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

Episode 80 · 5 months ago

Good to Great to Elite w/ Dale Monnin


If you’re looking for quick tips to improve your ability to execute the fundamentals of elite selling — this is the episode for you.

Force Management Facilitator and Director, Dale Monnin joins us to chat about helping salespeople move from good, to great to elite in their sales careers. He covers a variety of tips you can apply immediately to your sales process and approach including:

- What areas of your skill set to improve if you want to be elite

- What indicators to look for to know when you’ve done effective discovery

- Ways to ask bold discovery questions and use silence to your advantage

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

Here are some additional resources on building an elite sales organization:

- How to Move Yourself Beyond Mediocrity [Podcast]


- Stacking customer requirements in your favor [Podcast]


- Getting Comfortable with Uncomfortable Conversations [Podcast]


I contend that we are all forthe six to ten seconds of silence away, or two, two, three orfour more great open ended questions away from attaching to and identifying biggest problem. You are listening to the audible ready podcast, the show that helps youand your team's sell more faster. will feature sales leader sharing their best insightson 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, I'm Rachel Clap Miller with the audible ready salespodcast. Thank you for joining us today. Today I am joined by Dale Manand a force management facilitator. Hi Dale, thanks for being with me. Rachel, thanks for having me. I'm thrilled to be here. Good, good, and Dal and I have been having some conversations about bringing himin on the podcast and and what topics he wanted to talk about. And, Dale Owen, we talked about you coming on for this episode. Weare brainstorming consert topics and one of the things you said that you were reallypassionate about was helping salespeople move from good to great, to elite and whodoesn't want to do that in their sales career. Indeed, I want toand I'm just driving to. Yes, it's a never ending goal, youknow, to get into that elite level and people that strive to be elitenever feel like they've arrived. They maintain the hunger in the drive to getthere. So I love the topic and it's not always something that you hearwith respect to sellers. I normally hear the word elite and relate it to, and maybe many of our listeners do, to athletes. You know, we'rebut we sellers are also a metaphorically speaking, we're sales athletes and weshould all strive to be elite, to gain that edge, that drive,that hunger that I mentioned to be the very best at what we do,because if that's absent, and quite frankly, I'm afraid that that that's too bigof a gap for sheer talent or skill to overcome. It's a qualitativeelement, the attitude, you know, that drives us to be the verybest that we can be. In fact, I had a seasoned vice president ofenterprise sales recently replay for me that the notion of elite with respect thesellers was actually novel for him. Many of us, and this is creptto Jim Collins in his book good to great, understand that element or thataspect, but he actually shared with me that hearing me say going from goodto great and then great to elite was a novel idea for him and endup being one of the primary things that resonated with him throughout the training.That let for his organization and opened up the acture for him what just mightbe, or should be the expectation of leaders and developing the talent that they'reentrusted with, but also the anticipation or the desired goal of those that welead. So it's really exciting topic. I'm so glad we're talking about this. Yeah, it's interesting. You make the athlete analogy. I did aWebinar a bit ago with Joe Marson, who is the head of sales thatclick software when we worked with them, and that's what he calls his cellsrap sales athletes. And you know, in meetings or whatever, that's that'sthe term because of the reasons that you mentioned, and it's also this grindto strive to be better. And you know, people who are elite arestill working to be better. And when you engage an elite seller, youknow it, and we often say, you know, Dell, that thethat sales is, it is a game of inches and it's it's those smallthings that really separate the best from from the rest. So let's talk aboutwhat are some ways we can align to the buyer in an elite way that, and I think often that starts with... you're prepping for your meetings.Well, a lot of a lot of really, you know, great gemsthat you just think forth out there and you know, we we don't dothis because it's easy, we do it because it's hard. The words ofPresident JFK, you know, years ago, when, when we're the US,was trying and we have international audience, but when US was trying to landthe man on the moon, and he said we don't do it becauseit's easy, we do it because it's hard. And that's what'll elite athletesunderstand and elite sales athletes understand the game of inches, particularly in a hightech selling environment. So I hope that the notion of preparation and aligning withour buyers is table sticks right for our listeners. But at least athletes preparefor hours, days months. With the Olympics coming up the summer in Japan, years, sty been pretty preparing years for this. So I love theidea of selling as the game of inches, particularly in the text space, becauseif the market validates the value that another product or organizations bringing, itwon't be long that others will get it, crack it open and try to copythe secret. So, you know, does that diminish from how we differentiateourselves and what we have, what we do or who we are?Absolutely not. Rather, it's really about the edge, even if it's slight, that we might be able to leverage by introducing that differentiation into the requiredcapabilities to get our clients from where they are today to where they want tobe. So when you talk about, you know, the game of inches, I'll just go back to to analogy around sports, and I know thatthose of you that have been exposed to force management for any amount of timeprobably are inclined to hear US speak in sports analogies. But just very simply, I actually bring the story of a championship game from college football and numberof years ago into my sales trainings in which the losing coach and this iskey, the losing coach was interviewed. It's easy to celebrate and pump ourfists around the winners, but the losing coach was asked and interviewed, Rachel, and he said, what did you tell those young men on the fieldafter they lost, you know, in a heartbreaking last play? And hesaid we've got to continue to look for the inches. You got to lookfor the inches, look for those small gaps and advantages that we can leverage. That will be the matter or be the difference between winning or losing.So really good topic for you. That's such a great story and a greatanalogy to say look for the inches because, as you know, you can havea great sales caller, you have a deal that really is textbook andit follows all the right things, your conversations go great, you can havethose moments, but it's the daily rhythm of what we are doing as salespeople that differentiates us. You mentioned earlier right. We differentiate ourselves by howwe sell and it's the culmination of the days and days and days, bythe Rigor and the discipline that we put behind our roles that allow us tooperate from at an elite level and get from good to great to elite.In sales conversations, you would say, is our is our playing fields.We're doing them every day and there's a nuance to them right there's an artto executing them correctly. I'm curious in your trainings, in the reps thatyou train, how do you encourage them to differentiate themselves in the execution ofthat set those sales conversations really good? Is that we're at art, youknow very and the way that we engage in really powerful discourse is both artand science. And for me, you know, in our in our methodology, we just foul a certain intention or...

...purpose around how we engage in thisdiscovery. But of course, you know, we need to be ourselves. Doyou be you? I often say that. So that's the art formthat comes into play and with that, you know, lever the sensibilities thatwe already possess as being very good in conversations where it matters for us.And so if we're not asking questions, to me, and I'm going toput this really simply, if we're not asking questions, that creates a pausefor thought in the minds of our customers and prospect if we don't put themliterally physically back in their chairs, that they're not scratching their chin, rubbingtheir brow and having some impact in terms of the questions and the way thatwe engage in conversations with them. We're just not going far enough. We'renot going far enough or deep enough to get to the root cause of anydysfunction you know that they are living with or experiencing inside of their organizations andin general. I guess the the takeaway I would I would share with ourlisteners is listen to your language, listen to the way that you engage inconversation and I hope in fact, the Homework Rachel, then, the unofficialhomework that I signed individuals from from our more training weeks, is to gohome, you know, with your friends, family loved ones, and listen toyour conversations, watch your language. Or My mom and dad and Iactually told me always to watch my language. Right, watch my language, butI'd say watch your Lange. We go home and leave this training andwatch your language and observe what and how you are speaking and hopefully we aredelivering more commentary with question marks then with periods and when we deliver that commentarywith with question marks. It demonstrates a genuine interest, concern and care forthe person with whom we are engaged, you know, and that doesn't meanthat we don't believe and are inspired by the work and the technology and theproducts and the services that we bring to bear, but it just means thatwe have to pivot a little bit more from us to them. It's oneof the key tenants of, as you know, command the message methodology,that outside in mindset or mentality. So let's start with you on the otherside and then we'll work backwards. To me, in my highly different jadesolutions, I I will often invoke C S Lewis, the nineteen century Britishauthor, who said it doesn't mean that we have to think less of ourselves, but just maybe think of ourselves less. and to me that's what really illustratesand highlights the outside in mindset that the command the message methodology is builtupon. That's great, think of you think less of yourself. You don'thave to think less of yourself, but think of yourself less. That's agreat thing to write on your post it note, stick it to your computerbefore you make those sales called. It makes me also think of a recentepisode, well, I guess it's a couple of weeks back now, withyour colleague Anton Ella Oh day, who really talked about being comfortable with anuncomfortable tension in the conversation and asking those questions. But I know that's whereit becomes difficult for a lot of Reps, particularly if you're kind of a greenerrep, if you're newer and you're talking to a very seasoned of buyer, our potential customer. Let's kind of go through some of the mistakes youthink that reps make. Are The common mistakes they have in executing against thosetypes of scenarios in Discovery, digging deef, etc. Okay, Great. Well, I love with you shared about Antonelle and you know to tie backto that. To me it's about there's a lot of courage involved in greatdialog. Hopefully there's a natural curiosity that you're bringing to your conversations and aconcern, a genuine concern, that you care. You care about the otherperson and you're not trying to make them...

...wrong. You're actually in service tothem and wanting to solve a problem that's worth solving and if we can whydon't we? And if I can't, you know what, I'll be thefirst to say that I can't do that. So what Anton Ella said is leadsthose three sees of curiosity, courage and concern and bring those sensibilities intothe conversations with our prospects and customers. Professionally. There's no reason to checkthose sensibilities at the door. They will really serve US and, most importantly, the customer, very, very well. So, to answer your question moredirectly, the mistakes that I'll just own this for myself, mistakes Imake. Yeah, right, speaking of not pointing any fingers, is it? You know, I don't ask if, first of all, I don't askthe great, provocative, open ended questions that evoke the most thoughtful response. You know, I talked about that in terms of if we're not puttingfolks back on their heels a little bit, if we're not asking those sorts ofquestions from which both of us learn, the seller and the buyer. That'sthe first mistake I make. And then probably more prevalent in my dialogis that if I do ask a knockout question, you know that's open ended, a Ted question, as many of our listeners probably know. Tell meabout, explain from me, describe from me, walk me through. IfI do ask that question, I don't stand in the silence that ensues.If a really great question and I've actually put the prospect in a situation wherethey're having to think about the answer, I'm hearing. No one's ever askedme that before. That's a great question. I know that I've touched something importantfor them and so let them think about that, let them process that. But I end up doing those as a mistake is I jump in andI hijack that wonderful, beautiful silence by asking another question, and very oftenit's the multiple choice variety, and we feel it with all these things thatthat all of a sudden, I'll say, let them off the hook, andI don't mean that again in a vindictive or in a negative way,but it's there, there and they are getting comfortable with that discomfort that youdescribed and to Nolla bringing into the conversation. And if I'm giving a multiple choiceresponse, then you know, normally I will take the one which isthe least punitive and the one that makes me look or feel, you know, less bad about my current situation and the problem with that is that wedon't get again back to that goot cause. And I might be able to givea good reason. JP morning was a wealthy and Teen Center and theCenter industrialist who said there's two reasons people respond or anything. One is thegood reason, the other is the real reason. And we're all speak.Going back to elite. I contend that we are all for the six toten seconds of silence away or two, two, three or four more greatopen ended questions away from attaching to and identifying the biggest problem that our customersare living with and how we can solve them. That's great and when weyou know, we talked about those little dials that you can turn up andtangible tips that you can take away from some of our conversations here on thepodcast. I mean, just think if this week you gave it another fiveseconds before you ask your next question or you ask you committed to yourself toask a couple more, what a difference that may make. I have taughtin, you know, various capacities over my career and I remember when I'vehad like some teaching training, they would say, you know, if you'rein front of the room, you need to give it at least seven secondswhen you ask a question, for somebody to raise their hand for sooner raiseor hand and respond. And you know that, like you said, Imean that can feel uncomfortable, it can.

You know, you might think youdid something wrong, particularly, I think, on Zoom you like,Oh, it is my volume up, what's happening here? But to reallysit in that is what differentiates elite people from those that just kind of gothrough the motions. And we can differentiate ourselves as much by how we selland how we engage as what we sell. And Yeah, better than any ofit's right. So what when we talk about, you know, waitingthose couple extra seconds tale or or asking those couple extra questions, how doI know when I need to do that? How do I know when I've doneenough discovery in my sales processor or with that specific person? Trust yourinstincts, you know. Yeah, you're if you feel like something's just off, I'm not quite there, things aren't landing. Message said doesn't always equalmessage received. Will know that, you know, but they will also know, just in terms of rhythmic sensibilities, when when we hit the mark,when we landed well, because they're leaning in Rachel, they're fully engaged andthey're eager and even if it's over over the wire in his virtual world,we still can, we still do know, we still really do know when we'rethere, because they're excited and they're like great, thank you for listeningto me, thank you for understanding my business. Now, how can youhelp address the functional and the capabilities that I'm currently lacking in order to getme to this future state, this ideal world, and you associated positive ofbusiness outcomes that will come with that world. So that that's the short answer.Quite Frank I hope it's good enough. Sometimes brevity is powerful right now.Yeah, I mean it's a complicated discoveries. You know, that's wheredeals are one of losses, as we always said. So it's just greatto hear a different perspective on that. And now, I think you know, once you're moving forward in that sales process, obviously there's a lot ofareas where that deal can go awry and we just push for critical alignment withthat, with that buyer. And again, I think I could do the entirepodcast. I could call the podcast gaining by our alignment. Thus,instead of the Audibil ready podcast because it's such a big topic. But interms of this time, this idea of good too great to elite the gameof inches, you know, waiting a couple extra seconds, asking a coupleof extra questions. What are your best tips for moving that needle to betteralignment with your buyer as you move forward in that sales process? Again,I think it's bringing into our professional lives what we already know. Personally,if I'm walking down the path with anyone towards a shared or common goal,and that's what we're about, I hope that we have a mentality in salesas problem solvers, right and and sales and US sale will happen as aresult. So if I'm aligne. I'm selling the way the customer wants tobuy in relation to what he or she has shared as the most primary andmost important needs that they like or someone to solve, whether it's me oranother, for someone to solve, because we engage as advisors, as consultantsfor them. Then, once we recognize a hesitation or reticence about moving forwardright, we start this path, we look ahead together which to older toshoulder, and I say that intentionally because shoulder to shoulder and indicates that weare on the same team. To the toe indicates a more adversarial or combativesort of image. But should too shoulder, we look ahead and we start walkingright and we engage and we're walking on this path together. As soonas one of US stops, is it natural that we would stop and backup and meet them where they are and double click on where they are,what's wrong? Where did they hear, see or feel that caused them tostop, and then go back to our discovery align or realign with asking thegreat questions, with courage and curiosity and...

...concern to understand why the stop?Why the pause? Where are we? So that, to me is reallythe most simple way to drive, you know, drive alignement and keep alignmentas key and our work with customers. Question that. I appreciate that explanationor that's a question I ask a lot on this podcast to the various peoplethat we have on and we talked about qualification and being voracious qualifiers and qualifyingour deals with our champions and the buying criterion, the decision process and allof that is so important. Like I'm not diminishing the importance of that atall, but an another layer that you can use as you're looking for thosecustomer verifiable outcomes to move the deal forward is to ask yourself, am Ishoulder to shoulder with these people or are we tout to toe? And that'sa good, good gut check for US Dale Right, but that resonates.Yes, so as we as we kind of go back to that good degreeto elite point. I think I said it earlier. It's about the disciplineyou have as a salesperson around what's your what's you're executing. And I knowthose of you out there listening, you've heard of US say that before.You've heard it throughout your career. You like, I know I got tobe discipline and discipline, but knowing it and doing it are two different things. Like, each day you wake up, what are you doing to stay disciplineand stay motivated? Right, being disciplined means you have to stay motivatedand it can be difficult to get out of the monotony of sales sometimes,the opiate of the number that every quarter, the goals of the year, especiallywhen you when you feel like you're struggling. How do you encourage repsto stay motivated, to keep cranking on that elite behavior. That's a that'sa great question. You put me on the spot here. Yeah, motivationis it? It's an interior topic, right, and in the interior workthat I've done with other fessionals and people who I rely on to whole meaccountable for staying motivated for the goals I'm trying to achieve. You know theI will often hear from them that, you know, I don't think myselfinto new ways of living. I've got to live myself into new ways ofthinking and relate steven come. He said it so well. He said justknowing something isn't going to change our lives. It's the doing which changes our lives. So whether that motivation comes from from an intrinsic or extrinsic source.If I'm earlier in my career, yeah, I want the salary, the benefits, the compensation, the commission check the end, strict extrinsic motivation.For a guy like me who's later in my career, it's intrinsically what drivesme. You know, what am I geared around? Do I really believethat what I do in my work matters the culture of my organization, whatwe represent, what we stand for our core values, all that becomes importantand drives me to get up, get out of bed, put two feeton the floor and carry the flag, you know, quite frankly. Andso in doing so, when I do all these things, the sale willjust fall out as a result, because I'm doing the right things. Weat force management, as you know, Rachel, we are all about increasingseller effectiveness and effectiveness. The simplest definition of that for me is doing theright things. It's doing the right things at the right time for the rightpeople. And when we do all that again, you know, with curiosity, with courage and with genuine concern, they'll know it. They'll know thatwe were in service to them and solving their problems, helping them realize theirpositive business outcomes, and I will get what I want out of it,you know, intrinsically or extrinsically help them and the benefits and the reward willcome as a result. I hope that that was sensible enough. Yes,it's sensible enough. You know, I think I love bringing our facilitators onand I like asking them sort of the...

...same questions, because everybody has sortof a different take and I know those of you listening out there, justif a little tibate may help give you some some spirit for the day,the week and even the court are so as we wrap up this big topicdown, let's sum it up for me with it with a good bottom line. Bottom line, you breathe in and breathe out. So, Lord,impactful. Let me get in my Yoga Post. Yeah, don't leave yoursensibilities at the door. Bring them with you wherever you are. There yougo, and you will often hear us say that. What I just mentionedabout curiosity, courage and concern, these are characteristics that we leverage in ourrelationships that that matter most to us at home. Why not leverage what we'realready very, very good at with our customers? There's no reason to manufacturesome alter e. go for our professional relationships. We Are you know thatyou are, I guess I should say you know who you are as theperson we hired to be and you are a differentiator for your organization. Isaid it earlier. Be You do you, and just observe how much that resonateswith folks. You will be noticed for this, so continue to differentiateyourself by how you sell and who you are. Speak with more questions thanperiods, and that's a great, great takeaway. Another good thing to writeon a posted note for your computer for your next sales video sales call.Dale, thank you so much for talking through this with me today. Ienjoyed our conversation my absolute pleasure. Rachel, thank you, and thank you toall of you for listening to the audible ready sales podcast. At forcemanagement, we're focused on transforming sales organizations into elite teams. Are Proven methodologiesdeliver programs that build company alignment and fuel repeatable revenue growth. Give your teamsthe ability to execute the growth strategy at the point of sale. Our strengthis 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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