Let’s face it: sales isn’t for everyone. It takes some real drive, personality, and grit to be great as a salesperson. Even with all of those traits, many salespeople still struggle to close the deal time after time. Why might that be? For John Misuraca, VP of Sales Southeast Division for Germaire, it’s not as big of a mystery as you might think. In reality, many salespeople are just missing out on some of the basics; those foundational pieces of the process that are what really drive success.
Hailing from Rochester, NY, John is one of those names that has been brought up by several of our guests on To The Point citing him as an influence. From Julian Scadden of Nexstar to Frank DiMarco of Service Champions, John is pretty well-known on the sales side of things. If you ask him, however, his journey into heating and air conditioning as well as sales is quite a bit of luck.
As John was graduating high school, a lot of his friends were either going into the military or continuing their education and he just wasn’t sure what he wanted to do with his life. Most of his friends were joining the Marines, and after watching one of his friends graduate, it took John less than 5 minutes to know the Marines wasn’t a good fit. He talked to some Air Force recruiters, and told them he wanted to travel the world. They reassured him they could make that happen, so John joined the Air Force—and then was stationed in Cheyenne, WY for the next 8 years.
John is a firm believer that things happen for a reason, and while serving in the Air Force he was tasked with heating and air conditioning on a nuclear silo. That’s not a bad resume to have in the home services industry! After leaving the military, John moved to Fort Collins, CO, and found a job as a service tech for one of his friends in the Air Force who had a heating company in the area.
It didn’t take John long to realize that he wasn’t that mechanically inclined. He can walk you through how to fix a furnace, but if he has to do it he’s going to hurt himself (his words, not ours!). What his friend noticed, however, was that John was really great with his customers. He encouraged John to go into sales, but John wasn’t interested. He thought of sales as those pushy, slimy car salesmen that often come to mind as a trope for salespeople. After enough prodding, however, John moved forward with it and took some training and classes, including a class from Tom Piscitelli. This training helped John view sales in a different light, and learned how to approach sales as more of a consultant and less of a soulless sales pitch machine. He found that selling by asking questions and getting to understand his customers’ needs, sales was pretty enjoyable!
John loved being in sales, and would go on to work for other companies and gain more training, including some Air Time 500 courses. Before long, John was a million-dollar salesperson, and back then that put him in some pretty exclusive company. He would go on to work in the distribution side of things for a while, moving back and forth between different roles in the industry but always utilizing his sales skills. Now, he’s settled in on the East Coast in his current role as VP of Sales Southeast Division for Gemaire.
Josh loves what he does, and uses his position to help Gemaire be the best distributor they can be. Part of this is their focus on helping their customers improve their salespeople. In addition to great customer service and products, they are honing in on how to help their customers be better businesses.
During his storied career, John has worked alongside many highly successful salespeople. What he’s noticed is that there is a great diversity in techniques, personalities, and tactics, but the core commonality between them is a good personality combined with the drive to succeed. John is confident that it is much easier to teach someone with a good personality and ambition how to sell heating and air conditioning systems than it is to take an experienced tech and teach them how to have a personality. He’s taken roofing salespeople, car salespeople, and many from outside the industry and helped them become successful by teaching them a good process and holding them accountable. In fact, most of them quickly become more successful than those who have been doing sales “their way” for 20+ years.
There are some really simple things that you need to do in order to really excel as a salesperson. It’s not always easy, but most of the time just taking the effort to lay solid groundwork is the majority of success.
Perhaps most importantly, you have to genuinely care about your customers. They know when you actually care about their needs and when you’re listening. If you’re just trying to get through the day, it’s going to show regardless of how good your “game face” may be. If you can’t get yourself to care about your customers and your capacity to improve their comfort, you might need to take a hard look at whether you’re in the right industry.
A big issue in our industry is complacency. Maybe it’s a Friday, and you’re on your third call of the day, and you’re just trying to get it over with so you can call it a week. If you can fight through that, you’re going to kill it. You have to make sure you’re spending enough time with your customers and in their homes. It’s not as simple as giving your pitch, leaving some material, and walking out the door hoping they’ll call you back. John is surprised by how many people are still doing the bare minimum; giving their pitch, leaving their proposal on the table, and walking away. That’s not how you get things done.
It might mean only getting to 2 calls a day, but if you really spend enough time getting to know your customer and understanding their needs, you can build that trust and a relationship to help them find for themselves a way that you can be of service. No pitches needed! Just make sure you’re asking the right questions.
Asking the right questions is a combination of spending enough time and genuinely caring. In taking the time to get to know your customer, you should be asking them questions that will help you pinpoint their pains—which will in turn help you know what to recommend. What do they like about their house? What do they dislike? What are their expectations? You can improve their life most of the time with equipment and a lot of the time with ductwork, but if you don’t understand what they need you can’t possibly know what to suggest. Provide education for your customer, show them options that make sense for their needs and budget, and let them make the decision themselves. If they trust you and know you’re genuine, the sale will follow so long as you ask for it.
This leads into perhaps the biggest missing piece for many salespeople. You absolutely have to ask for the sale! You can’t just avoid objections, give a quote, and leave. You have to handle the objections (shout out to Uncle Joe!), spend the time to ask the right questions and understand what your customer needs. If you can educate your customer and present them with options that make sense for their pain points and budget, asking for the sale will be either a yes or no. It’s that simple.
John has worked with a lot of people and companies, and those that want to do things the way they’ve always done them are the ones that fall behind. Those that are willing to change and make the effort to be better are the ones that excel. Whether it’s learning how to change the way you communicate with your younger salespeople (maybe not emojis, but at least be willing to text!), spend the time to find out what motivates them individually, or training them all on the right process, you have to be ready to adapt and make moves when the standard routine just isn’t enough. If you’re a salesperson yourself and just can’t seem to figure out how to break out, review those foundational guidelines and make sure you aren’t missing the basics.