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

Episode 62 · 9 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. Tension, positive tension, actually keeps that person in the pocketand focus on what's actually happening, because you're challenging the point of viewand they're thinking in a way that they probably aren't being challenged by most othersellers. You're 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 and welcome to the AUDIBIL ready sales podcast. I'mRachel Club Miller, and today I'm joined by force management facilitator Antonella, Oday and Sanella. Welcome. Hi, Rachel, thanks so much for havingme today. Yes, I'm excited for this conversation because I know, Antonello, you spend a lot of time working with the force management clients your career, working with a lot of sales teams, helping them really to move from thatproduct focus sale to selling on value, and we talked about this topic somuch on the podcast, but it really is a challenge that organizations aretrying to work through time and time again. How do we build those sales capabilitieson our sales team? And it just comes down to having great salesconversations, and I know that something you're passionate about. Yeah, I amreally passionate about that, Rachel. I mean I think you know what's interestingabout having great conversations. So when you really think about it, it reallyties back to one critical piece of it, and great conversations only happen with greatdiscovery. And this is really, when you think about it, wherethe magic happens in a lot of these conversations, especially when you in today'senvironment, think about how clients access information...

...before they even interact with you.Right they have access to a ton of information. They develop a point ofview before they even sit down and talk to you for the first time,and masterful discovery really allows for a seller to ultimately impact and change that pointof view. So when you think about some of the best practices that wetalked about, two sided questions, questions really designed to help the client uncover, you know, the depth and breath of pain and really what their pointof view is. Based on open ended questions, giving on the opportunity toreally express in depth what they're trying to accomplish. Good flow, making surethat there's a good balance of back and forth where they're talking and you're talkingand you're insert inserting your point of view and they're inserting their point of view, and then getting them to that at point with good 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 can potentially close or make inthat particular situation. Yeah, I was just recording podcast with our colleague PatrickBlufflan, Patty macnen too, a many of you, and we talk specificallyabout how those early conversations are so critical in the deal like that is goingto set the stage for how that sales process is going to get executed.Yeah, absolutely, and so we talk a lot about executing just discovery ina way that doesn't feel like an interrogation. You mentioned open end of questions.Part of that is having a roadmap for the conversation, but you alsoneed to be comfortable asking tough questions, sitting in a tough conversation, andso I know that's where we're going to focus our time today. How doyou get comfortable with that uncomfortable conversation as a seller, because that's what reallyis going to separate elite sellers from the... Yeah, I agree withyou a hundred percent. I think elite from everybody else very often comes downto the person who can ask those type of questions. But I think youknow to help in that process of how you get there. I think itwould be great to just kind of to dispel some misconception. I think oneof the biggest misconceptions when it comes to adding some positive tension to that conversationis that as sellers sometimes we think our job is to keep things as comfortableas possible for the client, that if we keep things comfortable, things willkind of roll along and the conversation will flow, and I'll assert that it'squite the opposite. If you really want to ultimately keep that client, engagetension, positive tension, and actually keeps that person in the pocket and focuson what's actually happening, because you're challenging, you know their point of view andand they're thinking in a way that they probably aren't being challenged by mostother sellers. So, you know, you make it engage and you makeit 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 that conversationwe have seller. You know, we really don't want things to be comfortablebecause we got to think about what we're trying to accomplish at the end ofthe day. I mentioned before that clients come into these conversations with a specificpoint of view. Right, if we keep things comfortable, if we keepthings the same, what happens? Nothing, nothing changes. Their point of viewremains the same. We don't allow them to consider a different option,a different way of looking at things, and the deal doesn't move forward,and that's, you know, lose lose really at the end of the day. We really want to get the customer to think about things more deeply andstart to think about the depth of they're pain in a way they haven't beforeand really ultimately force them to stand in...

...that moment of pain. I thinkthe worry sometimes is this if I ask a more thought provoking question, I'mgonna disrupt the Apple car and quite the opposite happens. You are more likelyto engage that customer to deeper conversation that they actually want to be a partof. That's great. I think you make a really good point of wantingyou're not wanting it to be comfortable. I think you sometimes you get onthe phone and you want to have a great rapport and you're talking about whereeverybody went to college or the game that weekend, and all of that's welland good, but, like you said, your intent here is to create tensionin the conversation that motivates action and while that might be uncomfortable to execute, that's really going to help you move your sales process forward or find aproblem that that you can solve, because it's really what we're ultimately doing.So what best practices do you have Antoneller or how do I get comfortable withthis as a salesperson? What am I doing in my prep and my executionto create that necessary tension that's going to be beneficial for me? I thinkthe first US practice is not surprising. Plan these questions out like plans.Some questions that are really designed to be two sided, really get into thecustomers mindset and what they're thinking and what their point of view is and forcethem to think about it in a deeper and maybe different way. And,related to that, plan questions that you want to ask. Sometimes we kindof hold ourselves back from asking the questions we really want to get answers to, thinking that it might be perceived the wrong way or it might elevate thetension too much in the conversation. We need to trust our gut a lotof the times, because our gut usually directs us to the right questions thatwe need to ask and not worry so much about fluffing it up to thepoint where the question is not really delivered in the way it was intended todeliver and and would get the response we...

...were trying to truly get from thecustomer. So I think, you know, that's definitely a good point to startat in terms of you know how to get comfortable with it. BeComfortable with silence, be comfortable with being slightly uncomfortable. I think very often, and I've seen this unfortunately happened so many times, we ask a reallygood question and we hear nothing from the client for a few moments. Itmay seem like a lifetime, but most of the time it's only a fewseconds and then we feel this need to fill in that space versus letting theclient think through the end. Sir, what's really their response, having themkind of struggle internally within themselves because maybe they don't know the answer off thetop of their head, and that is a good thing. Like when you'restarting to get into questions that they can't just respond to instantaneously, that actuallyforces them down the road that they hadn't considered before and as a seller,that's a lot of value bringing to the table because you're forcing them to gosomeplace they couldn't get you on their own. So, you know, giving themthe time to answer through it. Be Comfortable with uncomfortable. You know, be comfortable with like empty, you know, nonspoken time in the conversation. That really helps move things along. Yeah, it's just thinking maybe Ishould do some podcast where it's just silence for three minutes to help kind people. That's to you mentioned a couple things, but I'm curious. I know youthat you you working with a lot of reps on this. Where doyou think they most often go wrong and trying to execute this well? Oneof them, probably most common things that I see is that they see discoveryas a hurdle that they need to overcome to ultimately talk about themselves. Anddiscovery is not a hurdle if you truly like, are genuinely interested in theclient, if you're truly buy your focus...

...and have that outside in approach andyou know, live in the moment. It's so fulfilling on both ends ofthe spectrum in terms of what you get out of the conversation and they getout of the conversation. And sometimes what we lose sight of is the answersto how to move this deal forward, or, in the customers words.So don't look at it as a hurdle, look at it as part of thejourney and enjoy that part of the journey and really immerse yourself into it. I think that's very often where these conversations go wrong and they become moreof like a checkbox versus something that's going to deliver value to both you asa seller as well as the client. And it goes to that appointment we'remaking earlier that this is the most important part of the deal in a lotof ways, is that discovery stages. You talked about creating this tension inthe conversation and in some cases you have to earn the right to create thattension. You don't want to start out with your most uncomfortable question. I'mgetting cost a little bit about how we earn that right to have those typesof conversations. I think some of the things that you talked about earlier,you know, building your port, spending some time on those higher level openingquestions just to get some inside in terms of where the clients point of viewis. I think that kind of helped ultimately lead you to getting into someof those more thought provoking questions. But I think more often than not,as long as you genuinely come from a place where you are asking questions tonot benefit yourself but to ultimately help benefit the client, they can see thatand they can feel that and therefore that gives you the right to ultimately askthe more thought provoking questions. So always be about the client. Always havethat outside and mentality start with some of...

...the questions to kind of break theice, but, you know, don't be fearful of asking those more thoughtprovoking questions because if you're coming from, you know, a genuine place whereyou're trying to ultimately help the buy or get to where they want to getto. They're going to know that and feel that and they'll be happy toanswer a lot of those questions. Yeah, concept that at we've covered a littlebit on the podcast is empathy, having empathy for your buyer, andI think 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'reselling force management, we have common business problems that we saw. So whenwe're talking to a new prospect, we've talked to hundreds prospects were of thatsame issue. So that can be a really beneficial way to show empathy tomake them comfortable with these uncomfortable topics. I'm curious what tips you might haveto help sellers show empathy in those conversations. Yeah, I think kind of startedoff like tension does not passive. Tension does not equal not having empathyright and I think that every conversation has to be a very good balance.It can't be the client constantly giving you answers to numerous questions, no matterhow good those questions are. You have to give something back to the clientand I think a great way that we have sellers. Could give them somethingback is sharing some of those great stories of where we have had similar situationswith other clients and the type of outcomes that they potentially achieved. I thinkthat helps balance things out and it also, you know, allows them to feellike, you know what, I'm not the only one. Number One, I'm not the only one who has this challenge. There's others that havebeen in a similar situation. But boy,... know, it sounds like thisorganization is really comfortable handling those types of situations and they're truly experts atit. So it helps them feel comfortable and confident that, you know,it's something that's solvable and that it's something that the company that they're speaking tocould potentially solve for yeah, I've solutely. I mean the discovery process you mentioned. It's likely more than one conversation right. This is, course,where you're trying to build up that business case and if you're having such agreat conversation and you're nearing the end of that time window availability that you have, you really want to make sure that you're closing that conversation in the correctway. How do you push for the best next steps, and I askthat to knowing that the next steps that you think you might be pushing towhen you start the conversation may have shifted if you're having a great conversation.So how do you push for the right next steps? Yeah, so Ithink a couple of things need to happen. Obviously, we go into every conversationhoping to meet the sort of objective if certain criteria are met, andI think being upfront about that helps you know navigate through the process. Havingsaid that, we talked about being audib already all the time and maybe,based on how the conversation may have proceeded, you know you exceeded. You knowthe objectives that you are trying to achieve in that particular conversation. Sonumber one, I think leveraging something like the mantra to make sure that we'reall on the same page. You have a good understanding of what this particularconversation has captured as it relates to positive business outcomes, as it relates torequired capabilities, as relates to metrics, or maybe, if you haven't gottenthat for plane, back some of the pain points than the before negative consequencesthat you may have uncovered up to that...

...point and then, you know,ask permission to for the next step of what and and explain what that mightlook like. If they know about what that is up front, that makesit very easy to move in that direction. But sometimes, you know, basedon the situation, that might have changed and it's okay to say hey, you know, I know that one of the, you know, nextsteps that we talked about prior to this conversation, if all these criteria weremet, was x, Y Z. But based on the conversation we're havingright now, I'm thinking that a best next step is this. Maybe it'syou introducing me to somebody else, maybe it's, you know, getting morepeople involved in the next meeting, maybe it's talking through how you're going topresent this in some of the things that we talked about today to the economicfire and just get their buying on it. You know, what do you thinkabout that? And getting them to agree that that is a positive nextstep and making sure that that's and how that's going to ultimately get executed on. Great. That's great, such such an important part of planning these conversationsand being audible ready. If we wanted to sell this topic up in Tonellainto a bottom line when it comes to this tension getting through these uncomfortable conversations. What would you say? A couple of things that I would love ourlisteners to kind to take away. Number one, live in the moment ofdiscovery. Don't short change it's so much magic happens here and it'll allow usto organically get to the logical next step, which is ultimately talking about us.And the second thing I would want everybody to walk away with is becomfortable being uncomfortable. It's actually a really good thing in the conversation and it'sit's sometimes really surprising what the client walks away with when we really challenge theircurrent way of thinking and allow them to get someplace that they wouldn't be ableto get to without us. That's great. Be Comfortable with the uncomfortable. Thankyou so much for his conversation today and Toonella. Thanks so much,Rachel. All right, and thank you... all of you for listening tothe audible ready sales podcast. At force management, we're focused on transforming salesorganizations into elite teams. Are Proven methodologies deliver programs that build company alignment andfuel repeatable revenue growth. Give your teams the ability to execute the growth strategyat the point of sale. Our strength is our experience. The proof isin our results. Let's get started. Visit US at force MANAGEMENTCOM. You'vebeen listening to the audible ready podcast. To not miss an episode, subscribeto the show in your favorite podcast player. Until next time,.

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