The Audible-Ready Sales Podcast
The Audible-Ready Sales Podcast

Episode · 2 years ago

13. Approaching Your Sales Conversations with Empathy w/ John Kaplan


This episode covers how to approach sales conversations right now to mitigate stalled deals and communicate with purpose and empathy. 

Many sales professionals and leaders within their organizations are wondering what’s working in sales conversations right, what isn’t, and who’s doing it well. 

In this episode, John Kaplan covers how you can focus your sales teams on having purposeful conversations right now, including:

  • How salespeople can focus on the buyer and be effective in their conversations to grab onto interest and opportunities
  • How to use conversations to uncover changing needs and the specific challenges buyers are facing to approach them with viable solutions
  • How to navigate what other organizations are dealing with to mitigate potential stalls and delayed in their deals

Check out this and other episodes of The Audible-Ready Podcast at Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or our website.

Here are some additional resources focused on the importance of empathy right now : 

Reframing Your Buyer Message for What’s Happening Right Now

Get Busy: Responding to the Crazy Week That Was

You become an essential conversation if you're talking to customers about problems that are so critical that if they're not solved, they create urgency to solve them, meaning creates its own urgency. You're listening to the audible ready podcast, the show that helps you and your team's sell more faster. Will feat your sales leader sharing their best insights on how to create a sales engine that helps you fuel repeatable revenue growth, presented by the team at force management, a leader in BTB sales effectiveness. Let's get started. Hello, welcome to the audible ready podcast. I'm Rachel Club Miller with force management. John Kaplan joining me today. Hello John, Hey Rachel, how are you? Good? Good John. Today we are going to talk about the sales conversation and how best or approach those conversations during this time with everything going on in the world, and there's a lot as a salesperson, you can really help yourself by having the...

...right type of conversation. Yeah, Rachel, I think it's I think it's a really appropriate topic, you know, and when we talk about interacting with our buyers right now, like we're making sure that this concept of a you know, a purposeful buyer contact. Is is what we want to focus on. So you want to have a purpose to the conversation and in a great purpose right now, as you know, to really just kind of start off, to just making sure that you get in touch with what somebody is dealing with, because everybody's dealing with something and the more empathetic you can be, to just really lead the conversation, to find out what people are dealing with, you know, what are some of the more specific challenges and how their needs are changing. You make it all about them, make it all outside in versus inside out. It really really will have a positive impact for you right now. Yeah, you bring up that, that word empathy, and...

...that's something I want to dive in a little bit more closely. And you know so often, how many times if people said, oh, hey, how are you guys faring with all of this going on, or how's it going? And people say, Oh, yeah, we're hanging in there. But to your point, the power of being specific can really be helpful. So two things to keep in mind with these conversations that we talked about empathy and opportunity. What are your tips, John, about approaching those conversations with empathy. Let's start there. Yeah, it's it's really really appropriate. Again, I mean, I lived in Europe for five years and one of the feedback that I got is like I was always walking around being very positive and I'd walk around and go hey, how you doing, and then they gave me feedback in know, like Americans are always like, you know, how you doing on how's this and they they felt some of the feedback they gave me was even though it wasn't my intent, I really wanted to figure out how they were doing, but it came across as a little bit surface level. So people were not really always forthright with what they were dealing with or...

...and I just think that's something that really keep in mind. We use that in our language and our vernacular. How's it going, how you holding up? And you know, there's a difference. You know, when you really reach out with the intent to really listen to the people that you're speaking with, you know, really understand what they're dealing with and then be prepared to share, you know, relevant insights with them. With what you're hearing from other customers. There's a lot of people that I'm talking with right now, even though they're working with big companies. They're just we're all kind of remote. People are feeling isolated and the more you can help the other person feeling like they're not the only ones, not only in just kind of personal conversation but also in business conversation, it's very compelling. I know that when people are talking to me and they give me insights to what other companies are doing or what other companies are dealing with they it really really helps me and gives... good perspective and I view that person as an empathetic person in the conversation and I'm more likely to continue to engage with them. Now you mentioned how people are feeling isolated. Right now, we field requests sometimes for a US, our force management people, to participate in Webinars for various organizations, and we've gotten several of them recently and the number one thing that they want us to talk about is what we are hearing from our customers. Right everybody wants to know how everybody else is fearing and what they're doing, what they're doing, what's working working for them. So that empathy and understanding what others are dealing with that might be similar to them is really important to your point. Yeah, I think it's a really good point. I mean people do that all the time with us. They're like, Hey, what are you seeing out in the market place? What are you seeing other companies doing? It just now, with kind of current world situation, it's probably got another slant... it as well. So not only how we doing as it relates to other people that you know from a business and market perspective, but also power other people dealing with this with these times like layoffs and furloughs and tightening the belt and really getting, you know, getting our company aligned and and I think the the more you can be a conduit to what other people in the market are doing, the more valuable you are. And if you do it from an empathetic point of view, it's all the better. Yeah, so empathy prosher conversations with empathy. The other concept might seem a little odd to those of you listening right now. It's approach them with opportunity, but it's really not about your opportunity. The idea is to help your customer, your buy our cheese. For them to see the opportunity that is right now in the current state kind of reminds me when I was a kid, you know, and I would be being involved in a situation and just trying to go...

...through an experience and I remember my parents would always, you know, they always what I thought were cliches back then up you know, there's a silver lining, there's, you know, to every experience. There's a positive and a negative and Blah Blah Blah, and I'm like wow, you know, my parents are pretty smart because, like if when you're talking to your customers right now and your buyers, there's definitely kind of three types that I'm seeing right now. There's like some people that kind of just tightening up their hunkering down there, waiting for the storm to pass, and I don't want to be negative and saying kind of like putting their heads in the sand. I don't want to be negative and condescending to anybody, but there are people that are passively waiting, and passively waiting means it's like I'm just going to wait for this thing to pass, and that's definitely one type of conversation that I'm having. And then other companies are, you know, they're going for a land grab, they're going for market share, they're seeing opportunities in the marketplace... their competitors are struggling. Everybody struggling. They're trying to emerge in some type of, you know, different, better version of themselves. And I think you know. And then there's there's the companies that are doing both. And so I think when I think about adding value to companies, I always try to encourage them. I have acknowledging the difficulties and the hunkering down and the passively waiting, but I try to help my customers move to that actively waiting, and actively waiting means we're dealing with what we have in front of us right now and we're looking for opportunity. So we want to help companies transition to the land grab, help them determine what they need to do to come out of this situation stronger and and poise for success. And and I think that's where good discovery comes in. People are buying right now if they're in pain so big it can't go another day without it being fixed, and so you have to help them through your discovery. It's articulating your value and...

...differentiation in a way that aligns to what the buyer needs. We've talked about this a lot and our podcast together Rachel, but we can help our people remember, if there's no need, then there's no value, and if there's no solution that maps to a need, then it has no value, and both of those things must exist to create a compelling value proposition. Yeah, and I think that I was just thinking about the people who are even buying from us right now, the pain of they can't afford, the pain of waiting. So that, yeah, when you made that point about what you need to do to help your customer come out of the situation is stronger and poise for success. That could be your opportunity as a salesperson. Yeah, yeah, I think we're talking to people right now, Rachel, about you know how many people are asking us, like, you know, how do I just get a customers attention? And know I've got like stalled opportunities right... and and people are, you know, hesitant to move things forward. And I'm always I always go right because I do it for myself with our people at force management, and I always ask myself. I say, either it's me and our team or I ask the customers I'm dealing with. You have to ask yourself. Have I attached to the biggest business issue facing my customer. And if not, why would they even take time to speak with me right now, you know, and for many sellers right now, their customers are not speaking to them, you know, because they don't look at that conversation. They don't look at it, and in no pun intended, we're talking about essential services, you know, essential businesses. Well, you know, I'm coining the term here, essential conversations. Yeah, and if we don't fall into that essential conversations in the way you do that you become an essential conversation. If you're talking to customers about problems that are so critical...

...that if they're not solved, they create urgency to solve them, meaning it creates its own urgency. You're not going to have customers not calling you back. You're not going to have customers telling you that opportunities are stalled. The big issue is when you haven't attached them to big business issues facing your customers. So that's a really, really good some really really good advice I could give right now. Yeah, because that is the number one thing we're hearing, that this stall deals at these deals are delayed. Hey, we want to do this, but not right now. And to your point, finding, doing discovery and aligning to that essential thing, that essential business problem. Creating that essential conversation is where you can give the value. Yes, is there a bottom line here, John, before we wrap it up? I think so. You know, look at the two things we talked about. Basically, I would say start your day by focusing on how to make your conversations two things. The first make am empathetic, really listen to what your...

...buyers are dealing with. Go into those conversations knowing that whatever date we wind up listening to this, so let's just call it prepandemic, they were dealing with certain things and during the pandemic and post pandemic, all those stages, those are going to create opportunities for change and for the buyer and for the customers they're change is just going to happen, and so that you have to be very, very relevant, and the best way to do that is to be empathetic on how you listen for those changes. And then the last thing we just talked about is be essential. Focus Today on how you can be an essential part of the solution to the problem. Attach yourself to the biggest business issues facing your customers, and I believe that you'll be an essential conversations. Your deals won't get stall. Yeah, they might have to come up with creative ways to pay in those types of stuff, but you're not going to be having customers telling you right now, I don't have time to talk... you. Nobody does that when you're talking to them about critical business issues that can't wait to be solved. So those are the two best bottom line things I could tell you right now. Focus your day, be empathetic and be essential. All right, let's leave it there. Thank you, John. Thank you to all of you for listening to the audible ready podcast. At force management, we're focused on transforming sales organizations into elite teams. Are Proven methodologies deliver programs that build company alignment and fuel repeatable revenue growth. Give your teams the ability to execute the growth strategy at the point of sale. Our strength is our experience. The proof is in our results. Let's get started. Visit US at force MANAGEMENTCOM. You've been listening to the audible ready podcast. To not miss an episode, subscribe to the show in your favorite podcast player. Until next time,.

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