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

Episode 66 · 7 months 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 sellerswhen we open up the door to really being focused on the customer and trustingthat they're going to give us the answers that we need in order to dowhat's best in their eyes. Their possibilities around less. You're listening to theaudible 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 salesengine 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'sRachel with the audible ready sales podcast. Today another episode in our series lessonslearned in sales. We're asking some sales veterans five questions about where they'vebeen and what they've learned in their sales career. For this episode, JohnKaplan Talks With Force Management Facilitator Antonella. O Day. Good morning aunt toNolla. 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 audienceand Toonello O Day, one of the brightest and newest stars to the forcemanagement facilitation crew. Hey, before we get started, I ask you tojust 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 whatI 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 oftraining and learning, you know, prior in my corporate light. And Iwent online and I did a search of the top training companies in the countryand force management was on the list. We showed up. Yeah, youhave awesome yeah, you show it up,... know, top ten, andI was like wow, it's in the next town over. It's inCharlotte. I live in wax saw and I was like I have to,you know, reach out. So went on to Linkedin and I sent grantsa message directly and I said, Hey, this is what I do now.Would love to get involved with your company. Can we set up ameeting? And grant responded fairly quickly and said sure, you know, wecan have a conversation. I'm going to have you have a conversation with myhead, you know, the head of the facilitation team, Brian, andhad a conversation with Brian was really impressed with what he shared about the companyand the vision and the direction and what the premise of you know what youdid was and that it was really not training but really focused on changing theway the entire organized zaan operated. Had a chance them to meet with theDave Davies and Megan and had a tremendous experience there. Went through their littlegood camp to prepare to deliver command of the message and I guess it wentpretty well because they asked me to come on board. So that's how wewe are so blessed to have you and you know I do some podcasts withRachel 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 overfor me. So that's my bad for her for not finding you, fornot 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 inthe corporate world, get a college education, work in a corporate environment and throughoutcollege 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 worthbased on the experience that you give your...

...customers, and I loved it tomy core. Just really enjoyed it. And as I went into my senioryear, I remember starting to look for different roles and I was looking atmarketing roles and sat through a few interviews and I was like, why amI going to go take a job where I'm going to make even less moneythan I do right now waiting tables in college, and I know I'm worthmore than that. I know I bring more to the table than that,and so I remember having a conversation, you know, with a few peoplethat I would consider mentors at the time and they're like you should totally gointo sales, and I'm like, you know what, you're right, Iam going to go into sales because I can make a lot more money inthat space because I'm going to get paid what I'm worth. I'm going toget paid what based on the experience that I give to my climents and that'sreally what ultimately drove me to go in that direction. Best Decision I evermade. That's incredible. I wonder, I wonder how many folks that arelistening 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 onin your life having an understanding of the importance of communicating and interacting and andserving a customer I think probably probably has served you well. Yeah, ithas, and I'm very grateful for that experience and that it opened my eyesto, you know, looking at the sales route, because I think Iwould 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 differencebetween sellers and everybody else, as they they just have a an unbelievable abilityto handle the in dignity of the clothes. And I'm just thinking about like beinga waiter or waitress. I'm not saying that everybody's rude, but youjust deal with a lot of behaviors where... know it's all about the customerand 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 rollnow or you go into the sales roll. Think about we're asking everybody the samekind 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? WhenI think about the worst, I am grateful that it happened very early inmy crew. Let me say that, because it changed the way I lookedat my business going forward. So I did very well and sales right outof the game, which is good and which is bad, I think.You know, when I look back on it, the challenge I had veryearly 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. Itwas about me seven and one of the good things about that was Iwasn't fearful at all about putting big proposals on the table. I was allabout the big proposals. You know, I remember one of my trainers earlyin 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, fairlynew, really just starting out, and I remember coming back to the officeand putting together a proposal for them and I still remember like my mindset atthe time, like what do I need? What do I want to get thisperson to like, where are my numbers right now? And I justreally 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 thekey 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 anycustomer before that or since, thank goodness. But we got a little disclaimer rightwhere you up in like the New York area. Yes, got alittle bit claimer. Okay, go ahead, and he was like what don't youget? Didn't you hear our conversations prior to today? We Are weare small company. This is like outrageous. How could we even consider doing businesswith your company and it was just a horrible experience and I remember leavingthere. I'm not upset at the customer because for the first time I wasis like, he is absolutely right. I didn't hear anything that they weresaying. Of So focused on what I was trying to accomplish for myself thatI completely left the customer out of the equation all together. And grateful thatit 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 wasmost important for them, and really matching it up, and I will saythat it had it estab was some of the best relationships, you know,trust, commitment and to what, you know, I brought to the tablebecause they knew I came from the perspective of it was all about them andnot about myself. Yeah, it's amazing. You know, we teach that overcomingthe seller deficit disorder and you know, we start first started force management.That was kind of one of the tenants that we had where, youknow, the data says that buyers believe they don't believe that we understand theirbusiness, than they don't believe that we listen very well as sellers. Andit's amazing to me when I think about when I asked that question in intomyself, like how many times that I feel resistance to how many times thatI feel a anxiety in the conversation really...

...revolved around the answers or the approachthat 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 therewas this chasm, there was this disjoint between what I was saying and howit related to what they were telling me. But you know, I think yougot a great gift from that buyer and who told you that early andsaid, you know, you're just this isn't about you, it's about meand you know, unless you make it about me, I'm going to havea really tough time, you know, interacting with you. That's kind ofa gift. It's price scary when you're a young seller, but it isa horrible feeling at the moment. But you know, when you reflect backon it, the impact it made in terms of my performance going forward wasastronomical and I think when we get to focused on ourselves, it is solimiting in terms of the outcomes we can produce as sellers. When we openup the door to really being focused on the customer and trusting that they're goingto give us the answers that we need in order to do what's best intheir eyes, like the possibilities aroundless, I love that I actually have likea 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 thatyou heard them say. And what it actually does for me is it actuallyhelps 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 ofmake it all about them. That's a great one. I hope our listenerscan get a lot of mileage out of that, because that's just one ofthe fundamental truths. Before you make it about yourself, you have to earnthe right by first making it all about...

...them. All right, let's changegears a little bit, okay, and add some add some levity into theinto 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 theone of the ones that probably sticks out the most in my mind. Iwas actually the manager at the time and one of my sellers was really strugglingwith an account that had been in the pipeline way too long. was convincedit 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 ifyou 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 therestroom. I'm sitting with the owner of the business at the time andhe and I'm pretty no nonsense. I'm very straightforward on very candid. I'mnot 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 forI think eight minutes and in that eight minutes I remember sitting down with aclient and basically saying, listen, this is basically what you've told us youwant to get out of this full entire program. This is like the proofof 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 adecision right now, this is something going to you're going to move forward withwith and if not, we're leaving, like you're not going to hear fromus a yet. And by the time my rep came out of the bathroom, paperwork was signed, I was packing up my back word it, Ohyeah, 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 forpushing me on this. I would just kind of like not a hundred percentsure, I feel good about this now. And we were out and got theDeil done eight minutes now. What was the story when you got backto the branch? Oh my gosh, he is like all you had tosee here. I went to the bathroom with here for literally sixty one fromeight minutes of like sixty seconds. I...

...was there literally for sixty seconds Icame up, the paperwork was done. You got to take her on callswith you. It was just it was very funny. We thought you weregoing to tell me that's an awesome story. I love that. I thought you'regoing 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 inyour career and why. This one's tough because I've been so blessed to havehad extraordinary sales people that have worked for me and have also been blessed tohave tremendous sales leaders who. Can I answer both sides of those questions please? Yes. Well, I think when it comes to sales per person likepeople automatically think the person with the best results, like the highest perform andthat'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 committedto what they're doing? Are they truly focus on the customer? Do theybring 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 eventhough they're an individual contributor? And you know, when I use all thatcriteria to determine who it is, I would have to say two people reallyhit the top of my list. One person by the name of Mornel aher and she was just extraordinary in all those areas, and another rep thatI had by the name of Tommy Palin. Now, both of these people thencame up through the ranks with me and the managers and they were justreally, really good at what they did and then they really brought the entirepackage to the table each and every day and consistently, and I think that'shard sometimes as a seller to be consistent... what you do and the attitudeyou bring. But you know, I had the good fortune of working withboth of them for a number of years and just consistently extraordinary and everything thatthey did. That's awesome. We have a lot of sales managers that listento this podcast. If you wouldn't mind just go over those characteristics again andso when our folks are out there interviewing today, that they can look forthose. 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 makingsure that they bring great attitude to the table each and every day, becauseit impacts the people around them. Tellers have the tremendous opportunity to really buildthe culture of an office. So that attitude is key. Team Player,obviously, and I think being able to, you know, see and think aboutthe big picture, even though their individual contributors to the game. Yeah, I like those a lot. You know, what we're staying at toNolla is when you and I were growing up, we had a quota.We had, you know, my first job at zero box, I wasresponsible 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'tbuying 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 complexsales environments. When I say complex sales environment, I mean, like manyof 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 orsales 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 sayteam 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 informationand making continuous communication with a customer. So I just like the highlight thatone today. If you're out there listening and you're out there interviewing and ifyou're selling anything as a service, you better be hitting on that collaborative andfor examples and evidence, because I see that's where individual contributors get into ajam, 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 andthat's make them bad people. They're just they struggle with it. So that'sa really, really good one. Thank you for highlighting that. Okay,the last one will wrap up. Will bring this one home. The bestpiece 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 actuallytold to me twice, slightly different in each role. So I remember whenI 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 dothe 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 elevateyou up. And I remember that he said that to me and I always, you know, continue to take that to heart. And then I hewas there when I got my first management job and he had the same conversationwith me and this time you kind of switched that saying around a little bitand he said, Anton Ella, you...

...know, as you step into yourfirst leadership role, don't worry about the leaders that you report to. Theirirrelevant. Worry about out your team members and making them a priority. Theywill always elevate you up to the next level. I love that. Imean, when you think about it, so many people are focused on managingup, so many people are focused kind of internally, but you know thatadvice is you handle your business outside with your customers, and the rest kindof takes care of itself. I think that's awesome, awesome advice. AndTonella, thank you for spending time with us. I know you got ajam 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 workthis week. So I wish you a great week. I wish our listenersavisor on my behalf, as well. Yeah, yeah, thank you.Just go crush it. Talk soon. Of Force management. We're focused ontransforming sales organizations into elite teams. Are Proven methodologies deliver programs that build companyalignment and fuel repeatable revenue growth. Give your teams the ability to execute thegrowth strategy at the point of sale. Our strength is our experience. Theproof 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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