The responses, tweets and emails I received from people about my posts really motivated me to write more and more often. THANK YOU for the encouragement and kind words; you know who you are. It’s never easy to leave your comfort zone and start doing something that you’ve never done before… but as Chris Brown puts it, “Look at me now.” Keenan wrote a blog posting on his site… about me… and I am so extremely honored!
“The world has changed
It demands more than doers-it demands thinkers. If you’re not prepared to be a world-class thinker, success will elude you. …You have to create solutions that move you and the organization forward. You have to get comfortable working with new and untested date.” 1
Don’t people always say, “think outside the box”? How about Jillian Michaels, “Get comfortable with being uncomfortable”. That explains it all and reinforces the idea of a change creator! If you’re not leading the charge for change, someone else is going to do it. They’ll be the one that gets the promotion. I can hear you thinking it right now, “But I’m scared. I’m too shy. Nobody will take me seriously. I don’t have the expertise.” So what! Nobody’s perfect. Take the initiative, speak up and get the group excited. You’d be surprised the little things people remember.
While at my last organization, I was in a meeting with 35 other people and a few of them were brand new. The newbies never talk because they didn’t have a good grasp on what we were talking about. About half way through the meeting, one of the new guys, Matt, raises his hand and makes a comment about email subject lines. I was blown away! Right then and there, Matt separated himself from the rest of the class. Be like Matt!
“True selling means understanding the needs, goals, and problems of your prospects, friends, family, bosses, collaborators, and everybody else with your sphere of influence.”2
This is something that is overlooked all the time! Sales people are always after their quota and the next meeting. Always chasing that extra dollar. We don’t often stop and think about the people we’re selling to. “Oh, they’ve got an RFP out… looks like we’ll bid. Our product is better, so we’ll win!” or, “All of our products are the same… so we’ll low ball on price”. NO! That is completely the wrong idea. Just because those ways work sometimes, doesn’t mean it’s the right way to do it. You won’t last very long in your industry if that’s how you plan to do it.
“To be good at sales, you need these three related skills: problem finding, problem solving and storytelling.”3
This part of the book is just freaking killer! We’ve all heard things like this or thought them… but the way Keenan writes it, it makes much more sense.
“The best salespeople are badasses at finding problems. They ask a million questions”4
Asking questions gets you to the root of their nightmares. Ask open ended questions so that they can tell you their problems. If you can get a prospect to vent to you about something, you’re doing it correctly. While you ask questions and talk about their business, you’re gaining their trust. People buy from people they trust. Remember: you’re not there to sell them a product. You’re there to help fix their problem and offer a solution.
By problem solving, we’re creating the solution. That part isn’t all that difficult to understand. If the prospect knows we’re meeting to discuss HR software, based on my questions, my software should exceed their expectations. If I can’t fix their problems, then I better suggest something else. The last thing you want to do is sell them something they don’t need… that’ll really piss them off. Negative reviews last longer than positive reviews.
“Better solutions create better outcomes, better outcomes equal greater value, and everyone loves greater value. …Find the problem, solve the problem, and then tell a damn good story.”5
Paint a mental picture for them. “Here’s where you are currently… Here’s where you could be if we partner.” Show them the true value of partnering with you and how that partnership will blossom into something beautiful. If their current provider has bad customer service, give them your cell number and tell them you’ll take their call at any hour of the night. (You better live up to your word!) Show them the value they’re looking for and the pricing conversation won’t be all that difficult. One of my favorite quotes is from Warren Buffet, “Price is what you pay, value is what you get”.
Influence + Engagement + Knowledge + Value = Sales
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Not Taught | Jim Keenan