As part of our continuous learning and development programme here at Collingwood Search, we collectively read books on industry related subjects. Over the COVID period we have read so many interesting and diverse books. Each morning we will gather on a Teams call and listen to the Audio version of a book and then discuss the key takeaways.

The most recent book we’ve read is GAP Selling by Jim Keenan. It really comes to life on the audio version, which is read by Jim. He’s very engaging and energetic, which gets you started in the morning!

The book is full of great tips and concepts and well worth a read. Here are three main takeaways:

More accurate sales forecasting – I think it’s fair to say that sales forecasting is a challenge for most organisations. There is a simple checklist of 7 questions to run through with sales reps to qualify the likelihood of a successful sale and identify where the gaps are. Its starts with understanding where the customer is now and where they want to get to. Can they name the customers intrinsic motivations for buying? Can they list the buyer’s decision-making criteria? Can they provide evidence that all this is correct? And, do they know what will happen next and when? The goal is to achieve a +/- 15% accuracy on sales forecast

Know your customers better than they know themselves – This starts with identifying all the potential (Client) problems before a call. Identifying the potential impact to the organisation and what we know about the problems. This chapter gives you all the tools to talk to your customers using probing, process, provoking and validating questions. It’s important to keep delving deeper and not to accept the first response but to probe more to really understand what is happening and what the impact is. As well as gaining a deeper understanding you will be building credibility and trust, as you potentially explore avenues that the buyer has not considered.

Know the buying process -According to the author ‘nothing can mess up sales more predictably than not understanding the buying process and who is involved’. It is thought that there are on average 6.8 buyers in every sale. Knowing who is involved in the process and when, can much better arm you to pull together your deal strategy. Its highly likely that you have one or maybe two strong relationships within all the buyers. By knowing about the other buyers gives you an opportunity to try and get to know them and their different perspectives equally.

There’s a lot to be taken from this book and it certainly reaches way beyond the three points above. The audio version brings real energy to the experience, and leaves you thinking there are no excuses not to do this! I hope you enjoy the summary and reading the book if you choose to do so.