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

Episode 62 · 7 months ago

Getting Comfortable with Uncomfortable Conversations w/ Antonella O'Day


Great conversations only happen when salespeople aren’t afraid to be uncomfortable.

Being elite often comes down to being the person who can ask great discovery questions with patience, empathy and confidence. Force Management Facilitator Antonella O’Day shares how to dig deep in discovery conversations in a way that creates a healthy tension in the conversation, including:

- The biggest misconceptions when adding positive tension to sales conversations

- How to prepare to drive interest from buyer

- Best practices for helping sellers dig deep in a way that’s empathetic

Here are some additional resources on discovery:

- Executing Effective Discovery Podcast


- Our Most Popular Content on Executing Effective Discovery 


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

If you really want to ultimately keepthat client engaged tention positive tension o actually keeps that person inthe pocket and focus on what's actually Happenin, because you're challengingthe point of view and they're thinking in a way that they probably aren'tbeing challenged by most other sellers you're listening to the audible, ready,podcast, the show that helps you and your teams sell more faster willfeature sales leader sharing their best insights on how to create a salesengine that helps you feel repeatable revenue growth presented by the team Fforce management, a leader in PTB sales effectim. This let's get started hello and welcome to the audible, readysales podcast, I'm Raciel Clabmiller and today, I'm joined by forcemanagement, facilitator, Ancinella, Oda ancinella welcome hi, Rachel thanks somuch for having me today. Yes, I'm excited for this conversation because Iknow Antinell, you spend a lot of time working with the force managementclients, your career, working with a lot of sales teams, helping them reallyto move from that product focus sale to selling on value, and we talk about this topic so much on thepodcast. But it really is a challenge that organizations are trying to workthrough time and time again. How do we build those sales capabilities on oursales teams and it just comes down to having great sales conversations, and Iknow that something you're passionate about yeah? I am really passionateabout that Rachel. I mean, I think you know what's interesting about havinggreat conversations when you really think about it. It really ties back toone critical piece of it and great conversations only happen with greatdiscovery, and this is really when you think about it, where the magic happensin a lot of these conversations, especially when you in today'senvironment, think about Holt clients,...

...access information before they eveninteract with you right, they have access to a ton of information. Theydevelop a point of view before they even sit down and talk to you for thefirst time and masterful discovery really allows for a seller toultimately impact and change that point of view. So when you think about someof the best practices that we talk about, two sided questions, questionsreally designd to help the crient uncover. You know the death and breathof pain and really what their point of Yiew is based on open, ended questions,giving them the opportunity to really express in depth what they're trying toaccomplish good flow, making sure that there's a good balance of back andforth, where they're talking and you're talking and you're incer, insertingyour point of view and they're inserting their point of view and thengetting thim to that point with who discovery questions where youultimately compel them to take action. If that magic doesn't happen, it reallylimits us in terms of the sale that we could potentially close or make. Inthat particular situation yeah. I was just recording a podcast with ourcolleague Pattrick Bufslan, Patty, Mac, known to a many of you, and we talkspecifically about how those early conversations are so critical in thedeal like that is going to set the stage for how that sales process isgoing to get executed. Yeah absolutely, and so we talk a lot about executingdis discovery in a way that doesn't feel like an interrogation. Youmentioned open in te questions. Part of that is having a roadmap for theconversation, but you also need to be comfortable asking tough questionssitting in a tough conversation, and so I know that's what we're going to focusour time today. How do you get comfortable with that uncomfortableconversation as a seller, because that's what really is going to separateelite sellers from the rest yeah? I...

...agree with you. A hundred percent, Ithink elite from everybody else very often comes down to the person who can ask those type ofquestions, but I think you know to help in that process of how you get there. Ithink it would be great to just kind of dispel some misconception. I think oneof the BIS biggest misconceptions when it comes to adding some positiveattention to that conversation is that assellers. Sometimes we think our jobis to keep things as comfortable as possible for the client that if we keepthings comfortable, things will kind of roll along and the conversation willflow, and I assert that it's quite the opposite. If you really want toultimately keep that client engaged tension, positive attention o actuallykeeps that person in the pocket and focus on what's actually happeningbecause you're challenging you know their point of view and they'rethinking in a way that they probably aren't being challenged by most othersellers. So you know you make it engage and you make it intriguing for them.You're, asking really good thought, provoking discovery, questions thatforce them to think and that forces them to want to stay. In thatconversation, we have sellers. You know we really don't want things to becomfortable, because we got to think about what we're trying to accomplishat the end of the deay. I mentine before that clients come into theseconversations with a specific point of view right. If we keep thingscomfortable, if we keep things the same, what happens? Nothing? Nothing changes.The point of view remains the same. We don't allow them to consider adifferent option, a different way of looking at things and the deal doesn'tmove forward and that's you know, lhose lose really. At the end of the day, wereally want to get the customer to think about things more deeply andstart to think about the depth of their pain in a way they haven't before andreally ultimately force them to stand... that moment of pain. I think theworry sometimes is. I ask a more thought, provoking question: I'm goingto disrupt the apple car and quite the opposite happens. You are more likelyto engage that customer deeper conversation that they actually want tobe a part of that's great. I think you make a reallygood point of wanting youre, not wanting it to be comfortable. I thinkyou sometimes you get on the phone, and you want to have a great report andyou're talking about where everybody went to college or the game thatweekend and all of that's well and good, but, like you said, your intent here isto create tension in the conversation that motivates action and while thatmight be uncomfortable to execute, that's really going to help you moveyourselves process forward or find a problem that that you can solve,because it's really what we're ultimately doing so, what bestpractices do you have aunsnellar or how I get comfortable with this as asalesperson? What am I doing in my prep in my execution to create thatnecessary tension? That's going to be beneficial for me. I think the first best practice is notsurprising playing these questions out like plan some questions that arereally designed to be too sited really get into thecustomers, mind San on what they're thinking and what their point of viewis and force Hem to think about it in a deeper, maybe different way. I'mrelated to that plan questions that you want to ask. Sometimes we kind of holdourselves back from asking the questions. We really want to getanswers to thinking that it might be perceived the wrong way or it mightelevate the attention too much. In the conversation, we need to trust our guta lot of the times, because our got usually directs us to the rightquestion that we need to ask and not' worry so much about flufhing it up tothe point where the question is not really delivered in the way it wasintended, deliver it and would get the...

...response we're trying to truly get fromthe customer. So I think you know that's definitely a good point to startat in terms of you know how to get comfortable with it be comfortable withsilence, be comfortable with being slightly uncomfortable. I think veryoften, and I've seen this, unfortunately hapen so many times. Weask a really good question and we hear nothing from the client for a fewmoments. They may seem like a lifetime, but most of the time it's only a fewseconds, and then we feel this nead to fill in that space versus letting theclient think through the answer. What's really their response having them kindof struggle internally within themselves, because maybe they don'tknow the answer of the top of their head, and that is a good thing likewhen you're starting to get into questions that they can't just respondto in stantaneously that actually forces them down the road that theyhadn't considered before and as a seller. That's a lot of value ringingto the table because you're forcing them to build someplace that couldn'tget you on their own, so you know giving them the time to answer throughit be comfortable with uncomfortable. You know be comfortable with like empty.You know, nonspoken time in the conversecation that really helps movethings along yeah is just thinking. Maybe I should do some podcast, whereit's just silence for three minutes to help ten people. That's you mentione a couple things, but I'mcurious. I know you that you working with a lot of reps on this, where doyou think they most often go wrong in trying to execute this well, one of theprobably most common things that I see is that they see discovery as a hurdlethat they need to overcome to ultimately talk about themselves anddiscoery is not a hurdle if you truly like are genuinely interested in theclient, if you're, truly byour focus...

...and have that outside inapproach andyou know, live in the moment, it's so fulfilling on both ends of the spectrumin terms of what you get out of the conversation and they get out of theconversation and sometimes what we lose sight of is the answer. So how to movethis deal forward or in the customers words. So don't look at it as a hurdle.Look at it as part of the journey and enjoy that part of the journey andreally immerse yourself into it. I think that's very often where theseconversations go wrong and they become more of like a checkbox versussomething that's going to deliver value to both you as a seller as well as theclient yeah. It goes to that pointmeme were making earlier that this is themost important part of the deal in a lot of ways. Is that discovery stages?You talked about creating this attention. In Ha conversation and in some cases you have to earn the rightto create that tention. You don't want to start out with your mostuncomfortable question. I'm guessing hear a little bit about how we earnthat right to have those types of conversations. I think some of the things that youtalked about are earliar. You know building repor spending some time onthose higher level opening questions just to get some insight in terms ofwhere the clients point of view is. I think that kind of helps ultimatelylead you to getting into some of those more thought provoking questions, but Ithink more often than not as well as you genuinely come from a place whereyou are asking questions to not benefit yourself but to ultimately help benefitthe client they yo see that and they cad feel that and therefore, that givesyou the right to ultimately ask the more thought provoking questions soalways be about. The client always have...

...that outside in mentality start withsome of the questions to kind of break the ice. But you know don't be fearfulof asking those more thought provoking questions, because, if you're comingfrom, you know a genuine place where you're trying to ultimately help thebuyer get to where they want to get to they're, going to know that and feelthat and they'll be happy to answer a lot of those questions. Yeah concept that we've covered alittle bit on the podcast is empathy having empathy for your buyer, and Ithink sometimes it can be helpful to talk about other customers that you arealso talking to that are having the same issue. You know when we're sellingforce management, we have common business problems that we solve. Sowhen we're talking to a new prospect, we've talked to hundreds yeah prospects. Re have thatsame issue, so that can be a really beneficial way to show empathy to makethem comfortable. With these uncomfortable topics, I'm curious whattids you might have to help sellers show empathy in thoseconversations yeah, I think ou kind of started off my tension does notimpassive. TTENTION does not equal not having emphathy right, and I think thatevery conversation has to be a very good balance. It can't be the client constantly giving youanswers to numerous qestions, no matter how good those questions are. You haveto give something back to the client and I think, a great way that we avesellers could give them. Something back is sharing some of those great storiesof where we have had similar situations with other clients and the type ofoutcomes that they potentially achieved. I think that helps balance things out,and it also you know, allows them to feel like you know what I'm not theonly one number one, I'm not the only one who has this challenge, there'sothers that have been in a similar...

...situation, but boy. You know it soundslike this organization is really comfortable handling those types ofsituations and they're truly experts at it. So it helps them feel comfortableand confident that you know it's something: That's sovable and that it'ssomething that the company that they're speaking to could potentially solve foryeah. Absolutely I mean the discovery process. You mentioned it's likely morethan one conversation right. This is hor where you're trying to build upthat business case and if you're, having such a greatconversation and you're nearing the end of that time, window availability thatyou have. You really want to make sure that you're closing that conversationin the correct way. How do you push for the best next steps, and I asked thatto knowing that the next steps that you think you might be pushing to when youstart the conversation may have shifted if you're having a great conversation.So how do you push for the right next steps? Yeah? So I think a couple ofthings need to happen. Obviously we go into every conversation, hoping to meedsome sort of objective if certain criteria Ar Mat- and I think beingupfront about that- helps, you know natigate through the process. Havingsaid that, we talk about being audable ready all the time and maybe based onhow the conversation may have proceeded. You know you've exceeded. You know theobjectives that you were trying to achieve in that particular conversation,so number one. I think leveragingsomething like the mantra to make sure that we're all in the same page, youhave a good understanding of what this particular conversation has captured asit relates to positive business outcomes as a relatyour partcapabilities and relates to metrics, or maybe, if you haven't Goten thatforplaying back some of the painpoints than the before negative consequencesthat you may have uncovered up to that...

...point, and then you know ask permissionto for the next step of what and explain what that might look like. If Iknow about what that is a front that makes it very easy to move in thatdirection. But sometimes you know based on the situation that might havechanged and it's okay to say, hey know. I know that one of the you know nextsex that we talked about prior to this conversation, if all these iteriawermet was Xyz but based on the conversation we're having right now.I'm thinking that a best next step is this. Maybe it's you introducin me tosomebody else. Maybe it's you know getting more people involved in thenext meeting. Maybe it's talking through how you're going to presentthis and the some of the things that we talked about today to the economic fireand just get their buying on it. You know what do you think about that andgetting them to agree that that is a positive Nex petstep and making surethat that's t an how that's going to ultimately get executed on great, that's great, such such animportant part of planning, these conversations and being audible readyif we wanted to sen this topic up Antanella into a bottom line when itcomes to this tension getting through these uncomfortable conversations? Whatwould you say a couple of things that I I would love our listeners to kind oftake away? Number one live in the moment of discovery. DON'T SHORT CHANGEIT! So much magic happens here and it'll allow us to organically get tothe logical next SEP which ust ultimately talking about us, and thesecond thing I would want everybody to walk away with this be comfortable being uncomfortable.It's actually a really good thing in the conversation and it's it'ssometimes really surprising what the client walks away with when we reallychallenge their current way of thinking and allow them to get some place, butthey wouldn't be able to get to without us. That's great, be comfortable with theuncomfortable. Thank you so much for this conversation today. Ancinellathanks so much Rachel all right and...

...thank you to all of you for listeningto the audible, Reddy sales podcast at force management. We're focused ontransforming sales organizations into elite teams, are proven methodologies,deliver programs that build company alignment and fuel repeatable revenuegrowth, give your ceams the ability to execute the gross strategy at the pointof sale. Our strength is our experience. The proof is in our results. Let's getstarted visit us at force. Managementcom you've been listening tothe audible, ready podcast to not miss an episode subscribe to the show inyour favorite podcast player. Until next time.

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