a commitment from the prospect that, yes, this is what I want to be talking about.

I mean, if you are going to have a 45-min conversation with someone, wouldn’t you want to know beforehand that they wanted to have that conversation in the first place. You also want to ask them if there is anything else that they would like to discuss. You could ask, “Mr. prospect, what were you hoping to get out of today's call?” That way, everything is out in the open and acknowledged.

2. Questions are your best friend

The ultimate fail in a sales exploratory call is not to ask questions. On the contrary, you want to ask many questions - not in the form of an interrogation, but more so in the form of a comfortable conversion, to discover if this prospect is a right fit for inbound, a right fit for you if you can help, and if they really do need your help. Not every prospect is for everyone, and it’s super important to spot it early on.

Questions you want to be asking could be, Mr prospect,

  • How are you currently attracting visitors to your website?
  • Is it working?
  • What could be improved?
  • Why is it important to you that you improve that?
  • How does that affect your bottom line?
  • After 12 months of doing Inbound, what goals are you expecting to achieve?
  • Why do you want to change what you are currently doing?
  • What happens if you don’t change it?
  • Why Inbound?
  • Why with an agency?
  • Do you see yourself asking those questions?

While asking these questions and providing tips, you want to use the ‘Give and Get” also to position yourself as an industry thought leader while exciting the prospect about Inbound. Boom! Double score.

3. Don’t take the cheese - seriously, don’t!

I learned this hands-on and the hard way. But, unfortunately, it was the same mistake I was making all the time. I used always to take the cheese, only to find myself 10 minutes into the meeting talking tactics, when in reality, what you want to be talking about is a strategy and asking questions to learn more.

So what’s the cheese? Tactics. Any tactics. It’s common that as soon Mr prospect speaks out certain trigger words (the cheese), such as… “rank in google, how many blogs do I need to publish a month, what about social media posts? Email marketing, can you tell more about lead scoring, workflows, etc. If you get lost in the tactics, you miss out on the 3 sales.

A great way to come back to strategy could be by asking, “Would it be okay if we started with your business first so I can make my suggestions more relevant?” In your exploratory meeting, you don’t want to be talking tactics. That comes later. That comes when you have gone through the 3 sales. The 3 sales? What 3 sales?

4. The 3 sales are a must

It took me 5 weeks of training to understand the 3 sales, (yep David, it just wouldn’t sink in). Honestly, the 3 sales were something that I would never have thought about before this boot camp with David. Today, not only do I apply it in new sales, but I also use it to understand the types of sales we went through with companies that we no longer work with. I like to reflect on those sales and identify which sale we went through. Today, it all makes perfect sense. When you are selling Inbound, there are 3 types of sales:

3 types of sales:

3 types of sales are what every sales process goes through. It’s like a mirror to the buyer's journey. It’s the journey a prospect takes to come up with the decision to buy or not.

Sale #1

What is the problem? Try to quantify it and calculate the impact on the business in lost revenue - the outcome of this sale is a commitment from the prospect that they need to change.

Sale #2

Is to answer why the solution you are offering. Is Inbound Marketing the best solution, or not doing anything, or spending more on outbound marketing? The objective is to commit from the prospect that the solution you are offering is the best.

Sale #3

This is to answer why working with our agency is the best choice vs. another agency or to do it in-house again. This is to get a commitment that the prospect sees you as the best choice.

5. Find the gap (I know, it sounds like mind the gap….)

Once you have the answers and the information you need for sales number 1, and you want to move into sales number 2, then 3, you want to move into their goals, find the gap, and show the value quantified. You want to do the maths. You could also ask what other options Mr prospect has to achieve without Inbound or inbound implemented in-house. That’s usually the big oh sh** moment.

We uncover client’s goals and the gap between these goals, and what they can achieve on their own. This is where we ask questions like, “Mr prospect, if you keep doing what are you doing, how much of that gap can you achieve?”

So if a prospect wants to increase revenue by 50% over 12 months and their current annual revenue is 1 million dollars. In 12 months, they want to be 1.5 million dollar revenue.

The question would be.. “if you increase your current marketing spend by 50%, will you get 500,000 in additional revenue?”

6. Ask for the work

This one always seemed to be a given, but it shouldn’t be a given when you think about it. Nothing is. So towards the end of your sales process, when everything is in place, you want to ask for the work. It is a great way to get a commitment and confirmation from the prospect's side and get a verbal start.

I would love to hear your thoughts on the post. Are you applying this in your sales process? Is it working?

Ranya Barakat

Ranya Barakat

Ranya is an entrepreneur with over a decade experience in pulling up her sleeves and getting S*** done. She is specialized in inbound marketing and inbound sales.

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