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

Episode · 7 years ago

Uncovering Business Pain


Managing Director John Kaplan discusses ways to "dig deep" on negative consequences and motivate your buyer to take action.

Hello, I'm Rachel Clapp Miller and I'm the director of digital engagement at force management. I'm joined by our managing director, John Kaplan, and today we're talking about really trying to uncover the true business impact of a problem. In Command of the message we call that uncovering negative consequences. Hi, Rachel, and as usual, another great topic this week. And we get a lot of questions on negative consequences from our command in the message alumni, and it's pretty much status quote to find me a compelling event that's motivating a customer not take action. We all know we have to do that, but sales people really need to work harder and go beyond just uncovering that event. Yeah, I think. I think it does go beyond that. It's really all about attaching yourself to the biggest business issue facing the customer. The bigger the problem, the more urgent it will be. You know, the bigger the problem, the bigger the dollars are to fix it, and the bigger the problem, the more access you will have to the people of power and influence. We know how important finding that big problem is, so help us with a...

...good definition of negative consequences. Yeah, I think a good definition is all the bad things that are happening because of the business problem. And, like so many things in the sales process, it really starts with effective discovery. Great discovery brings the customer to their own conclusion. This really takes preparation. Like so many things. We talked about how preparation is key before any conversation you're having with a prospect or a customer. But if you want to really uncover those negative consequences and get to the business impact of the problem, you really need to have confidence yourself and the problems you solved. Yeah, I like the way that you said that rate. No. Confidence and conviction really really translates for me into that you know, you believe that what you do matters. You have to believe that. We talked about that a lot, having confidence and conviction in what you do. So what do you think the biggest mistake sales people make when it comes to identifying these negative consequences? I...

...think it's just patience. You know, I don't think we're patient enough. In your mind, I think you should be just saying in a wait for it, wait for it, keep digging, look to connect to the business issue and look to connect those business issues to all of the challenging things that are going on around them because of that business issue. You know, look for things internally that you can connect to, look to things externally that you can connect to and ultimately connect those business issues and those challenges to real money, to revenue and cost issues because of the business issue. And I think maybe that's where the the challenge lie is because it can be tough to get a customer to talk about negative, negative things, and I think salespeople by nature are people who want to fix a problem that's in their DNA. So it can be difficult to not jump right through all this negative business impact through to the positive business outcomes, talking about the solution in the great things they're going to that are going to come when, when that deal is signed.

But staying on those negative consequences can really benefit you as you maneuver through the sales cycle, especially when you're dealing with things like multiple decisionmakers. Yeah, I think you're bringing up to really, really good points. You know, the longer you can stand in the moment of pain, the more they will connect to it themselves. And when you have multiple decisionmakers, you know, things like negative consequence. Pence has tend to transcend all levels in an organization and, as we were talking about earlier, I think when you think about your own sales process and aligning with a buyer, it's a lot easier to identify that those negative consequences early on then to get in the late stages the deal and have to backtrack. I mean, talk about awkward. Yeah, I think that's really great because, when you think about it, discovery and your mind discovery should really be focused early on uncovering the negative consequences and getting a customer to kind of emotionally connect to it. When you do that early,... have much more of a chance to get that customer to open up about those problems and challenges. The later, you know, the longer you go in a sales cycle, the more the customer is looking for solutions and the more they're getting closer to their decision. So think about it this way. So the last time you bought a car or something that you really, you know needed to have, the last thing you were doing at the end of your sale cycle was letting that salesperson know how much you need it, what they were selling. So do it early and we've had a lot of great examples of command of the message participants who have dubbed deep in negative consequences and really reframed the sales conversation to talk about that business pain and aligning their value with the biggest business problem facing their prospect organization. Talk about one of the great examples that you might have heard from one of your coming of the message students, for lack of a better term. One of my favorite, you know, was a is a customer that deals with medical devices. They're...

...the largest and oldest medical device company in the United States and they were called in on this hospital, R FP, and this hospital was all focused on reducing cost and you know, as well as they should be. There's a lot, a lot of pressure and healthcare right now to do this. But during their preparation our sales team was focused on one of the number one business issues facing this hospital, which was reducing hospital acquired infections. This was a big, big issue for this hospital. So they went before the committee and the committee was expecting them to talk about all of the solutions that they had to reduce the cost and they stuck to their guns and ask questions to connect this committee to the to the issues associated with hospital acquired infections. And actually it was a difficult, kind of a difficult meeting and the committee members were a little bit frustrated. They wanted them to stay on the topic of, you know, reducing cost and so they actually one of the committee members,...

...the head of the committee, said Hey, XYZ vender, which you please, would you please leave the room for us and and you know, we'll call you back. And what actually happened was this same board member, committee member, looked at the rest of the group and said, Hey, they're asking US questions about the number one challenge for this hospital and we are resisting to give them answers. So in a sense what he was saying was we've lost our own emotional connection to what we do that matters or impacts this hospital. They actually brought that group back in and ask them. All right, go ahead and ask your questions the way you want to ask him to us. And in the end it was a really, really great outcome. It went from a one point five million dollar deal to a seven million dollar deal for this group. Just a great, great story. We love that story. And when you think about attaching your solution to the biggest business problem, a lot of times when you go into that sales meeting, your solution may...

...not be in the budget. But to the point of this story, that's initial one point five million dollar solution might not have been in the budget, but what also was not in the budget is a Mersea outbreak that was going to cost them millions of million dollars if they didn't take the steps to control it, no doubt. So getting back to the negative consequences, we always like to end these podcasts with with a bottom line and and you're the king of bottom lines, John, so, when we talk about attaching to the biggest business problem, digging down on negative consequences, what's the bottom line? I think the bottom line is force yourself to stay in the moment of discovery where your customer has to emotionally connect with the magnitude of the problem. That's great. I will also and with the mantra. Wait for it, that's a good thing to remember. Thank you, John. Thank you all of you for listening. Don't forget to follow force management on twitter, linkedin. Make sure you subscribe to our blog on force managementcom.

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