Dan Tyre is indefatigable. The HubSpot executive has so much joie de vivre and speaks with such enthusiasm that he feels obliged to remind you that he is 61, lest you mistake him for a much younger man. He sprinkles his conversations with exclamations of “Boom” and “Yessss!”, and every so often he’ll throw his hands above his head as if he can’t believe how much fun he’s having.
A speaker, author, adviser, mentor, investor, and board member, Dan spends much of his time these days training agency owners on how to grow their business through HubSpot’s Pipeline Agency Bootcamp. He is part motivational speaker and part business sage, dispensing sales advice culled from a career as a business leader and sales executive at some of the top technology companies in the country.
More than anything, he is a people person, and it is this penchant for establishing human connections that he wants you to take away from his course. Because Dan, like the company he so proudly represents, wants you to treat people like, well … people.
At its core, inbound marketing is also about treating people like people. It’s about shedding the labels of “prospects” and “customers” and “evangelists”, and instead getting companies to see the humanness of the folks they do business with. Which is exactly what Dan tries to teach in his bootcamps: that the best way to close more deals is to recognize our shared humanity and tap into our basic human instincts.
Here are some of the more poignant lessons I learned from Dan Tyre that apply to sales but equally to what we do as an inbound marketing agency.
Figure out how you can help
“It’s always humans before commerce,” Dan says at the top of week one. “We’re not selling anywhere in March of 2020 [because of COVID-19]. We’re starting relationships. We always start with connecting with people and seeing how we can help.”
The same could be said for our approach to inbound marketing. Companies should rarely be selling their products or services. Instead, they should be looking for opportunities to help people solve their problems. Our lives are full of challenges and frustrations — obstacles that stand in the way of us accomplishing our goals. When done correctly, inbound marketing helps ease those frustrations and tackle those challenges head-on. Unlike traditional marketing, which may rely on aggressive sales tactics like cold calling or sales letters, inbound marketing emphasizes the creation of helpful content, that acts as a magnet, bringing prospects to you. It provides the right information to solve your problems, just when you need it.
Listen to what people have to say
In week two of the bootcamp, Dan waxes eloquently about the power of the pause on a sales call. It’s harder to do than you think. Most people want to fill any lull in the conversation with their own voice, but when you resist that temptation you’ll find that people will start to talk, and eventually they will open up.
Along with pausing comes active listening. When we are fully focused on what the speaker is saying, we hear not just their words but their intentions, their concerns, their beliefs, and so much more. Dan wants you to listen to your prospects as if there is nothing more important in the world than what they have to say. As inbound marketers, we start every campaign by listening to our audience and making sure we understand where they’re coming from.
Get to know your audience
To be an effective salesperson, explains Dan, you have to know what kind of person you’re selling to. This goes much deeper than doing typical research into their role and responsibilities. He wants you to understand what kind of person you’re dealing with. Are they outgoing? Decisive? Analytical? Task-oriented? The more you can understand about their psychological make-up, the more you can cater your pitch to their preferences. Dan will speak tirelessly about the DISC model and its four archetypes for understanding human behaviors.
In inbound marketing, we begin every campaign by researching our client’s customer personas so that we can cut straight to the heart of what makes them tick. Yes, it’s important to understand which verticals they’re in, what roles they play, and what pain points they feel. But it’s just as important to understand their attitudes, aspirations, and other psychological factors.
Make people laugh
Dan is the self-appointed king of dad jokes. “What do you call a snarky inmate walking downstairs?” he asks during week four. “A condescending con descending.” The joke elicits as many groans as laughs, but either way, it establishes a human connection, which is exactly the point.
It’s easy to forget that people don’t do business with corporations; they do business with other people. And if you can get people laughing (or groaning), you’ve reminded them of their innate humanity. Inbound marketing is very often about providing content that informs, enlightens, or educates the reader. But if you can deliver content that also entertains and delights at the same time, you are much more likely to capture their hearts and minds.
At the end of the day, human beings are social creatures. They want to have authentic interactions with genuine people. They do not want to be sold to. By listening to their needs, understanding their psychological make-up, figuring out how you can help them, and maybe even bringing a moment of levity into their otherwise stressful days, you can give your sales process — and your inbound marketing campaigns — a tremendous boost.
Also, it doesn’t hurt to bring energy and enthusiasm to every interaction you have. “Boom!”