Crossing the Bridge of Sales Acceptance

How I Learned to Sell Like a Lion King

Table of Contents


Sales Process


Learned New Sales Skills


Just completed an 8 week sales training course provided by Hubspot to partners. First off, Kudos to David Weinhaus for conducting it - Always great to learn to sell from the best! Really liked their CRM tool.  Picked up a lot of great sales tips!

Being Open Minded Helps

Becoming a better salesman is still a numbers game.  When rookie salespeople begin their careers, their sales skills are often raw and rough around the edges. To compensate for their "less than fully developed skills," most sales managers will have very clear sales activity level expectations.  Those salespeople who learn fastest, survive and thrive.  Others, not so much.


Desire to Help Others is Prerequisite


Success at sales is about having a genuine desire to help other people solve problems. So what's the key to being a good salesperson who builds those lasting relationships?   The first step to becoming a great salesperson is having the right mindset.  Learning the art of persuasion is no small undertaking. There is an entire genre of self-help books and helpful articles on how to be more persuasive . A job in sales will teach you that understanding what your client needs is the first step to persuading them

Building Rapport is the Second Required Sales Skill

Do your research before reaching out to prospects.  Build rapport first.  Contribute first by delivering value, sell second.  How do you deliver value that contributes to rapport building.  By sharing a LOT of top-notch content most people would charge for.  It also means taking the time to fully understand your particular prospect's problems.  Once you have established a relationship and built some rapport, when share content like blog posts, whitepapers and ebooks with clients, they're a lot more likely to consume them and follow-up with you with questions.


Master Your Listening and Questioning Skills


Learn how and when to ask questions (don't interrogate), and listen. Lean into psychology. Approach them on their level.  I personally like to physically position myself on their side of the table.  Nothing more off-putting than being across the table at a giant Pre-Sales demo. Reach an emotional high point. Remember, you're selling to a person.


Two Ears - One Mouth


By listening more than you talk, you learn how to ask the right questions at the right time. A job in sales teaches you how to ask the right questions to get your prospect talking. By listening to them, you allow them to become comfortable doing business with you. People love talking about themselves - so let them talk .


Competitive Battle Cards

Very large companies often equip their sales team with what are called competitor battle cards.  These can be short one-pagers that provide surface level information about competitors, but typically go very deep on those competitors considered to be your top contenders.  The best salespeople know when to use the information in these Competitive Battle Cards and when to hold back.  It's one of the reasons a successful person spends a lot of time learning about their company's products and services.

Tangible Product or Services

No matter how great your sales skills, you still need to learn about your product or services, often both.  That's why as a newly assigned salesperson, you have to establish a daily routine of learning not just how your product works, but how it helps resolve customer pain points.  How much time you devote this daily routine is inverse proportional to the success you can expect and the size of the bonus check you receive.


Have Deep Product Knowledge - Key to Build Trust

Your potential customers, especially when it comes to complex sales, rely on you to educate them about the features and benefits of your product.  You should focus on building relationships instead of selling. This may sound counterintuitive, but it's important to develop a rapport with your potential customers. Chances are, people aren't going to buy as soon as you first meet them, or when they first visit your website.  In fact, the more expensive and complex your product, the longer your sales cycle will be, and the more education and ultimately, value, you will need to deliver, long before that first crucial contract is signed.


Successful Salespeople Persevere


It's perseverance that differentiates successful salespeople from the unsuccessful, and it will help you stay the course, even when you're discouraged or disappointed. How do you cultivate perseverance? Have a clear vision - it will make all the difference. The road to success isn't easy. You need to have a mental map of the goals you want to achieve.

Example of Perseverance

In one of this author's previous jobs, which was in a quota carrying sales role, I made 37 trips over a period 5 years to a client site.  Ultimately, and despite many people saying leave it to the competition, my team and I, and it was team effort, from executive sponsorship all the way down to the Account Executive level won the deal.



ABL - Always Be Learning

Though many have said I was born to sell, really, any sales skills I have come down to education.  As a student of sales, having taken my very first Sales Training Course way back in high school, oh so many years ago, I like to combine and share what I've learned from the various sales methodologies, whether they're from Hubspot, SAP or a famous sales trainer like John Costigan.  They've all contributed to me having a highly successful sales career as well as with my entrepreneurial journey.


Try to Learn Something New Every Day


If you've devoted at least 15 minutes every day to improve your sales skills, you'll always be ready to turn an opportunity into a sale.  But remember, there is a fine line between being 'pushy' and genuinely helpful and persuasive.  


Quality Control - Not All Sales Training is Equal


While I am big proponent of continuous learning in small doses, you must be aware that not all sales training nor sales methodologies work well in every situation.  It is why I urge you to exercise good judgement and your own version of quality control.  Sales training can be very, very expensive, and time consuming.  Most doesn't stick.


Key Takeaways from the Class

Finding the Gap

Whether you're a small one man business or a giant multi-national, there's always room for improvement. The question is, 'by how much' and how much are you willing to spend to improve it?


As a Balanced Scorecard Consultant, I know that one of the key 'must have's' is a quantified vision. That means they know how much more they want to make. So the gap, even when not a BSC project, is how much more they want to make.


Gaps are Also Called Pain Points


You'll want to focus on what the customer's pain points are and from there you can address how your product can solve their issue. The customer's needs should always be your North star.


Selling Online Allows Faster Iteration

With enough website traffic and a comprehensive measurement plan and attendant digital measurement system, you can iterate much faster when it comes to uncovering your buyer's true pain points.  


Using Social Media for Sales

Take the time to polish your listening skills and build “listening” into your social media and marketing efforts. Not everyone is your customer. While you may think everyone could benefit from your product or service, you better understand your niche target market. Build into your sales process a step where you determine if the prospect is the right "fit."  


Gathering goals, timing and alternatives


If you know what the quantified vision is, i.e., gap, then and only then, can you really start to talk about goals, timelines for achieving those goals and alternatives for reaching your goals.

Selling Value / Budget

The great thing about the Hubspot Inbound Marketing Methodology is that it naturally aligns with a value based selling approach. The trick is finding out what the value might be from the perspective of the customer.

Anchoring to Quantifiable Growth Goals

If you've done your homework during the Discovery Call part of the sales process, this should be easy. But, and here's the rub, it is often 'scary' for a customer to commit to these goals, so be prepared to not just pin them down, but start to paint the picture of how they will achieve those goals.

Getting a Prospect Excited About Inbound

If your prospect, like just about everyone I've dealt with the past 10 years, is facing extreme competition, sees that you can help them make more money, or even survive, then getting them excited about doing Inbound Marketing and Sales should be easy. However, setting expectations is key here, Inbound Marketing and Sales is a mid-to-longer term solution.


Using the Give/Get Technique


The great thing about learning Hubspot is that you come to have a lot of 'tricks up your sleeve', i.e., solid knowledge of what works.


Great Salesperson Uses All the Right Sales Tools


It's always great to use a few of the arrows in your quiver as 'giveaways' in order to get prospects to open up a bit. But the key here is to avoid overwhelming a prospect with too many giveaways - because you are actually calling his baby ugly. That's never a great technique.

Practicing Your Call Flow

If practice makes perfect, then practicing your call flow, or the items you must cover on every call, is your route to success. If you want to help your prospect 'across the bridge', you need to make sure you have helped him select the right path. Practice makes perfect.

Creating a call flow and interesting story

People love a story. Yours has to be interesting, while being relevant to them. So practice storytelling. It works.  Human beings are hardwired to listen to your story.  Makes your compelling with relevant content.


Closing The Deal Should Be a Natural Conclusion of the Storytelling Process

Crossing the Bridge of Sales Acceptance

If you've done everything right, got the goals and timelines pinned down, established rapport, got your prospect to the other side of the bridge, then closing will feeeeeel natural.


What Does Your Sales Funnel Say?

As a Hubspot Certified Marketing and Sales Partner Agency, we have a substantial amount of experience of setting what is known as a Sales Funnel for businesses both small and large.

Prioritization and Self-Discipline

What we've learned through the years when it comes to seeing our customer's experience sales success is that it comes down to having a sales system.  The system must help each sales rep prioritize and practice self-discipline.


Questions You Need to Answer About Your Sales Funnel and Sales Process Performance


How quickly after you give a demo do you need to secure a follow-up meeting? Once a contract goes out, how quickly does your win rate go down over time? Once you know these answers (seek them out from your manager if you don't have them), you can start optimizing your entire sales funnel to run as effectively as possible. But remember, the only way to stick to the sales funnel metrics you've defined is to be as organized as possible. The best reps I've ever worked with know exactly what they are doing every single day. 

Need Help with Your Hubspot CRM System


If your sales funnel isn't fully set up or your sales team needs coaching, we've got solutions for you.  Just click the button to get help.


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Topics from this blog:
Sales Processes Hubspot CRM

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Lonnie Ayers

About the Author: Lonnie Ayers is a Hubspot Certified Inbound Marketing consultant, with additional certifications in Hubspot Content Optimization, Hubspot Contextual Marketing, and is a Hubspot Certified Partner. Specialized in demand generation and sales execution, especially in the SAP, Oracle and Microsoft Partner space, he has unique insight into the tough challenges Service Providers face with generating leads and closing sales using the latest digital tools. With 15 years of SAP Program Management experience, and dozens of complex sales engagements under his belt, he helps partners develop and communicate their unique sales proposition. Frequently sought as a public speaker in various events, he is available for both inhouse engagements and remote coaching.
Balanced Scorecard Consultant

He also recently released a book "How to Dominate Any Market - Turbocharging Your Digital Marketing and Sales Results", which is available on Amazon.

View All Articles by Lonnie Ayers

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