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

Episode 80 · 9 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 for the six to ten seconds of silence away, or two, two, three or four 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 you and your team's sell more faster. will feature 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, I'm Rachel Clap Miller with the audible ready sales podcast. Thank you for joining us today. Today I am joined by Dale Man and 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 him in on the podcast and and what topics he wanted to talk about. And, Dale Owen, we talked about you coming on for this episode. We are brainstorming consert topics and one of the things you said that you were really passionate about was helping salespeople move from good to great, to elite and who doesn't want to do that in their sales career. Indeed, I want to and I'm just driving to. Yes, it's a never ending goal, you know, to get into that elite level and people that strive to be elite never feel like they've arrived. They maintain the hunger in the drive to get there. So I love the topic and it's not always something that you hear with 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're but we sellers are also a metaphorically speaking, we're sales athletes and we should 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 big of a gap for sheer talent or skill to overcome. It's a qualitative element, the attitude, you know, that drives us to be the very best that we can be. In fact, I had a seasoned vice president of enterprise sales recently replay for me that the notion of elite with respect the sellers was actually novel for him. Many of us, and this is crept to Jim Collins in his book good to great, understand that element or that aspect, but he actually shared with me that hearing me say going from good to great and then great to elite was a novel idea for him and end up 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 might be, or should be the expectation of leaders and developing the talent that they're entrusted with, but also the anticipation or the desired goal of those that we lead. 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 a Webinar a bit ago with Joe Marson, who is the head of sales that click software when we worked with them, and that's what he calls his cells rap sales athletes. And you know, in meetings or whatever, that's that's the term because of the reasons that you mentioned, and it's also this grind to strive to be better. And you know, people who are elite are still working to be better. And when you engage an elite seller, you know it, and we often say, you know, Dell, that the that sales is, it is a game of inches and it's it's those small things that really separate the best from from the rest. So let's talk about what 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 gems that you just think forth out there and you know, we we don't do this because it's easy, we do it because it's hard. The words of President JFK, you know, years ago, when, when we're the US, was trying and we have international audience, but when US was trying to land the man on the moon, and he said we don't do it because it's easy, we do it because it's hard. And that's what'll elite athletes understand and elite sales athletes understand the game of inches, particularly in a high tech selling environment. So I hope that the notion of preparation and aligning with our buyers is table sticks right for our listeners. But at least athletes prepare for hours, days months. With the Olympics coming up the summer in Japan, years, sty been pretty preparing years for this. So I love the idea of selling as the game of inches, particularly in the text space, because if the market validates the value that another product or organizations bringing, it won't be long that others will get it, crack it open and try to copy the secret. So, you know, does that diminish from how we differentiate ourselves 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 required capabilities to get our clients from where they are today to where they want to be. So when you talk about, you know, the game of inches, I'll just go back to to analogy around sports, and I know that those of you that have been exposed to force management for any amount of time probably 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 number of years ago into my sales trainings in which the losing coach and this is key, the losing coach was interviewed. It's easy to celebrate and pump our fists around the winners, but the losing coach was asked and interviewed, Rachel, and he said, what did you tell those young men on the field after they lost, you know, in a heartbreaking last play? And he said we've got to continue to look for the inches. You got to look for 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 great analogy to say look for the inches because, as you know, you can have a great sales caller, you have a deal that really is textbook and it follows all the right things, your conversations go great, you can have those moments, but it's the daily rhythm of what we are doing as sales people that differentiates us. You mentioned earlier right. We differentiate ourselves by how we sell and it's the culmination of the days and days and days, by the Rigor and the discipline that we put behind our roles that allow us to operate 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 art to executing them correctly. I'm curious in your trainings, in the reps that you train, how do you encourage them to differentiate themselves in the execution of that set those sales conversations really good? Is that we're at art, you know very and the way that we engage in really powerful discourse is both art and science. And for me, you know, in our in our methodology, we just foul a certain intention or...

...purpose around how we engage in this discovery. But of course, you know, we need to be ourselves. Do you be you? I often say that. So that's the art form that comes into play and with that, you know, lever the sensibilities that we 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 to put this really simply, if we're not asking questions, that creates a pause for thought in the minds of our customers and prospect if we don't put them literally physically back in their chairs, that they're not scratching their chin, rubbing their brow and having some impact in terms of the questions and the way that we engage in conversations with them. We're just not going far enough. We're not going far enough or deep enough to get to the root cause of any dysfunction you know that they are living with or experiencing inside of their organizations and in general. I guess the the takeaway I would I would share with our listeners is listen to your language, listen to the way that you engage in conversation and I hope in fact, the Homework Rachel, then, the unofficial homework that I signed individuals from from our more training weeks, is to go home, you know, with your friends, family loved ones, and listen to your conversations, watch your language. Or My mom and dad and I actually told me always to watch my language. Right, watch my language, but I'd say watch your Lange. We go home and leave this training and watch your language and observe what and how you are speaking and hopefully we are delivering more commentary with question marks then with periods and when we deliver that commentary with with question marks. It demonstrates a genuine interest, concern and care for the person with whom we are engaged, you know, and that doesn't mean that we don't believe and are inspired by the work and the technology and the products and the services that we bring to bear, but it just means that we have to pivot a little bit more from us to them. It's one of 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 other side and then we'll work backwards. To me, in my highly different jade solutions, I I will often invoke C S Lewis, the nineteen century British author, 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 illustrates and highlights the outside in mindset that the command the message methodology is built upon. That's great, think of you think less of yourself. You don't have to think less of yourself, but think of yourself less. That's a great thing to write on your post it note, stick it to your computer before you make those sales called. It makes me also think of a recent episode, well, I guess it's a couple of weeks back now, with your colleague Anton Ella Oh day, who really talked about being comfortable with an uncomfortable tension in the conversation and asking those questions. But I know that's where it becomes difficult for a lot of Reps, particularly if you're kind of a greener rep, 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 you think that reps make. Are The common mistakes they have in executing against those types of scenarios in Discovery, digging deef, etc. Okay, Great. Well, I love with you shared about Antonelle and you know to tie back to that. To me it's about there's a lot of courage involved in great dialog. Hopefully there's a natural curiosity that you're bringing to your conversations and a concern, a genuine concern, that you care. You care about the other person and you're not trying to make them...

...wrong. You're actually in service to them and wanting to solve a problem that's worth solving and if we can why don't we? And if I can't, you know what, I'll be the first to say that I can't do that. So what Anton Ella said is leads those three sees of curiosity, courage and concern and bring those sensibilities into the conversations with our prospects and customers. Professionally. There's no reason to check those sensibilities at the door. They will really serve US and, most importantly, the customer, very, very well. So, to answer your question more directly, the mistakes that I'll just own this for myself, mistakes I make. Yeah, right, speaking of not pointing any fingers, is it? You know, I don't ask if, first of all, I don't ask the great, provocative, open ended questions that evoke the most thoughtful response. You know, I talked about that in terms of if we're not putting folks back on their heels a little bit, if we're not asking those sorts of questions from which both of us learn, the seller and the buyer. That's the first mistake I make. And then probably more prevalent in my dialog is 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 me about, explain from me, describe from me, walk me through. If I 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 where they're having to think about the answer, I'm hearing. No one's ever asked me that before. That's a great question. I know that I've touched something important for 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 and I hijack that wonderful, beautiful silence by asking another question, and very often it's the multiple choice variety, and we feel it with all these things that that all of a sudden, I'll say, let them off the hook, and I 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 you described and to Nolla bringing into the conversation. And if I'm giving a multiple choice response, then you know, normally I will take the one which is the 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 we don't get again back to that goot cause. And I might be able to give a good reason. JP morning was a wealthy and Teen Center and the Center industrialist who said there's two reasons people respond or anything. One is the good 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 to ten seconds of silence away or two, two, three or four more great open ended questions away from attaching to and identifying the biggest problem that our customers are living with and how we can solve them. That's great and when we you know, we talked about those little dials that you can turn up and tangible tips that you can take away from some of our conversations here on the podcast. I mean, just think if this week you gave it another five seconds before you ask your next question or you ask you committed to yourself to ask a couple more, what a difference that may make. I have taught in, you know, various capacities over my career and I remember when I've had like some teaching training, they would say, you know, if you're in front of the room, you need to give it at least seven seconds when you ask a question, for somebody to raise their hand for sooner raise or hand and respond. And you know that, like you said, I mean that can feel uncomfortable, it can.

You know, you might think you did something wrong, particularly, I think, on Zoom you like, Oh, it is my volume up, what's happening here? But to really sit in that is what differentiates elite people from those that just kind of go through the motions. And we can differentiate ourselves as much by how we sell and how we engage as what we sell. And Yeah, better than any of it's right. So what when we talk about, you know, waiting those couple extra seconds tale or or asking those couple extra questions, how do I know when I need to do that? How do I know when I've done enough discovery in my sales processor or with that specific person? Trust your instincts, 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 equal message 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 and they'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're there, because they're excited and they're like great, thank you for listening to me, thank you for understanding my business. Now, how can you help address the functional and the capabilities that I'm currently lacking in order to get me to this future state, this ideal world, and you associated positive of business 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 where deals are one of losses, as we always said. So it's just great to 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 of areas where that deal can go awry and we just push for critical alignment with that, with that buyer. And again, I think I could do the entire podcast. I could call the podcast gaining by our alignment. Thus, instead of the Audibil ready podcast because it's such a big topic. But in terms of this time, this idea of good too great to elite the game of inches, you know, waiting a couple extra seconds, asking a couple of extra questions. What are your best tips for moving that needle to better alignment 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 sales as problem solvers, right and and sales and US sale will happen as a result. So if I'm aligne. I'm selling the way the customer wants to buy in relation to what he or she has shared as the most primary and most important needs that they like or someone to solve, whether it's me or another, for someone to solve, because we engage as advisors, as consultants for them. Then, once we recognize a hesitation or reticence about moving forward right, we start this path, we look ahead together which to older to shoulder, and I say that intentionally because shoulder to shoulder and indicates that we are on the same team. To the toe indicates a more adversarial or combative sort of image. But should too shoulder, we look ahead and we start walking right and we engage and we're walking on this path together. As soon as one of US stops, is it natural that we would stop and back up 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 to stop, and then go back to our discovery align or realign with asking the great questions, with courage and curiosity and...

...concern to understand why the stop? Why the pause? Where are we? So that, to me is really the most simple way to drive, you know, drive alignement and keep alignment as key and our work with customers. Question that. I appreciate that explanation or that's a question I ask a lot on this podcast to the various people that we have on and we talked about qualification and being voracious qualifiers and qualifying our deals with our champions and the buying criterion, the decision process and all of that is so important. Like I'm not diminishing the importance of that at all, but an another layer that you can use as you're looking for those customer verifiable outcomes to move the deal forward is to ask yourself, am I shoulder to shoulder with these people or are we tout to toe? And that's a good, good gut check for US Dale Right, but that resonates. Yes, so as we as we kind of go back to that good degree to elite point. I think I said it earlier. It's about the discipline you have as a salesperson around what's your what's you're executing. And I know those 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 to be 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 discipline and stay motivated? Right, being disciplined means you have to stay motivated and 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, especially when you when you feel like you're struggling. How do you encourage reps to stay motivated, to keep cranking on that elite behavior. That's a that's a great question. You put me on the spot here. Yeah, motivation is it? It's an interior topic, right, and in the interior work that I've done with other fessionals and people who I rely on to whole me accountable for staying motivated for the goals I'm trying to achieve. You know the I will often hear from them that, you know, I don't think myself into new ways of living. I've got to live myself into new ways of thinking and relate steven come. He said it so well. He said just knowing 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 drives me. You know, what am I geared around? Do I really believe that what I do in my work matters the culture of my organization, what we represent, what we stand for our core values, all that becomes important and drives me to get up, get out of bed, put two feet on the floor and carry the flag, you know, quite frankly. And so in doing so, when I do all these things, the sale will just fall out as a result, because I'm doing the right things. We at force management, as you know, Rachel, we are all about increasing seller effectiveness and effectiveness. The simplest definition of that for me is doing the right things. It's doing the right things at the right time for the right people. And when we do all that again, you know, with curiosity, with courage and with genuine concern, they'll know it. They'll know that we were in service to them and solving their problems, helping them realize their positive 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 will come as a result. I hope that that was sensible enough. Yes, it's sensible enough. You know, I think I love bringing our facilitators on and I like asking them sort of the...

...same questions, because everybody has sort of a different take and I know those of you listening out there, just if 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 topic down, 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 your sensibilities at the door. Bring them with you wherever you are. There you go, and you will often hear us say that. What I just mentioned about curiosity, courage and concern, these are characteristics that we leverage in our relationships that that matter most to us at home. Why not leverage what we're already very, very good at with our customers? There's no reason to manufacture some alter e. go for our professional relationships. We Are you know that you are, I guess I should say you know who you are as the person we hired to be and you are a differentiator for your organization. I said it earlier. Be You do you, and just observe how much that resonates with folks. You will be noticed for this, so continue to differentiate yourself by how you sell and who you are. Speak with more questions than periods, and that's a great, great takeaway. Another good thing to write on 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. I enjoyed our conversation my absolute pleasure. Rachel, thank you, and thank you to all of you for listening to the audible ready sales 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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