Ask the expert: have you got the “H Factor”? Perfecting the art of the hustle
In this fortnightly column, Ask The Expert, we aim to provide readers with practical advice on how to grow their businesses.
Greg Watts is our resident expert. He is the founder of Demand Creation Partners, a London-based growth consultancy that helps fintechs and paytechs to scale. A visiting lecturer at the American University in Paris and regular industry speaker, he was previously head of market acceleration at Visa Europe.
QUESTION: Have you got the “H Factor”? Perfecting the art of the hustle.
When speaking with founders, CEOs and growth leaders within successful fintechs, there’s a common denominator: they’ve perfected the art of the hustle.
But what does that mean? And why can some people hustle while others can’t?
In this column, we’ll provide tips on using the “H Factor” to drum up awareness, sell more effectively, form key partnerships and cultivate lasting relationships.
- What is hustling?
The Cambridge Dictionary defines hustling as:
- making someone move quickly by pushing or pulling them along;
- trying to persuade someone to buy something;
- acting quickly and with energy;
- pushing or forcing someone along.
The overarching theme is moving at pace to encourage someone to do something.
So, what’s the best way to embrace the art of the hustle?
- Open more doors through hyper-targeting
Often, the best (and only) way to open doors are to (figuratively) blast them down.
Cold calling and asking friends and family for insights and introductions are all well and good, but nothing beats taking a hyper-targeted, personalised approach that makes someone want to engage with you and have a conversation.
For example, if you want to reach someone responsible for payments at a retailer, do some research into that person’s goals and interests. A search on LinkedIn and Google, plus a scan of a company’s annual report, can often reveal useful, valuable information on a prospect. Then, consider how to use that intelligence to pique their interest. Be creative!
Once you’ve sent them your pitch (in whatever form that takes), follow up with an email or call. Don’t be afraid to be direct. Asking if they’ve received it will often elicit a yes or no response, which can open up dialogue.
Another way to accelerate your efforts is to consider outsourcing your lead generation to an outbound expert. Undertaking an initial four to six-week trial could see you double, triple or even quadruple your meetings with target companies.
- Embrace rejection
By starting a business, you’re taking a risk and putting yourself out there. Along your journey, you’ll no doubt encounter some people who don’t believe in you or your proposition.
Be brave. Hustlers don’t get put off when criticised. They listen to feedback, respond to everyone (even negative voices), and do everything they can to make their business a success.
- Be authentic
Effective hustlers embrace their true selves and create genuine emotional connections with targets, taking the time to understand as much as they can about the individual.
They don’t fall into the trap of seeing potential customers as people who can be coerced, deceived or manipulated. They know the best way to build a sustainable business is by caring, helping, providing value and – crucially – addressing customers’ problems.
- Grow your network
Hustlers don’t see competition as simply there to be “eliminated”. They know that competition is healthy, and being overtly negative can be a turn-off.
They also know that a strong professional network is a requisite for success. Colleagues, team mates, mentors and peers can all provide an invaluable sounding board and alternative, insightful points of view.
Push yourself out of your comfort zone and aim to attend at least one networking event a week. You’ll see your network grow – quickly.
- Celebrate small victories
Building a successful business takes time and patience. We all want results *now* and it can be frustrating when efforts take longer than anticipated.
As you’re building and scaling, it’s important to celebrate seemingly small victories while waiting for multi-million-pound deals to land. These might include compliments on your business offering, positive customer feedback, or confirming a meeting with a key prospect.
It’s easy to bask in the light of big victories – lucrative deals, new clients, award wins – but recognising small victories will instil you and your teams with the motivation to keep going.
Bringing it all together
By focusing on just a few of these areas, you too can embrace and hone your inner H Factor, which in turn should lead to stronger lead generation efforts, and ultimately, more closed deals.