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

Episode 66 · 1 year ago

Lessons Learned in Sales W/ Antonella O'Day


Our second episode of our podcast series “Lessons Learned in Sales”, John Kaplan talks with Force Management Facilitator Antonella O’Day about her sales career including:

- How she got a deal done in 8 minutes

- A mistake she was grateful to have happen early in her career

- How she found Force Management by looking for the top sales training companies

- One piece of advice that has helped to elevate her career

You won’t want to miss the lessons that made an astronomical impact on her sales career.

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

Here are some additional resources based on the conversations with Antonella:

- Making Discovery Uncomfortable [Podcast]


- Overcoming the Seller Deficit Disorder 


When we get to focused on ourselves, it is so limiting in terms of the outcomes we can produce a sellers when we open up the door to really being focused on the customer and trusting that they're going to give us the answers that we need in order to do what's best in their eyes. Their possibilities around less. You're 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. Hi, it's Rachel with the audible ready sales podcast. Today another episode in our series lessons learned in sales. We're asking some sales veterans five questions about where they've been and what they've learned in their sales career. For this episode, John Kaplan Talks With Force Management Facilitator Antonella. O Day. Good morning aunt to Nolla. How are you? I'm good. How are you doing today? John? I'm doing fantastic. It's my great pleasure to introduce to our audience and Toonello O Day, one of the brightest and newest stars to the force management facilitation crew. Hey, before we get started, I ask you to just share with our listeners how did you come to force management? Interesting Story. I was working for another training company prior to and I absolutely loved what I was doing and I was like I need to do more of this now. My background is in sales as well as enableman have done a lot of training and learning, you know, prior in my corporate light. And I went online and I did a search of the top training companies in the country and force management was on the list. We showed up. Yeah, you have awesome yeah, you show it up,... know, top ten, and I was like wow, it's in the next town over. It's in Charlotte. I live in wax saw and I was like I have to, you know, reach out. So went on to Linkedin and I sent grants a message directly and I said, Hey, this is what I do now. Would love to get involved with your company. Can we set up a meeting? And grant responded fairly quickly and said sure, you know, we can have a conversation. I'm going to have you have a conversation with my head, you know, the head of the facilitation team, Brian, and had a conversation with Brian was really impressed with what he shared about the company and the vision and the direction and what the premise of you know what you did was and that it was really not training but really focused on changing the way the entire organized zaan operated. Had a chance them to meet with the Dave Davies and Megan and had a tremendous experience there. Went through their little good camp to prepare to deliver command of the message and I guess it went pretty well because they asked me to come on board. So that's how we we are so blessed to have you and you know I do some podcasts with Rachel and we talked about like the importance of recruiting and if I had known, like, I don't know what I was thinking. Your one town over for me. So that's my bad for her for not finding you, for not finding you earlier, but we're so grateful to have you. Hey, let's talk a little bit about how how did you first get into sales? So this is interesting. I went to college for international marketing. You know, I came from a blue collar family like my goal was to work in the corporate world, get a college education, work in a corporate environment and throughout college I waited tables, as probably a lot of college people do, and it gave me my first taste of you can get paid what you're worth based on the experience that you give your...

...customers, and I loved it to my core. Just really enjoyed it. And as I went into my senior year, I remember starting to look for different roles and I was looking at marketing roles and sat through a few interviews and I was like, why am I going to go take a job where I'm going to make even less money than I do right now waiting tables in college, and I know I'm worth more than that. I know I bring more to the table than that, and so I remember having a conversation, you know, with a few people that I would consider mentors at the time and they're like you should totally go into sales, and I'm like, you know what, you're right, I am going to go into sales because I can make a lot more money in that space because I'm going to get paid what I'm worth. I'm going to get paid what based on the experience that I give to my climents and that's really what ultimately drove me to go in that direction. Best Decision I ever made. That's incredible. I wonder, I wonder how many folks that are listening actually were in some type of service like waiting tables, like paper routes, like because it's an interesting perspective. I think the aspect of early on in your life having an understanding of the importance of communicating and interacting and and serving a customer I think probably probably has served you well. Yeah, it has, and I'm very grateful for that experience and that it opened my eyes to, you know, looking at the sales route, because I think I would have been very limited should I had I gotten inside right out of college. Yeah, I've heard people, Dave Davis are COO talks about the difference between sellers and everybody else, as they they just have a an unbelievable ability to handle the in dignity of the clothes. And I'm just thinking about like being a waiter or waitress. I'm not saying that everybody's rude, but you just deal with a lot of behaviors where... know it's all about the customer and the customers ride and and it's probably that's probably a really good training ground. I got to start looking for that in recruiting. I like that. Hey. So all right, so let's talk about you're in the sales roll now or you go into the sales roll. Think about we're asking everybody the same kind of questions to get kind of a great library of answers here. But what's the worst mistake that you ever made in a sales job? When I think about the worst, I am grateful that it happened very early in my crew. Let me say that, because it changed the way I looked at my business going forward. So I did very well and sales right out of the game, which is good and which is bad, I think. You know, when I look back on it, the challenge I had very early that it was all about me. It was about me hitting my goals. It's about me getting the biggest sale, it's about me getting recognition. It was about me seven and one of the good things about that was I wasn't fearful at all about putting big proposals on the table. I was all about the big proposals. You know, I remember one of my trainers early in my when I had first started out, said don't spend your customers money. Put The big proposal on the table, let them tell you yes or no. And I was working with this one client, smaller company, fairly new, really just starting out, and I remember coming back to the office and putting together a proposal for them and I still remember like my mindset at the time, like what do I need? What do I want to get this person to like, where are my numbers right now? And I just really focusing really on my personal agenda, a very cellar focused at the time. And I remember going back to the account of meeting with one of the key stakeholders there and putting the proposal on the table and he was so angry, like angry yelling at me, and...

I've never been yelled at by any customer before that or since, thank goodness. But we got a little disclaimer right where you up in like the New York area. Yes, got a little bit claimer. Okay, go ahead, and he was like what don't you get? Didn't you hear our conversations prior to today? We Are we are small company. This is like outrageous. How could we even consider doing business with your company and it was just a horrible experience and I remember leaving there. I'm not upset at the customer because for the first time I was is like, he is absolutely right. I didn't hear anything that they were saying. Of So focused on what I was trying to accomplish for myself that I completely left the customer out of the equation all together. And grateful that it happens so early in my career because it changed my perspective going forward. In every interaction that I had, it was all about the customer going forward, being like solely focused on what they were trying to accomplish, what was most important for them, and really matching it up, and I will say that it had it estab was some of the best relationships, you know, trust, commitment and to what, you know, I brought to the table because they knew I came from the perspective of it was all about them and not about myself. Yeah, it's amazing. You know, we teach that overcoming the seller deficit disorder and you know, we start first started force management. That was kind of one of the tenants that we had where, you know, the data says that buyers believe they don't believe that we understand their business, than they don't believe that we listen very well as sellers. And it's amazing to me when I think about when I asked that question in into myself, like how many times that I feel resistance to how many times that I feel a anxiety in the conversation really...

...revolved around the answers or the approach that I was giving was not related to anything that I heard from them. And so I had an agenda of as being polite and listening and and, but I couldn't wait to talk about what I wanted to talk about and there was this chasm, there was this disjoint between what I was saying and how it related to what they were telling me. But you know, I think you got a great gift from that buyer and who told you that early and said, you know, you're just this isn't about you, it's about me and you know, unless you make it about me, I'm going to have a really tough time, you know, interacting with you. That's kind of a gift. It's price scary when you're a young seller, but it is a horrible feeling at the moment. But you know, when you reflect back on it, the impact it made in terms of my performance going forward was astronomical and I think when we get to focused on ourselves, it is so limiting in terms of the outcomes we can produce as sellers. When we open up the door to really being focused on the customer and trusting that they're going to give us the answers that we need in order to do what's best in their eyes, like the possibilities aroundless, I love that I actually have like a little a little thing I called the enemy within. At there's this little, you know, demon on my shoulder that says, why are you talking? Because what it means to me is you've better be talking about something that you heard them say. And what it actually does for me is it actually helps me say it think about. Hey, the reason why I'm saying this, Mr Mrs Customers, because you said and it really helps me kind of make it all about them. That's a great one. I hope our listeners can get a lot of mileage out of that, because that's just one of the fundamental truths. Before you make it about yourself, you have to earn the right by first making it all about...

...them. All right, let's change gears a little bit, okay, and add some add some levity into the into the dialog. What's the funniest thing that ever happened on the sales call? I got a couple of probably good stories here, but I think the one of the ones that probably sticks out the most in my mind. I was actually the manager at the time and one of my sellers was really struggling with an account that had been in the pipeline way too long. was convinced it was so it was coming, was going coming in and he said, I just need you to go in there and talk to them and see if you know, I'm completely wrong in terms of the direction this is going. So I remember driving at the account and my my rep saying, you know, do mind if I use your restroom, and so he went off to the restroom. I'm sitting with the owner of the business at the time and he and I'm pretty no nonsense. I'm very straightforward on very candid. I'm not here to like sloft anything up. I got a very New York, you know, mentality to to my broach and my my rep was gone for I think eight minutes and in that eight minutes I remember sitting down with a client and basically saying, listen, this is basically what you've told us you want to get out of this full entire program. This is like the proof of where we've done it similar type of companies. This is, you know, what we delivered for them and you know you either need to make a decision right now, this is something going to you're going to move forward with with and if not, we're leaving, like you're not going to hear from us a yet. And by the time my rep came out of the bathroom, paperwork was signed, I was packing up my back word it, Oh yeah, and he's let me go and I'm like we're done, we're done, you know, and the customers like thank you be thanks so much for pushing me on this. I would just kind of like not a hundred percent sure, I feel good about this now. And we were out and got the Deil done eight minutes now. What was the story when you got back to the branch? Oh my gosh, he is like all you had to see here. I went to the bathroom with here for literally sixty one from eight minutes of like sixty seconds. I...

...was there literally for sixty seconds I came up, the paperwork was done. You got to take her on calls with you. It was just it was very funny. We thought you were going to tell me that's an awesome story. I love that. I thought you're going to tell me that the rep just never came back. Now, no, no, he was an outstanding wrapped just really struggling with this account. I just needed a little bit of a push, so I was puss. That is awesome. That's awesome. All right, on that Bain, let's talk about the best sales person or sales leader that you worked with in your career and why. This one's tough because I've been so blessed to have had extraordinary sales people that have worked for me and have also been blessed to have tremendous sales leaders who. Can I answer both sides of those questions please? Yes. Well, I think when it comes to sales per person like people automatically think the person with the best results, like the highest perform and that's not how I really looked at it in terms of, you know, best sales person. I always looked at it from a perspective of, yes, they have to have tremendous results. But you know, are they committed to what they're doing? Are they truly focus on the customer? Do they bring the best attitude to the table each and every day? You know, are they a team player? Are they able to see the big picture even though they're an individual contributor? And you know, when I use all that criteria to determine who it is, I would have to say two people really hit the top of my list. One person by the name of Mornel a her and she was just extraordinary in all those areas, and another rep that I had by the name of Tommy Palin. Now, both of these people then came up through the ranks with me and the managers and they were just really, really good at what they did and then they really brought the entire package to the table each and every day and consistently, and I think that's hard sometimes as a seller to be consistent... what you do and the attitude you bring. But you know, I had the good fortune of working with both of them for a number of years and just consistently extraordinary and everything that they did. That's awesome. We have a lot of sales managers that listen to this podcast. If you wouldn't mind just go over those characteristics again and so when our folks are out there interviewing today, that they can look for those. So go over those again. Yeah. So, obviously great results, but you know, it very focused on being committed to what they do, being committed to the customer and focused on the customer first and foremost making sure that they bring great attitude to the table each and every day, because it impacts the people around them. Tellers have the tremendous opportunity to really build the culture of an office. So that attitude is key. Team Player, obviously, and I think being able to, you know, see and think about the big picture, even though their individual contributors to the game. Yeah, I like those a lot. You know, what we're staying at to Nolla is when you and I were growing up, we had a quota. We had, you know, my first job at zero box, I was responsible for products and services. I had a quota. I but the sale, I mean we start to get into network products and that type of stuff, but it really didn't appear to be like a complex sale. People weren't buying from us as a service and so therefore it wasn't really a collaborative sale, but this team player concept. The more I see today's sellers in complex sales environments. When I say complex sales environment, I mean, like many of the listeners that we have, they are selling a something as a service, which means there are multiple touch points and multiple insights that a seller or sales team of sales function and a buy...

...or kind of gets from each other. And it's this collaboration, it's this. You know this. When people say team player, you know you really have to be. You know, if you're an individual contributor, like handling Your Business and staying in your lane, is awesome, but you have to have experience with collaborating and sharing information and making continuous communication with a customer. So I just like the highlight that one today. If you're out there listening and you're out there interviewing and if you're selling anything as a service, you better be hitting on that collaborative and for examples and evidence, because I see that's where individual contributors get into a jam, is when that's all about them and they are great individual contributor, but when first time they have to collaborate in a space, they struggle and that's make them bad people. They're just they struggle with it. So that's a really, really good one. Thank you for highlighting that. Okay, the last one will wrap up. Will bring this one home. The best piece of sales advice that you've ever gotten. That you might not hear that often. This one is stuck with me my entire career. It was actually told to me twice, slightly different in each role. So I remember when I first went into sales, one of my sales leader named Bob Qusic, just tremendous guy, very inspirational and motivational. Made you feel you could always do the impossible. I remember him sitting me down and saying to me Antonella, never worry about pleasing the people above you. Don't worry about management. It's a relevant he says. Focus on your customers. They will always elevate you up. And I remember that he said that to me and I always, you know, continue to take that to heart. And then I he was there when I got my first management job and he had the same conversation with me and this time you kind of switched that saying around a little bit and he said, Anton Ella, you...

...know, as you step into your first leadership role, don't worry about the leaders that you report to. Their irrelevant. Worry about out your team members and making them a priority. They will always elevate you up to the next level. I love that. I mean, when you think about it, so many people are focused on managing up, so many people are focused kind of internally, but you know that advice is you handle your business outside with your customers, and the rest kind of takes care of itself. I think that's awesome, awesome advice. And Tonella, thank you for spending time with us. I know you got a jam pack schedule. I really really appreciate spending time with you and I hope, I know our listeners will benefit from putting some of these principles to work this week. So I wish you a great week. I wish our listeners avisor on my behalf, as well. Yeah, yeah, thank you. Just go crush it. Talk soon. Of 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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