If you are reading this, you may be a good human. We like good humans.
We are the WP Buffs. You probably know us from our 24/7 WordPress maintenance and support services all over the internet. Or maybe you heard about us on WordPress TV? No no, you probably read about us on HubSpot’s Customer Stories. No? Maybe on IndieHackers?
Either way, we are here to chat about human-centric sales in WordPress.
We are a team of people that base our entire company on being human-centric. If you don’t know what that means, you will learn. Keep reading.
We are going to show you what it means to be human-centric in everything we do and how we do that. Here are 7 steps to being a human-centric service based company in the WordPress community and beyond.
Good people attract good people 😇
Joe Howard, Head Buff at WP Buffs started this entire company by himself. He worked a regular 9-5 in the office, for someone else. Just like everyone else believes that is what the workforce means.💪 Since July 2014, Joe Howard has built a self-sustaining, 15-strong team that operates over 400 websites, all fully remote AND still has the ability to take vacations. #WordPress Click To Tweet
He attracted good people into his life simply by being a good person.
It’s 2020 and there is a shortage of amazing people on the planet. You need to seriously surround yourself with good people or you are basically screwed. We are not sugar-coating this for you. You are directly influenced by the people around you. And Joe made sure that the team was full of positive energy, dedication to the passion of WP Buffs and also pretty cool.
I always joke that I would hang out with every single person outside of work, and that is the truth.
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The first time the Leadership team met in real life (shout out to WordCamp US!) it was like a group of high school friends got together for a reunion. So much laughter, it was ridiculous. #Coworkergoals
Step 1: Be a good human
This is not easy! This does not come naturally. This is cultured, nurtured, loved and fed like the pets in your home. This is something that you work for every day to make happen! Joe did that and not only crushed it himself, but he also attracted over 13 team members who are all thriving in the same positive light as him.
If you want to learn more about Joe, I highly recommend it! He is an amazing human being and has a lot of wisdom to share. And he is transparent as hell! You want honesty, go to Joe.
Joe can be found hosting a podcast on WPMRR, on Twitter buddying up with people he met at WordCamps or on WordPress.tv where he may have done a talk or ten. He’s hosted webinars for Creator Courses and Liquid Web and has had countless interviews like these: WP Buffs Talks Impactful Tips on Crushing On and Off-Page SEO, Dare to Run a WordPress Support Business like WP Buffs?, How to Make Recurring Revenue Managing WordPress Sites.
Sales in WordPress differ than any others 💰
That's Joe, Jan Koch (one of our awesome partners), and Dean at WordCamp Europe this year! What a blast getting to see everyone. You want human-centric people? Go to a WordCamp! They are literally everywhere.
Our tagline is “We’ve got your back” for a reason. We do literally have your back if you work with us, but because we get it. WordPress is complicated. We can help.
We sympathize with each and every client when they come to us and say they are frustrated because they can’t figure it out, or they don’t have time to do all of the tedious things that need fixing.
Step 2: Empathize with everyone
We have been there before. We know the feeling when you get excited, set up a WordPress site and feel the thrill when you are ready for the world to see it, but it doesn’t work.
We know the frustration when there are hiccups with formatting or when you get the landing page up, but the link is broken. We know the feeling of getting your first published blog post but it looks..wrong.
Every technical buff has been through the frustration of beginning a WordPress website or learning how to fix it and still getting frustrated when what you’ve learned doesn’t work. We get that.
We also know that when you’ve gotten yourself in too deep with taking on too many WordPress sites and you don’t have time for the maintenance it’s stressful. We get it.
We know that you have read the articles about all the things you need to do to keep your WordPress site alive...you have to start a blog, a podcast, SEO, updates, plugins, lead capture...the list goes on. It’s a lot of work, and we understand.
We also know that you are frustrated because you are doing all of this and not making any additional money doing so! (Just saying, you can.) We feel you.
So yeah, we’ve got your back.
The sales behind the WP Buffs curtain 🔮
Enter Dean Burton and Caylin White. Hi.
We are the sales behind the WP Buffs curtain. Not really, because we are transparent as hell. Caylin is literally plastered all over the website in pop-ups and Dean is most definitely in your inbox.
We are a 100% remote team. Nick Adams, our stellar Chief Operations Buff hired us. We think he made the right choice.
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Step 3: Hire amazing effing people.
Dean Burton hails from Bristol, UK and lives in Spain. But get this, he has a London accent and he could be your best friend in 3.3 minutes if you meet him.
Caylin White is a positive-energy addict, and will literally make you happy within 3.3 minutes if you meet her.
You know who brought these two passionate people together? Yep, Joe Howard (thank you for following along).
Meet Dean: Head Customer Success Buff and awesome dude
Before joining the Bufftastic world, I’d had several jobs, careers, and adventures during the usual day time office hours and some odd ones that required night shift work (shout out to my airport security crew!).
“Finding your passion requires you to be brave, keep moving, and never settle.” - Dean Burton, Head Customer Success Buff, WP Buffs
Step 4: Find your passion and be brave about it
My resume would look absolutely chaotic if I had one nowadays, but I promise I can explain every move I made and my reason behind it.
While I was still living in the UK and working full-time I began volunteering for a housing association and this is where I found a real passion for people. Taking that step to volunteer while working a job I didn’t like very much led me to eventually working in housing and homelessness in the UK for around three years, which I loved (but I won’t lie to you, it was super high pressured and challenging every day). I supported homeless people through substance abuse and mental health challenges with the main goal of moving people on to independent or supported housing.
I discovered the WordPress world when I up and flew to Spain. I took a job as an English Teacher which allowed me to live and work in another country for a while.I experienced living in a different culture and all the challenges that came with that. This is also where I found that tons of people were taking control over their own lives in the WordPress community by running their own digital businesses from wherever they liked.
You don’t have to be a developer to work with WordPress. The more I learned, the more I wanted to learn! I started with WordPress like most of us did, by building, experimenting, exploring, putting yourself out there, messing up and learning.
I eventually started freelancing part-time and working with WordPress. I know that running an agency or working freelance is extremely hard work. That’s why one of the most loved parts of my job at WP Buffs is speaking to agencies and freelancers every day through Eligibility Calls for our white-label program. Our white-label partners’ success is amazing to see and I get to work with the people behind the brands everyday.
Enough of me telling you my work history - the point I’m trying to make is that it really doesn’t matter who you are in a sales meeting with. An agency top boss, a WordPress VIP, or friend. They are human and people will always be people, just like you, and it’s the human connection that matters. If you remember this, you’ll have a lot of fun throughout the sales process and you build amazing relationships with people from all over the world.
Every job switch throughout my years bettered me as a person and my experience working with people from all walks of life helps me so much in my current role. We’re all about people here!
Meet Caylin: Head Marketing Buff and creative gal
Oh boy, this is going to make me sound super old, but I have been in sales and marketing for 12 years. Eeeek!
Step 5: Never give up and believe in yourself
Twelve years of the evolution of sales and in the blink of an eye, I am in the WordPress community, in love with my role here at WP Buffs and literally learning so much more than I ever have in the course of my sales journey.
I will not be going over every single sales job I have ever had with you, no-no. The shortlist is this: I worked selling and teaching youth art classes in Ann Arbor, Michigan (home town, shoutout to the Mitten!) for 6 years. I moved to Atlanta, GA (shoutout to my Peach peeps!) and began my REAL sales career. The evolution is as follows: Recruiter, Life University; Brand Ambassador, 5 Hour Energy & Eide Magazine; Sales Manager, Two Men and A Truck; Sales Team Lead, WeightNot; Executive Sales, Epic Presence; Marketing & Growth, WP Buffs.
The one thing I have learned about myself is that I’m a hustler. I mean that in the most professional way possible. I will literally do whatever it takes to be happy in my career and get the money I deserve for the effort I put into it.
The other thing I have learned about myself is that I put people first. No matter what. If you are in sales, you shouldn’t act like you are in sales. You should genuinely care about the person you’re helping. You should have a genuine interest in helping others with a positive outlook. I love people! Well, nice people. I love hearing their stories, I love watching them grow from something I helped them obtain.
“I love when there are connections made with my clients, smiles being spread and people coming back years later and REMEMBERING me. That’s what it’s all about!” - Caylin White, Head Marketing Buff, WP Buffs
The one thing I loved about WP Buffs is that each and every person on the team cares. Not just in the surface way that is fake. Each Buff takes the extra time to put in a little care about everything they do. We are all on Slack together, helping each other through the day. This is not a lone-wolf, segregated company. This company is together, collaborating, having each other’s backs.
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You are not here merely to make a living. You are here in order to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world, and you impoverish yourself if you forget the errand. -Woodrow Wilson #QOTD #coffee TradeWindCoffee #churchoutfit #smilestyle #justme #CBC @tradewind_coffee
She also loves her dog. Here’s Sophie - say hi.
Wait. What does ‘human-centric’ even mean? 🤔
It may seem simple, be human.
But the fact that we even have to explain is the exact reason for this blog post. Business is fast. Money is fast. Competition is fast. Lives are fast. Insert Ferris Bueller’s “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop to look around once in a while, you might miss it.”
It is easy to forget to be human on a daily basis. Reminding ourselves to do this should be on your calendar. It should be in your reminders, on your Pomodoro planner, in your Slack channel, on your refrigerator even!
Step 6: Remind yourself on the daily to think in a human-centric way
What will it take? 3 million post-it notes? Affirmations? Better diet? Meditation? Vacation? White board reminders? Do whatever it takes to remind yourself to be a good human being.
Human-centric definition for those technical people is the most simplest of all.
Focusing on human beings; anthropocentric
It’s simple. If you put out a human-centric vibe, you will get a human response. It’s 2020, meaning everyone is aware of the chatbots, the autoresponses, the automationed chains, the robotic sequences. Don’t fall into the crowd of unsubscribes! Stand out with personalization. That means you have to be present. You can’t just set and walk away like old school 1999.
Being a good human also means the decision to know who you want to work with. You know immediately if you vibe with someone, right or wrong? If the vibe is off, it is just not going to work. Don’t force it! We turn a lot of website owners away because they aren’t a fit. Saying no is ok!
Being a human means you are talking less about you and more about them. We revitalized our approach to reaching people through our email campaign very simply. We stopped talking about us and started asking questions about them. We stopped bragging and we started listening. Do you do that?
The last step to human-centric sales is to make good on your promises. If you feel they are a good vibe and they really need you and things are good, don’t over-deliver. If you say you are going to have their back, HAVE THEIR BACK! If you find out their passion behind their website, don’t promise them the world and then let them down. Be there for the journey with the same personalization.
The evolution of WordPress sales at WP Buffs 📈
You might have already seen our post on how we moved to using the HubSpot CRM, but if you haven’t, we’ve got a confession for you. (Yes, we may get a commission if you click that link because we love HubSpot.)
We never used to use a CRM for our sales process. 😲
Step 7: Be transparent as hell
Our support team uses Teamwork Desk to handle all support tickets for people on our Protect and Perform Plans. Teamwork Desk does an awesome job at organising and tracking support tickets and it’s features really allow us to provide a more custom experience through support.
Here’s the thing. Teamwork Desk isn’t built for sales! (Although their new CMS is)
Previously, we used the same support desk for our inbound leads. 😲 We got creative and used a mixture of tags, smart inboxes, triggers and canned responses to keep track of leads but we had a pretty tough slog of manually following up with everyone each week.
This process worked quite well for a while and sales continued to rise, but as we started to grow and leads increased, the manual follow up process became more and more difficult to keep up with and we realized that we could improve our customer onboarding from lead to customer if we moved to a proper sales CRM.
We learned about HubSpot and we began to switch up our approach. Our focus is now on meeting the people who contact us before they sign up. We do this through White-Label Eligibility Calls (for our partners) & Care Plan Discovery Calls (for our clients joining us on care plans). HubSpot allows us to track everything in our sales process rigorously so nothing falls through the cracks.
By the time someone joins us on a care plan, they’ve already met us face to face (Yep, we’re video people here!) and we are well acquainted with how we can help their business by supporting their website on a care plan.
Wrapping Up 📦
There are sales and then there are WordPress sales. Helping people maintain and support their WordPress website 24/7 is not just about being technical. It’s about helping the people behind the website thrive. Their website represents their passion. We here at WP buffs are honored to be able to help that grow.
To recap, here are the 7 steps to a human-centric way of selling (even if you aren’t in the WordPress world):
- Step 1: Be a good human
- Step 2: Empathize with everyone
- Step 3: Hire fucking amazing people. Period.
- Step 4: Find your passion and be brave about it
- Step 5: Never give up and believe in yourself
- Step 6: Remind yourself on the daily to think in a human-centric way
- Step 7: Be transparent as hell
We hope you can take a little piece of being more human-centric with you throughout your day. We hope this has shed a positive light on your life!
If you need help with your WordPress site, the WP Buffs have got your back.
Go! Be human!
Before joining WP Buffs Dean was a WordPress Freelancer, now he’s our Customer Success Buff and loves nothing more than working with people and WordPress! He’s also head of the WordPress Freelancer Group on Facebook and manages the WP Buffs Affiliate Program. If you want some freebies, check out our free speed and security ebooks, webinars for WordPress professionals, WordPress blog or WordPress podcast all about building monthly recurring revenue.