Great Salespeople Don't Sell to a Need

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Great Salespeople Don't Sell to a Need

"It’s not that you can’t sell, you can’t diagnose. Your product doesn’t drive the sale, your customer’s problem does. Being a great salesperson means being able to diagnose your customer’s problem and understanding the impact the problem is having on their business.”

This excerpt is from Gap Selling, by Keenan. (yes, he goes by just his first name. Or is it his last?).

Keenan’s book is all about “The Gap” - the distance between the customer’s current state and a (better) future state. A SMALL GAP = a SMALL PROBLEM = NO NEED (Which means no sale for you!). A large gap, however, means there is a BIG problem to be solved, and therefore a need for a solution.

Keenan further simplifies GAP SELLING by stating: "Sales happen when the future state is a better state.”

Here are some FUTURE STATES desired by YOUR customer:

  • An edge over their competition

  • Paths to previously unexplored markets

  • Increased profits

  • More rapid path to market

  • Heightened investor interest

  • Millions of dollars in savings

  • Streamlined manufacturing process

  • The eye of the new generation

  • Faster communications

  • Happier, more engaged employees

  • Better customer retention

  • Improved personal service

  • More leads

  • Increased response times

  • Increased revenue

 
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The first step in the Gap Selling process is to gather info on the customer’s CURRENT state, which has 5 critical elements (This is similar to Neil Rackham’s SPIN Selling process: Situation, Problems, Implications, Need pay-off). Here is everything you need to gather:

  • The literal and physical facts about your customer. This includes PROCESS facts (specifically how they do processes).

  • Their problems

  • The impact of those problems

  • The root causes of the problems

  • What effect those problems are having on your customers’ emotional state.

The goal is not to ask specific questions. It’s to get specific information.

One major thing to note as you begin this process: Your customer or prospect has to WANT you to help them. They have to be vulnerable and willing to give you information that helps you uncover THE GAP. If they aren’t sharing information you need, you haven’t established the credibility to help them.

Once you know exactly where your customer is NOW, and what FUTURE STATE they desire, the selling process becomes much easier. Handling objections is a cinch.

The rest of Keenan’s book dives deeper into all aspects of the sales process, including prospecting, proposals, following up, handling objections and closing.

It is definitely a book I’m recommending to everyone in the sales profession.

If you read it let me know what you think!

I’ll leave you with this: Great salespeople don’t sell to a need, they sell to problems. Don’t focus on selling your product, focus on selling the desired outcome.

What is your favorite sales book? Let us know in the comments!


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Brad Telker
Vice President, Applied Systems Group at cfm Distributors, Inc.

Brad joined the cfm team in 2006, and now as the Vice President of the Applied Systems Group, he focuses on business development, as well as helping contractors and engineers find creative and unique solutions to any size HVAC project. When he’s not at work, Brad enjoys reading, running and spending time with his family


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10 Rules for Sales Success

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10 Rules for Sales Success

I read a lot. Probably too much.

So far this year I’ve annihilated 32 books (as of July 7th).

While reading all these books I consistently stumble on thought-provoking quotes. The topics of these quotes are everything from sales, to marketing, to motivation and leadership.

Here are my 10 favorite success quotes so far this year:

  1. "All you have to do is to make it your business to find out what people want–instead of assuming it, instead of telling them. The one rule that sums up the job to be done–the one formula that is fully in harmony with the real world–the secret of success is: Find out what people want and help them get it!” -Harry Brown, The Secret to Selling Anything

  2. “You are responsible for your reality. Decide what you want of the world and go make it happen. No clarity, no change; no goals, no growth.”- Brendon Burchard, Motivation Manifesto

  3. "If you are not creating new problems for yourself, then you aren't taking enough action.” -Grant Cardone, 10X

  4. "Success in any field comes from focus. An obsessive, dedicated, absolute focus to see your mission through.” Evan Carmichael, Top 10 Rules for Success

  5. "It’s not that you can’t sell, you can’t diagnose. Your product doesn’t drive the sale, your customer’s problem does. Being a great salesperson means being able to diagnose your customer’s problem and understanding the impact the problem is having on their business.” Keenan, Gap Selling

 
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6. "If you limit your goals to what you know you can achieve, you are setting the bar way too low.” Ray Dalio, Principles

7. “If you look back on yourself a year ago and aren’t shocked by how stupid you were, you haven’t learned much.” Ray Dalio, Principles

8. "Happiness comes from solving problems. Don’t hope for a life without problems. There’s no such thing. Instead, hope for a life full of good problems.” Mark Manson, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck

9. "Problems never stop; they merely get exchanged and/or upgraded. True happiness occurs only when you find the problems you enjoy having and enjoy solving.” Mark Manson, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck

10. "The facts are irrelevant. In the short run, it doesn’t matter one bit whether something is actually better or faster or more efficient. What matters is what the consumer believes.” Seth Godin, All Marketers are Liars

What is your favorite quote from this list?


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Brad Telker
Vice President, Applied Systems Group at cfm Distributors, Inc.

Brad joined the cfm team in 2006, and now as the Vice President of the Applied Systems Group, he focuses on business development, as well as helping contractors and engineers find creative and unique solutions to any size HVAC project. When he’s not at work, Brad enjoys reading, running and spending time with his family


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Top 5 Apps for Successful Salespeople

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Top 5 Apps for Successful Salespeople

Did you know… that on average you check your phone 80 times PER DAY?! That pesky little smartphone consumes 23 hours of your time each week. That’s 1,196 hours per year!

I’m willing to bet that during the work week, a majority of your “smartphone time” is probably spent in reaction mode (responding to emails and texts) or it’s spent on non-productive activities (browsing Instagram, Facebook and Twitter).

What if, when you reached for your phone, you opened a PRODUCTIVITY app instead of a REACTIVITY app? What if you spent just 15% of your time inside apps that focus your energy on what YOU are trying to achieve?

If you did, that would earn you an extra 22 days per year to focus on being productive!

Here are 5 apps that will get you out of reactivity mode and into productivity mode. 

Podcasts

If you read 10 personal development books, half of them would suggest you find a mentor. I agree, but that task is difficult and time consuming. Listening to podcasts is a shortcut to finding all the mentors you need to grow as a salesperson, a marketer, a leader…whatever life-skills you want to improve. Some of the most successful people in each field have podcasts where they literally tell you, step-by-step, exactly what made them successful. Comment below or shoot me an email for some podcast recommendations!

Evernote

I’m not dead set specifically on evernote, but you should have a digital note taking app on your smartphone. For me, Evernote is my digital brain. Everything goes into this app, including my day-to-day task list, my long term goals, my book list (including notes from every book I’m reading), and detailed notes from customer meetings. 

The great thing about evernote (or any digital note taking platform), is that it contains notes on your priority list, not everyone else’s (i.e. email). 

Pipedrive

If you’re not using a sale pipeline tool, PLEASE look into getting one. Or if your company is forcing you to use one, download the app to your phone and get excited about using it. Our close rate increased by 30% once we implemented Pipedrive. And having the app on your smartphone makes it easy to look at your opportunities, open deals, activities, etc, all on the go! 

Kindle 

The great thing about Kindle is you can have a sales book at your fingertips while you’re out and about. If you have a few spare minutes during your day, open Kindle instead of Instagram. The extra knowledge you pickup throughout your day will add up!

Scannable 

This app will turn any receipt or document into a PDF and you can quickly email or store in the cloud. Also, it syncs with Evernote, which isn’t a bad thing. 

What are your favorite sales or productivity apps? 


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Brad Telker
Vice President, Applied Systems Group at cfm Distributors, Inc.

Brad joined the cfm team in 2006, and now as the Vice President of the Applied Systems Group, he focuses on business development, as well as helping contractors and engineers find creative and unique solutions to any size HVAC project. When he’s not at work, Brad enjoys reading, running and spending time with his family


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8 Reasons Why You're Struggling to Reach your Potential

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8 Reasons Why You're Struggling to Reach your Potential

Think, and grow rich. What a wonderful concept. So much so that Napoleon Hill wrote a book about it called Think and Grow Rich. 

This book has now sold over 100 million copies worldwide. It contains the secret recipe for how to grow your wealth and reach your maximum potential. 

Chapter 9 of Hill’s book (which cover’s the 8th step to riches), discusses a major road block that most of us experience: Lack of Persistence

“Here you will find the real enemies that stand between you and noteworthy achievement”, Hill begins. 

Here are the eight “enemies” that stood out the most to me:

1. "Failure to recognise and clearly define exactly what you want”.

    Do you have your goals in writing? Do you review them often? If you want to reach your potential, you need to know what you want, and when you want it. Write it all down and then share it with the important people in your life. Then start chasing your dreams!

2. "Procrastination, with or without cause (usually backed up with a formidable array of alibis and excuses)."

   Stop making excuses and start making progress!

3. "Lack of interest in acquiring specialised knowledge."

     Knowledge is only the potential energy for achieving great things. But it is still a necessary ingredient. Are you spending time outside of the whirlwind acquiring in-depth, specialized knowledge?

 
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8. "The habit of blaming others for your mistakes, and accepting unfavorable circumstances as being unavoidable."

    Once you take 100% responsibility for everything, you will have a completely different outlook on life. Not everything that happens to you is your fault, but how you respond is 100% in your control. If you don’t like something change it. If you don’t like where you’re at in life, move! You’re not a tree!

10. "Willingness, even eagerness, to quit at the first sign of defeat."

    Success isn’t for the faint of heart. Once you write down your goals, plan for a lot of failure. It’s imminent. Just make sure you keep your eye on the prize, and then get up every time you get knocked down. 

11. "Lack of organised plans, placed in writing where they may be analysed."

    This is different than #1. This is the action plan. Write it down and share it with others. Then start executing.

12. "The habit of neglecting to move on ideas, or to grasp opportunity when it presents itself."

     We all have great ideas in the shower or on our drive to work. Act on those ideas immediately, otherwise you will find yourself with a lack of progress, and ultimately a lack of results. 

16. "Fear of criticism, failure to create plans and to put them into action because of what other people will think, do or say."

    You simply cannot be afraid of what others think. If you can get into the mindset that other people’s opinions don’t matter, you will open up a door to unlimited opportunities. 

I don’t know about you, but I struggle with a few of these almost daily. My biggest enemy is probably #12 because of #16. I’m working on it though, and writing this out helps. 

Where could you improve the most? What is your biggest enemy?


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Brad Telker
Vice President, Applied Systems Group at cfm Distributors, Inc.

Brad joined the cfm team in 2006, and now as the Vice President of the Applied Systems Group, he focuses on business development, as well as helping contractors and engineers find creative and unique solutions to any size HVAC project. When he’s not at work, Brad enjoys reading, running and spending time with his family


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The Knife Salesman that Doubled his Income

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The Knife Salesman that Doubled his Income

He was already a top salesperson. He had broken sales records in years past, but he wanted more. 

So the knife salesman decided that he wanted to double his income the next year. And not just for the money. He wanted to become the type of person that could create extraordinary results. 

"Is this doable?” he wondered. 

This knife salesman was Hal Elrod, author of the "Miracle morning", and most recently “The Miracle Equation”. 

The Power of the Process

In his latest book The Miracle Equation, Hal talks about The Power of the Process, a concept that every result or outcome we desire, is preceded by a process. The process is what produces the outcome. Without the process there is no outcome. 

"You can create a vision board, but without a process, you have no outcome,” Hal explained on a recent podcast. 

Hal’s goal of DOUBLING his income was intimidating. But he broke it down into a process. 

First, Hal calculated that to double his income, he had to double his sales.

Simple enough, right?

Next, Hal had to determine what the process would be. He had to write an action plan!

Hal pulled out his calendar from the previous year. Scanning each month, he counted up all the sales calls he made. 

On average, Hal made 21 sales calls per day. Could he double that? Was that feasible? Hal recalled that he had made 40 calls in a day before. He just didn’t stay at that level consistently. 

Hal wondered- if he made 42 calls per day, consistently, for the entire year, would that double his sales? He decided to go for it. 

Hal made an hour of calls every morning and an hour of calls in the early evening. 5 days per week. Every week. For the whole year. 

By the end of the year, Hal doubled his sales. Hal doubled his income. 

He had a vision. He created a process. He executed the process. 

To reach any goal you need to complete EACH of these steps: 1) You need to vividly see where you want to go, 2) You need a step-by-step process of how you will get there, and 3) You need to execute the plan. 

What goals are you reaching for this year? What is your process? Will you execute?


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Brad Telker
Vice President, Applied Systems Group at cfm Distributors, Inc.

Brad joined the cfm team in 2006, and now as the Vice President of the Applied Systems Group, he focuses on business development, as well as helping contractors and engineers find creative and unique solutions to any size HVAC project. When he’s not at work, Brad enjoys reading, running and spending time with his family


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