Sales isn’t Selling – It’s Problem Solving

With Tom JackobsEP 167

In 2008, Tom Jackobs purchased a personal training facility… and almost went broke in the first six months. He had to learn how to sell – and those skills changed his life forever.

In this engrossing episode of Let’s Talk Business, Meny Hoffman talks to Tom about the secrets of successful selling, including how to see sales as problem solving, at what point you need to keep your mouth shut, how to avoid appearing like (and being) a sleazy salesperson, how to get a prospect to give you a decision at the end of the first meeting, why the questions you ask before your presentation are more important than the presentation itself, the reasons that you are your best salesperson (and what to do about that when you are big enough to have a full sales team), and more.


[00:01 – 09:33] Opening Segment

How Tom grew up disliking sales to becoming a successful salesperson
The negative approach to sales comes from the idea that one person wins and one person loses, creating a zero-sum game
Tom’s approach to sales starts with the mindset shift that salespeople are problem solvers

[09:34 – 20:50] Understanding The Process of Selling

Tom discusses his experience in sales in the fitness industry and why the consultative approach is important
Salespeople should focus on getting a decision from the prospect at the end of the conversation
Treating sales as a process will ensure you’ll consistently close the deal

[20:51 – 24:49] How the Sales Process Can Set You Up for Success

Some extroverts spend too much time on rapport-building
Introverts do better if they stick to the process
As a business owner, you are the primary salesperson in your business
Establish a good management process and scripting of the sales process for your team

[24:50 – 30:48] Leveraging the Power of Storytelling

Understand the needs of the client or crowd you’re speaking to and address any objections throughout the presentation
Share stories and case studies of past clients, as well as your own personal story
Tailor your presentation to connect the audience to their dream outcome with your product

[30:49 – 36:54] Closing Segment

The sale is made during the questioning or discovery phase
Be comfortable having uncomfortable conversations with your client
Tom on the rapid-fire questions

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Practical Pointers
If you see sales as a zero-sum game, you’ve already lost. Instead, reorient your strategy and see yourself as a problem solver. You’ll avoid appearing like the typical sleazy salesman, and you’ll greatly increase your ability to close the deal.
Learn how to zip your mouth shut. After the pitch is through and your potential client is quiet, most salespeople tend to get nervous and start lowering the price or offering bonuses - when, in fact, the potential client is probably just thinking it through. Welcome the awkward silence instead of trying to end it.
When the meeting is over, you want a decision - either yes or no. Even better, give your potential client an agenda at the outset, explaining that you’re going to give him all of the information that he needs to make a decision, and that he will decide one way or the other by the time the meeting is finished. This goes a long way toward avoiding the client’s saying, “Let me think about it” - because he already realizes that he needs to make a decision, yes or no.
The questioning phase of your presentation - which should be at the beginning - is when the sale is made. The questions are not for you; they help your prospective client hear himself say that he has a problem, that he needs it fixed, and he needs it fixed now. When you mirror that back to him, he feels heard, and realizes that you understand him. At that point, you’re ready to make your presentation, and the sale happens almost automatically.
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Guest Bio
Person Image
Tom Jackobs

In 2008, Tom Jackobs purchased a personal training facility… and almost went broke in the first six months. He had to learn how to sell – and that changed his life forever. Today, he is a well-regarded business and sales coach, entrepreneur, and public speaker, a first class storyteller, and someone who greatly believes in the power of using a standardized process in order to successfully make the sale time after time.

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