Joe Gerani, Local Sales Manager, JVC Broadcasting
Recently, we had an opportunity to connect with Joe Gerani, Local Sales Manager at JVC Broadcasting and listen to his thinking on what makes top performing salespeople different, what gives them their competitive edge and what sales leaders can do to train and support them. He shared a number of unique ideas focused around:
- Fear of Silence Hurts Results
- Diversify to Keep Ahead of Your Competition
- Be Honest Up Front to Avoid Hiring the Wrong People
- Joe’s Advice to New Salespeople
Early in the interview, Joe said something that really framed the rest of our conversation,
“Talking too much is the #1 limiter. I see this with a lot of salespeople. Every time there’s a pause in the conversation they try to fill the conversation with words that don’t need to be said. It’s best to sit back and listen … it’s the fear of the pregnant pause that hurts their results. They try to fill that pause with conversation that causes them to miss the close.”
The ability to use silence as a sales tool is something that typical salespeople frequently miss. As Joe observes, silence can be a very positive and powerful thing in a sales conversation. Many salespeople will ask a well-formed and thought-provoking question of their client only to attempt to fill in the answer when they are met with the customer’s silence; this is a huge mistake. The reason the client is silent is likely because they are thinking, they are attempting to put into words something important to them. When a salesperson jumps in and fills that silence with what they think the answer might be they’ve missed an opportunity to actively listen to the client and also potentially failed to uncover what’s important to the buyer.
Diversify to Keep Ahead of Your Competition
We asked Joe about some of the biggest challenges salespeople face in his industry. Here is his thinking,
“Everyone assumed that radio would go away but still, 95% of all people are influenced in one way or another by local radio each day. If I want to know what’s happening locally (local news, traffic, weather conditions) we tune in to local radio stations to find out about what’s happening. So terrestrial radio is doing fine and there’s plenty of opportunity, but we have to adapt and diversify to get involved in other entities, be it some form of digital advertising or sponsorship and event selling. You have to diversify to keep ahead of your competition.”
Diversifying solutions can be an excellent strategy to ensure you bring value to the widest market possible. However, when so many solutions are available this can create an interesting challenge for the salesperson as they attempt to determine what is most appropriate for the customer. Joe explains,
“We have so many things we offer that I think it’s difficult for most salespeople to cherry-pick the right things to present to the client. They present it all at once and they can confuse the customer. The need to diversify and offer different things can make it confusing for our customer base. There are so many different products, that we often get that confused look during the sales presentation. And when that happens it’s over because the buyer is not going to buy if they’re confused.”
Next, we asked Joe how he tackles this challenge when he is coaching his salespeople and he explained,
“In terms of sales coaching, it’s about time management and with so many things to do and products to manage, how much time do you really have to train each salesperson on all those products? We focus on how to convey the total value of what we do and how to ask the right questions. If you ask the right questions, and find out what needs the prospect has and what their goal is and immediate need, and ask the right way, they’ll sell themselves. We try to coach our people to treat each buyer as an individual and sell to what’s important to them. Find out what needs they want fulfilled and then show what a valuable resource we can offer.”
Be Honest Up Front to Avoid Hiring the Wrong People
One of the keys to the continued success of any organization is ensuring you get the right people for the job. This is especially true of salespeople who are required to innovate, adapt, and drive new activity every day while simultaneously moving their existing accounts down the pipeline. Joe explained the challenge with new hires, as he sees it,
“With new hires, you have to layout clear expectations. When people come to us, they need to develop new business and you have to be clear about that. Tell them on day one what to expect and even try and talk them out of the job during the interview process to see if they really have a desire to sell. You have to be honest about how much frustration and prospecting and how many “no’s” they’ll get. You’re going to avoid hiring the wrong people if you’re honest upfront with your new hires. We try and deter people from taking the job and if they still pursue it, we know they have the right attitude coming in.”
Once you have the right people with the right attitude in the door the battle is not yet won. Now comes the challenge of onboarding and training. We asked Joe how he tackles onboarding. Joe commented,
“If I have a new hire that’s not out there meeting new people, they need to be in-house, meeting everyone, asking questions, listening and learning. When people come in, they need to learn our lingo and language. If they’re not curious and asking questions, I know they’re not going to make it through the first few months.”
Joe went on to say,
“The key part of my training is to ask more questions. Any prospect will close themselves if you ask the right questions. Hard selling doesn’t work on most prospects. You have to find out what they want.”
Joe’s Advice to New Salespeople
Towards the end of our interview, Joe offered the following advice to salespeople who want to become top performers,
“My advice to a new salesperson would be the same advice I got from my first sales manager. He said the best way to approach the day is to be content with the first person you see in the morning … that’s yourself in the mirror. Be honest, give good advice, listen, and deliver something that your clients are looking for. Be content with the work you did for every individual customer each day and you’ll be happy with yourself. And that’s success.”
Thanks to Joe for the interview and solid tips on how to generate stronger sales teams!
For videos on how to increase sales utilizing the SalesGym’s “Compete Selling” approaches, check out our SalesGym YouTube Channel!
SalesGym is a research, consulting, and training company that works with and learns from sales teams all over the world and has refined a coaching and training process that trains sales teams the way elite athletes are trained. More insights and articles from us can be found on our RESOURCES PAGE.
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