What Big Brands Know. "Because" it makes all the difference

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What Big Brands Know. "Because" it makes all the difference

What do Coors Light, Red Robin and Quiznos all have in common? — Gerry O’Brion.

Gerry worked for each company in a major marketing role, serving as vice president for two of the three, and made big moves for each.

At Coors, he helped develop the “frost brewed liner” marketing campaign that included the image on the can changing colors when the beer was cold enough to drink (more on this later).

At Quiznos he almost doubled their customer base through the Million Sub Giveaway.

And at Red Robin he helped launch a new tri-fold menu that had a major impact on their bottom line.

I had the privilege of watching Gerry live on stage at the HARDI Annual conference in Austin, and he knocked it out of the park. Here were the major takeaways from the keynote.

Give your customers more of what they want, and less of what they don’t.

Seems obvious. But many of us are spending too much time working on things that our customers don’t care about, and not enough time on what they do care about. Ask your customers what they need more of and give it to them!

Ask your customer: "What would it take for us to be your only contractor/supplier?”

This question might sound absurd, and sure, it might not be realistic. But just ASKING your customer this question might unveil more information about how you can improve on number 1. And who knows, maybe you can make it happen.

What is your “because”?

When your customer calls you and asks, “Why would I choose you over your competition?”, if your response doesn’t start with “Because” and “We are the only company that…” then you are not any different than your competition.

Let’s unpack this.

First, how important is having a “because”? A Harvard University study from 1977 shows it is extremely important. In the study, a researcher asked if they could cut in line to make some copies on a Xerox machine. Here were the results:

  • “Excuse me, I have 5 pages, may I use the Xerox Machine”? — 60% said yes.

  • “May I use the Xerox machine, because I’m in a rush?” — 94% said yes.

  • “May I use the Xerox machine, because I need to make copies?” — 93% said yes!

The study showed that people only need to hear the word “because” to be convinced. It doesn’t matter if your reason is important.

Let’s look at a couple examples that Gerry gave during his keynote.

Take a look at Papa John’s logo:

 
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This logo tells you that Papa John’s has better pizza, “because” they have better ingredients. Pizza Hut didn’t believe them so they sued, but Papa Johns won because they used fresh tomatoes and filtered water. The lesson here is to make sure something is actually different, though it doesn’t have to be major.

What about Coors Light?

In 2012, after much debate about a new marketing direction, they decided to focus their brand around cold beer. “You should drink our beer because it's the coldest beer."

The problem here is no one will believe this story without more information. How would a Coors light can be any colder than a bud light bottle siting next to it in the same cooler?

 
Source: Gerry O’Brion

Source: Gerry O’Brion

 

This is where the blue liner comes into play. The liner that “locks in refreshing frost brewed taste.” Every beer company uses a liner in their aluminum cans, but Coors painted their liner blue, and then said they have the coldest beer BECAUSE of the blue liner. Now the 21-year-old male can tell himself a believable story that Coors is colder (and maybe that it even tastes better) BECAUSE of the liner.

What story are you telling your customer? What is your “because"? Are you the only company that…?


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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 Commercial Sales, 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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Best sales and business books of 2018

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Best sales and business books of 2018

2018 was another year crammed with a lot of reading. I think I ended up reading 23 books (finishing all but one). A lot less than last year, but still pumped about how many I was able to read. 

Here are my favorites from 2018:

High Performance Habits by Brendon Burchard 

Technically this isn’t a sales or business book. But it will completely change the way you think about how you can achieve your biggest goals. 

In this book, Brendon reveals the 6 habits that are MOST correlated with success. The data from this book is not just from Brendon’s perspective, but from actual research; 20 years worth. In case you’re wondering, the 6 habits are:

  1. Seek Clarity

  2. Generate Energy

  3. Raise Necessity

  4. Increase Productivity

  5. Develop Influence

  6. Demonstrate Courage

Each habit has many sub-habits.

If you are into personal or professional development, go grab a copy of this book now!

 
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4 Disciplines of Execution by McChesney, Covey and Huling

This book takes a very complicated topic, "how to grow your business", and massively simplifies it into 4 steps:

  1. Focus on the Wildly Important

  2. Act on the Lead Measures

  3. Keep a Compelling Scoreboard

  4. Create a Cadence of Accountability 

For a more in depth review you can hit this link -> https://cfmsalesacademy.com/blog/2018/5/15/ew7kmjim5y86surxg6jlg03lwb1im6

But you should probably just get a copy of the book, it’s that good. 

 
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All Marketers Are Liars Tell Stories by Seth Godin 

This one is all about branding. It's about understanding how consumers (fancy word for your potential customers) perceive your company. In this book you learn about Worldviews, Frames and Godin's 5 step process on how to tell your best story. 

 
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A more in depth review is here -> https://cfmsalesacademy.com/blog/2018/11/25/are-you-telling-a-good-enough-story-about-your-business


Elon Musk Biography by Ashlee Vance 

If you are a fan of entrepreneurship, huge risks, major failures and successes, grab a copy of this book. Whether you are a fan of Elon Musk or not, this book delivers an incredible story about how Elon got his start in the software business, and then almost went bankrupt trying to keep Tesla and SpaceX alive. 

 
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Spin Selling by Neil Rackham

I'm a huge proponent of having a written sales process for your team, and SPIN selling definitely has a place in everyone's process. SPIN is an acronym for the steps of the investigation stage of the sales process. 

S- Situations Questions
P- Problem Questions
I- Implication Questions
N- Need Payoff Questions

There is a ton of great information in this book, you won't regret the purchase. 

 
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Check out this review if you are still on the fence! https://cfmsalesacademy.com/blog/2018/7/20/how-to-close-more-deals-by-using-the-spin-selling-strategy


Jab Jab Jab Right Hook by Gary Vaynerchuk

Most people that haven't read this book think it is all about "Give, Give, Give, Ask". Which is partially true. But really this book teaches you HOW to use each social media platform to build your COMPANY brand. Since it is a bit older (2012 I think), it has a few dated topics. But 80% of the book is relevant in 2019. 

You will learn a LOT about what to post, and what NOT to post on each of the following:

  • Facebook

  • LinkedIn

  • Instagram

  • Twitter

You will also learn techniques on how to build brand awareness for many of these platforms. 

 
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What is your favorite sales or business book? Comment below!


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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 Commercial Sales, 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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Anatomy of a top salesperson - what separates the best from the rest?

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Anatomy of a top salesperson - what separates the best from the rest?

It's hard to put into words what it takes to be a top salesperson. But if a single infographic ever made an accurate depiction, I think this one from Eric Feng hit the mark well. 

Here are my four biggest takeaways from Eric’s infographic (below). 


Brain - Hungry for knowledge

The most successful people in any field are always life-long learners. They always have a book in their hand or a podcast in their ears. Are you consistently reading books or taking training courses on sales, marketing, business etc? Are you learning more about your products, about your target market and about your industry? 


Mouth - Focus on teaching, rather than selling

Take a look at your content: branding, marketing, sales collateral, social media content…is it focused on teaching? Or is it focused on your product? Notice the difference? The top sales people are focusing more on teaching than selling. Your customer can probably buy your product at a similar price and similar level of service somewhere else. But very few companies are TEACHING. 

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Heart- Cares for customers 

You can always tell who will be successful by how deeply they care for their customers. They fight for them. AND, they truly care about their customer’s success, so you will see more consultative selling vs hard selling. What’s the biggest difference? They are teachers!


Legs - Keeps walking forward even in tough times

The best of the best are extremely competitive and hate losing. But, they don’t take losses personally. They take full responsibility of each loss, and then breakdown what happened to LEARN what they could have done better. How should they have prepared differently? What should they have said differently? Was the lead qualified correctly?

What do you think separates the best from the rest? Comment below!


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Brad Telker
Vice President of Commercial Sales at cfm Distributors, Inc.

Brad joined the cfm team in 2006, and now as the Vice President of Commercial Sales, 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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How top salespeople deal with major change

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How top salespeople deal with major change

“Who moved my cheese”, by Spencer Johnson is a short fable about dealing with change in both work and in life. 

In this quick read, a couple of mice (Scurry and Sniff) and two littlepeople (Hem and Haw) find months worth of cheese in the maze they are living in. Soon after they eat all of the cheese, Scurry and Sniff quickly run off to find more. 

But Hem and Haw, who didn’t even notice that the cheese was slowly disappearing, stick around to see if the cheese will magically reappear. 

Once Haw realizes that no more cheese is coming back, he decides to go searching for more.

Hem decides to wait it out. He thinks that this sudden change is not fair. He feels that he is entitled to the cheese that he originally found.

Throughout Haw’s journey to find more cheese, he learns quite a few lessons about change. He writes each lesson on the maze walls, hoping that Hem will try to come find him and will see the notes. 

Here is what Haw learned on his way to finally finding more cheese:

  • Change Happens - They Keep Moving The Cheese 

  • Anticipate Change - Get Ready For The Cheese To Move 

  • Monitor Change - Smell The Cheese Often So You Know When It Is Getting Old 

  • Adapt To Change Quickly - The Quicker You Let Go Of Old Cheese, The Sooner You Can Enjoy New Cheese 

  • Change - Move With The Cheese 

  • Enjoy Change! Savor The Adventure And Enjoy The Taste Of New Cheese!

One thing that is certain in life and in business is change. 

 
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In business, your customers will change how they buy. Your customers will change how they communicate. Your customers will completely change what they need. 

In life, your bills are going to get more expensive. Your favorite restaurant is going to close. Your children are going to move out of the house (this might be a good thing depending on your scenario!). 

Just remember that change is coming your way, so get used to it. 

Be on the lookout for change. 

Always be searching for new ways to adapt to the changes. 

If you stay ahead of the curve, you can help steer the change to work to your advantage.  

In the end, just remember to enjoy change. Savor the adventure and enjoy the taste of new cheese!


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Brad Telker
Vice President of Commercial Sales at cfm Distributors, Inc.

Brad joined the cfm team in 2006, and now as the Vice President of Commercial Sales, 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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Are you telling a good enough story about your business?

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Are you telling a good enough story about your business?

If you don't have a steady flow of leads, you won’t have any deals to close. 

So even if you are the best sales professional on the planet, without leads, you’re toast. 

How do you get more leads? Leads that are good? Leads that have a good chance of closing?

Great question….hopefully this short review of Seth Godin’s book will help. 

Much of Godin’s book “All Marketers are Liars Tell Stories” has a strong focus on a B2C model. However, even in the B2B model, your customers are STILL consumers. They consume your message, they consume your services, they consume the experience of buying (or not buying) your product or service. 

First, a few of my favorite quotes from the book:

  • “Successful marketers are just the providers of stories that consumers choose to believe.”

  • “We believe what we want to believe, and once we believe something, it becomes a self-fulfilling truth. If you think that more expensive wine is better, then it is. If you think your new boss is going to be more effective, then she will be.”

  • “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.”

Before we get to Godin’s marketing process, we need to cover two definitions: Worldview and Frames.

Worldview:

Worldview refers to the rules, values, beliefs and biases that a consumer brings to a situation. If Jason had a terrible experience the last time he bought a car from a used-car salesman, his worldview when he visits a dealership four years later is different than that of someone who is buying her third car in four years from the same place.

Frames: 

Frames are elements of a story painted to leverage the worldview a consumer already has. Krispy Kreme did it with the phrase Hot Donuts. Hot means fresh and sensual and decadent. Pile that onto the way some of us feel about donuts and they had tapped into an existing worldview (donuts = sensual = hot = love). It wouldn’t work on everyone, but until people changed their worldview (donuts = carbs = get fat), they did great. 

 
Photo credit: The War on Mind and Body

Photo credit: The War on Mind and Body

 

One more important note from Godin before moving on:

Don’t try to change someone’s worldview is the strategy smart marketers follow. Don’t try to use facts to prove your case and to insist that people change their biases. You don’t have enough time and you don’t have enough money. Instead, identify a population with a certain worldview, frame your story in terms of that worldview and you win.”

Finally, here is Godin's 5 step process to analyze before you run your next marketing campaign:

STEP 1: THEIR WORLDVIEW AND FRAMES GOT THERE BEFORE YOU DID 

A consumer’s worldview affects the way he notices things and understands them. If a story is framed in terms of that worldview, he’s more likely to believe it. 

STEP 2: PEOPLE ONLY NOTICE THE NEW AND THEN MAKE A GUESS 

Consumers notice something only when it changes. 

STEP 3: FIRST IMPRESSIONS START THE STORY 

A first impression causes the consumer to make a very quick, permanent judgment about what he was just exposed to. So be very careful to make sure your first impression is a great one. 

STEP 4: GREAT MARKETERS TELL STORIES WE BELIEVE 

The marketer tells a story about what the consumer notices. The story changes the way the consumer experiences the product or service and he tells himself a lie. Consumers make a prediction about what will happen next. Consumers rationalize anything that doesn’t match that prediction. 

Marketing is now so well developed and so embedded in our culture that consumers no longer make decisions based on a rational analysis of facts. Instead they decide based on the stories they’re told.

STEP 5: MARKETERS WITH AUTHENTICITY THRIVE 

The authenticity of the story determines whether it will survive scrutiny long enough for the consumer to tell the story to other people. Sometimes marketing is so powerful it can actually change the worldview of someone who experiences it, but no marketing succeeds if it can’t find an audience that already wants to believe the story being told.

Consumers are all different, but ultimately they all want the same outcome. They want to be promoted, to be popular, to be healthy, wealthy and wise. They want to be pleasantly surprised and honestly flattered.

Finally, from an author that spent 220 pages teaching marketing & advertising fundamentals and attention grabbing techniques, he finishes the book by saying:

“If you’re not growing, the problem is most likely in your product and not your advertising. Have the guts to change it so that it can evolve into what it deserves to be.”

So before you blame your marketing strategy, take a HARD look at YOUR product or service.

Is it SO good that it’s worth sharing?


***Key Photo credit - Key Photo - itsyourturnblog.com


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Brad Telker
Vice President of Commercial Sales at cfm Distributors, Inc.

Brad joined the cfm team in 2006, and now as the Vice President of Commercial Sales, 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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