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[PODCAST TRANSCRIPT] Episode 7: Consultative Selling to FMs | Interview with Geoff Snavely | EBC Carpet Services

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Geoff Snavely - FM Innovator

Building a culture of collaboration in the FM community is essential for workplace success. Mike Petrusky & Geoff Snavely talk about delivering tangible value to facility managers using the most effective sales, business development and management techniques. Topics discussed include partner relationships, determining ROI from associations, and differentiating your offering. Geoff shares what he believes is the best show on TV & Mike talks about his favorite U2 album.


Show Transcript:

Geoff: Because if you truly understand your client, and what their world is, then you're putting yourself in a better position to help them.

This is “The Facility Management Innovator Podcast” where we talk with FM industry leaders about workplace trends, challenges, and the future of the built environment. This show is brought to you by Kayrell Connections, providing information, consulting and marketing expertise to help organizations deliver workplace innovation to the facility management community.

Mike: Hey there my fellow FM innovators! I am Mike Petrusky and this is Episode 7…lucky number seven…of “The Facility Management Innovator Podcast”. Yes, indeed, seven is my favorite number and October is my favorite time of year. And since we're speaking of favorites, “October” is also the name of my favorite U2 album, as well as the song from that record. My friend Bono would say [singing] "October…and the trees are stripped bare, of all they wear, what do I care". Ok, Mike…no more singing! Such a great song and an awesome early album from, as I've said before, the best band ever! It has those classic U2 songs “Gloria”, “Rejoice” and what might be my favorite U2 song of all time, "Tomorrow". Go take a listen to that one when time permits. Some powerful stuff. And speaking of powerful stuff, we've got some powerful content on this episode of the podcast. If you are in a sales, business development, or a sales management role… If you are responsible for delivering your company's workplace solution to facility managers, you've come to the right episode.
We get to hear from one of my favorite people (on this episode of so many favorites)… Geoff Snavely. Geoff has been a mentor to me ever since I stumbled into the FM community several years ago. He was my predecessor as the Chair of the Partnership Team at the Capital Chapter of IFMA where he later went on to serve as our Chapter President. He's a dynamic leader, a creative thinker and really the prototype for what I would call an “FM innovator”. You will learn a lot, as I do every time I have an opportunity to talk with Geoff.

Now, for all of our facility management practitioner friends listening out there, please don't tune out! While we do discuss some of the nuts and bolts of sales and sales strategies during this episode, the underlying theme, as always, for me is about workplace partnerships. And we all share a passion for elevating the FM profession, while building a culture of collaboration, and shared resources in our industry. There's just a ton of great stuff from Geoff here, and everybody should hear it, so let's get started…

Mike: I am really super excited to introduce you to my guest today, and you know why? I'll tell you why! I truly cannot wait for you to hear from this guest because we have, in the past, gotten together often and talked about many of our common philosophies. We share a lot of the same values and philosophies about sales and marketing strategies. You know, like being of service to the FM community. We’ve had so many great conversations, but the problem is, we've never recorded them. I always walk away from them saying, “I wish I had rolled tape and recorded that”. So, here we are, in front of an actual microphone and we're gonna record this discussion as we take a deep dive into discussing how industry partners are directing their teams and working really hard to leverage their expertise and creativity to deliver the resources that FM practitioners need to more effectively and efficiently manage their facilities. No pressure, right?

Geoff: No pressure.

Mike: So, here we go… My guest on this episode is Geoff Snavely. Welcome, Geoff!

Geoff: Thank you, Mike. I really do appreciate the opportunity, and you know, I'm a big fan of yours, and I think what you're doing with this “FM innovator” project is really important and I appreciate the invitation and happy to be a part of it. So, thank you.

Mike: Geoff is the General Manager and Vice President of Millicare by EBC Carpet Services, which is a specialty floor care provider. So, what does that actually mean?

Geoff: When we say “specialty floor care”, what we're talking about is really anything that you walk on in commercial space, and we can take care of it for you. Whether it be carpet, whether it be natural stone, whether it be resilient floors or other hard surfaces… We can restore those floors. We can clean them and maintain them. We were actually the first Millicare company in the United States, and we were actually the the role model franchise for Millicare years ago. So, I am very proud of that.

Mike: We all end up here in some strange way, shape, or form. Tell me about your role in the FM community and how you ended up here today. What’s your personal brand and how do you want to be known in that space, too?

Geoff: From a branding standpoint, I guess I could say what I'm not. I'm not a “status quo guy”. I am probably somebody who challenges the norms, maybe to a flaw, and maybe a contrarian with good intentions, you know but...

Mike [interrupts]: Sounds like “an innovator” to me!

Geoff: ...but at my core, I really believe in trying to help people solve their problems. And if you said to me, “how would you want to be known in the FM world?” If people thought of me that way, that would be perfect.

Mike: The audience would like to know a little bit more about what you do in your off hours. I know you do have family, and I'm sure you watch some movies, read some books, and are there any TV shows you like? What are you enjoying these days?

Geoff: I will tell you that my favorite movie is “Hoosiers”. That’s been true ever since high school. We used to watch “Hoosiers” before every basketball game when I was in high school for a little inspiration, and lots of it. I'm a sucker for a lot of those movies; “Remember the Titans”, those types of movies. But, I'm really more of a TV guy these days, and all those cable shows, you know AMC, Showtime, and HBO. What they're putting out is just incredible, and I am convinced, now more than ever, that “The Walking Dead” is the best show on TV.

Mike: Yeah, I've heard that.

Geoff: “Breaking Bad”, in my mind, held that title for years. And “The Walking Dead” has taken over.

Mike: I've got a lot of binge watching to do on my weekends coming up, to catch up on all these great shows, but let's get into the meat of the matter here. I want to really learn more about your mindset when it comes to being an “FM innovator” and sharing your expertise and proving your value to facility managers. That's what we're all about here. We have an audience of people that are interested in really being of service to this community, and I hope we can bring some content here that's going to help them do that better. To serve the FM community and elevate the profession. So, with that in mind, what do you consider your expertise to be and how do you deliver it?

Geoff: I don't really consider myself to be an expert in anything, you know. There's certain things that I enjoy very much and I think I've got some capabilities around. Consultative selling is one of those - team building and trying to help people understand how to build relationships. The whole idea of creating win-win scenarios. I'm a big believer in that but if I had to pick one thing and say it was something that I strive to be an expert in; it's really the ability to ask the right questions to help people discover their needs. It's something I take a lot of pride in. Something I work very hard at because I do think asking the right questions is critical if you're really going to help people with their sort of path to get to a better place.

Mike: And you have a team of sales reps. Talk to me about that team of yours and how you pour this philosophy into them?

Geoff: I'll share with you a story. I was in my twenties and I just got my first management job. I was still a young kid and they asked me to be a regional sales manager on the west coast and I said, “Boy, I've never actually been a salesperson even”, and everyone on my team that I was going to be working with, they were older than me and certainly more experienced than me. I was really struggling with this idea of managing people and someone who really has become quite a mentor for me over the years pulled me aside, and said, “You really look you're struggling with this idea” and I said, “Yes!” He said, “Look, here's a lens to look at this thing”. He told me three things… You manage the business, you lead the team, and you coach the individual. For whatever reason, that resonated with me. It's like the light went “off”…or light went “on”, I mean.

Mike: “Off” / “On”….Is there a facility manager in the house??

Geoff: Right. [laughs] So, I began to compartmentalize those three things and treat them very differently. There is a business to be managed and what that means. And then, what type of leadership do you try to incorporate with a team? But for me, and to answer your question… What I love, what I'm passionate about… is coaching individuals. And so, when I think about the sales team that I work with here at EBC, this idea of consultative selling and trying to help people, to me that's what it's all about and that's what I probably spend the most time talking with that team about. And you say how do you do that, right? You could spend days and days talking about that, but to me, there's a very simple idea that we try to get everybody to embrace and this is how you build authenticity. I tell them that before you go into any meeting, any sales call, whatever you want to call it, people's tendency usually is to think about themselves. It's very internal, “what am I going to say”? “I got to make this sale.” “I got to show these things.” “Boy, they gotta love me.” You gotta wipe your brain and that slate clean, right, and just say to yourself, before you walk in the door, before you shake that person's hand, you got to say to yourself, “I am here to help this person solve their problems.” And if you fundamentally believe that, it will absolutely change the conversation you're about to have, and it really becomes more around helping people, as opposed to what you need to do in your role in that whole conversation.

Mike: Yeah, we've talked about that in the past and I want to expand on that because I know there are a lot of sales managers and business owners who are listening to this conversation, and they may not be the ones out at the IFMA happy hours, or at the conferences and tradeshows, interacting with the facility management decision-makers. So, they understand that bigger philosophy, but then they send out their sales teams, and they tell them, “We need you to show me a return on our investment and time in this organization and we've spent money to sponsor or spent money to have you be a member here. Bring back some sales!” And the the mindset of the sales rep is transactional. You know, “give me a quick return”, and that's completely opposite of what is effective and required today. How do you keep reps in it for the long run?

Geoff: Yeah, that is a really good question. I think it's something that owners and managers, like you said, they're always going to struggle with that. How do you quantify the return on investment with association involvement, advertising, attending conferences, and those kinds of things? So again, you know we really try to keep things very simple and I'm a big believer in managing expectations and being realistic. So, in the case of going to an IFMA meeting, if we challenge our sales team to go out and get as many business cards as they can and have as many follow ups as they possibly can to document all that…that is going to change the types of conversations that they're having with people. And I think that gets us away from that core philosophy that we just talked about, of trying to help people. So what we talk about instead is, and I do this with myself… If we, myself, anyone on our sales team, can come out of an IFMA event with one follow-up opportunity, or maybe two. Where you've discovered a way that you can help somebody, or open the door to have a future conversation about how you can help somebody, that's a successful event. And so, whether you're in a sales call or whether you're at an IFMA event or any other interaction, if that's sort of your approach, then you're setting yourself up for success and you're gonna have real meaningful conversations. And by the way, I dare anyone to go to an IFMA event and have more than one or two of those conversations with someone, because those are deep conversations and they take a long time and they're not transactional. So, I hope that answers the question.

Mike: Absolutely. Let's get into the weeds here a little bit because we have time for it. That’s what's great about podcasts! And this is really helpful. How do we differentiate ourselves? Because in the market today, FMs are being bombarded with messages from all over from so many competitors in the marketplace. You're in a space, you know, floor care. There are a lot of people who can handle that. So how do you differentiate Millicare by EBC Carpet Services and how, also, do you get this information to the facility management decision-makers?

Geoff: Our industry has been extremely commoditized over the years. Floor care, what used to be a very value heavy service, is really now very, very commoditized. And when you're in industry that’s been commoditized, differentiation becomes extremely difficult. And so we also know that our customers - facilities managers - their jobs and responsibilities have gotten much tougher over the years. They're being asked to do more with less. Their time, it's always been precious, but is even now more precious than ever, and so, we need to be very, very aware of that as we talk about this idea of how you differentiate yourself. So, to me, the best way to differentiate yourself is to make sure that you are giving each customer a unique, customized experience. That fact, that we can sit down with people and talk to them about their unique situation, and then a customized approach to offering solutions that match their situation exactly. That’s really how we differentiate ourselves…and easy to say, tough to do. But, I believe that is a core component of our value proposition and who we are.

Mike: So, talk about getting to that point, getting to that conversation. What works and what doesn't? The market has changed. Everybody's busier than ever before. I’ve talked about the distracted culture we live in now and the need to really... I encourage people to become experts, subject matter experts. Become invested in their customer and you've addressed this. You are going in to solve a problem, not to talk about yourself, not to talk about your list of features and benefits, but your understanding of the FMs world, and you've invested that time, and then you get a chance to solve a problem for them, and maybe it's a problem don't even know they have. People want to know, “How do I get the opportunity and then how do I deliver on that promise once I make it?”

Geoff: You know, at the end of the day, what we're trying to do is help people solve their problems. There's no silver bullet. That grassroots approach that I mentioned, and trying to sit down with people, one-on-one, and have that conversation, is really the focus that need to have. Now, you asked about what's working, what's not working, what's changed…and what I would tell you is the world has changed. You really, today more than ever, need to be able to show tangible value and you've got to help people be able to sell your solution internally, and you've got to give them the tools to be able to do that because it wasn't that long ago….Everyone says that sales is... it’s relationships, right? It's all relationships, and I believe that. Believe me, I believe that. But, it felt like it wasn't that long ago, where people were more likely to do business with you because they liked you, and I think those days are long gone. And it's very difficult for people, for clients, to justify doing business with people for anything less than, "Here is some tangible value". So, how do you give them the tools to do that, and we talked a little while ago about the mindset of, “I'm here to help people solve their problems” right? And that's what it's got to be about. That you can't focus on, "I need to sell more". If you really take the approach that, “I want to help people and I want to give them an opportunity to get to a better place”, you know, I think you're setting yourself up for success, and to me, that's what's changed quite a bit. And it is what is very different today versus really not that long ago.

Mike: Wow! This time has gone by way too fast, as always, and I do want to get one more question in here. So put yourself in this situation: You're a new rep, you just started with a new company, a new employer or maybe it's your own business, and you have a new innovative facility management solution that you want to offer the FM community. So, what you're going to do? Your first day on the job is tomorrow. You got a week of planning ahead of you, maybe a month. What are you gonna do on those first days to really launch your business with success?

Geoff: Yeah. It really is a great question. I think you've asked a lot of great questions as we're spending time together. This is so important. So, what I would tell anyone, first day on the job or what I do first? I would learn the industry, right? I would take the time, make the investment, to learn the industry, and in this case it's all about learning facilities management. What is a facilities manager? What is a day in the life of facilities manager? What are they responsible for and how are they measured? Because, if you truly understand your client, and what their world is, then you're putting yourself in a better position to help them. Now how do you do that? Well, lots of ways. And I will make another, you know, plug for IFMA. I think if you want to learn facilities management…get involved with IFMA. You know, our company, we have been IFMA members, volunteers, sponsors for over 20 years and to me there's no better way to learn about facilities management than IFMA.
There are other resources out there… there's the NFMT Conference every year, which is in Baltimore in March. There are lots of training programs, classes, and certifications out there, to learn about facilities management, and that's stuff to do. But, the question was that in your first week. Well, that's more of a long term approach… that'll take you years. But to really... to start off, with the mindset of “I'm going to learn about facilities management”. Now, I think even more important than all of that, the best thing you can do, if you want to learn about facilities management? Sit down with facilities managers. Talk to them, ask them questions, and listen. Someone many years ago had an idea and I actually tried this and I've done it in several situations: “Find a mentor” is what he told me. So, first week on the job, find a facilities manager. Ask them, “Would you mentor me? Will you teach me about facilities management?” Because if you'll do that, it will set me up for success and I can add more value to my clients long-term. So that would be my advice. Learn the industry, ask questions, listen; if you ask questions, you gotta listen and find a mentor.

Mike: That's great and this is exactly the type of stuff… I promised you folks…that this would be a rich time and great content, and Geoff, you did not disappoint!

Geoff: Well, thank you, again. I appreciate the opportunity, and I’m a big believer in what you're doing. So, thank you.

Mike: There you have it! As my favorite podcaster, John Lee Dumas, would say…. That was Geoff Snavely dropping one “value bomb” after another on us, right? So good. Such great stuff! Those of you in sales and marketing may have picked up on a theme or two during our conversation and although we did not say it directly, these philosophies that both Geoff and I embrace are really articulated quite well in a couple of business books that we recommend. The first is "The Challenger Sale" by Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson. And another is "Spin Selling" by Neil Rackham. Both great reads, and these books will help you dive deeper, and really understand many of the concepts that Geoff and I discussed on this episode.

So, thanks once again, for listening to this podcast. I hope you're getting as much out of it as I am. And if so, please subscribe, rate us, and leave a comment for us over on iTunes. I would really appreciate that! And send me a message, let me know what you like, what you don't like, any ideas to make this podcast more valuable to you. And until next time, have a great week, enjoy the crisp October air…and as always…. Be an FM innovator!® Peace out!

You’ve been listening to “The Facility Management Innovator Podcast”. We hope you found this discussion beneficial, as we work together to elevate the FM community, by building partnerships that lead to innovative, workplace solutions. For more information about facility management collaboration and marketing resources, visit www.kayrellconnections.com.

LISTEN TO THE EPISODE: http://kayrellconnections.com/episode7

SUBSCRIBE ON ITUNES: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/facility-management-innovator/id1154571864


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