Ep19 Master the Art of Persuasion with Derek Roberts

19 | Master the Art of Persuasion with Derek Roberts

Transform Resistance Into Buy-In

Are you struggling to get your senior team on board with your vision for change, to get buy-in for a new initiative, or to get leaders to sign on to your services as a coach or consultant?

Good news.

Leading through influence and persuasion can make this happen.

In this episode, Derek Roberts and I explore the art and science of persuasion in the context of leadership. We discuss his new book, “Listen to Sell: How Your Mindset, Skillset, and Human Connections Unlock Sales Performance,” and the essential skills of selling ideas and gaining buy-in, which are crucial for any continuous improvement leader.

If we work with other humans, we are all in sales and lead change. That’s why mastering the power of persuasion to help others adopt new ways of thinking and working is essential to your success, career growth, and impact.

Derek’s expertise highlights how to navigate these interactions effectively, ensuring you’re heard, understood, and able to inspire action.

If you want to become a more influential change leader who identifies and bridges gaps through strategic communication, this episode is for you.

…but first – enter for your chance to win a copy of Derek’s book Listen to Sell!

Bonus Book Giveaway – 5 Copies of Listen to Sell

Book Giveaway - Listen to Sell by Derek Roberts & Mike Esterday

Register for a chance to win one of five copies of the book “Listen to Sell: How Your Mindset, Skillset, and Human Connections Unlock Sales Performance.”

This insightful book, written by Derek Roberts, Mike Esterday, and their team at Integrity Solutions, will transform your leadership approach.

Register now to participate and share your “Lucky URL” to increase your chances of winning.

Registration Details:

  • Open through June 19th at 11:45pm Pacific
  • Contestants are limited to the US

Don’t miss out on this opportunity to elevate your leadership skills!

Register here by Wednesday June 19th at 11:45pm Pacific.

In this episode you’ll learn:

✅ How asking  compelling questions and listening helps you  influence decisions and lead change effectively

✅ Strategies for coaching executives to engage actively in change initiatives, highlighting the difference between persuasion and manipulation

✅ The importance of preparation in getting buy-in includes understanding your audience, conducting thorough research, and developing situational awareness

✅ Techniques to adapt your communication style to match different behavioral types—talkers, controllers, doers, and supporters—to enhance your effectiveness in selling ideas and facilitating organizational change

✅ How to employ Integrity Solution’s Congruence Model to ensure personal and professional alignment with one’s purpose, abilities, values, commitments, and beliefs

Listen Now to Chain of Learning!

Tune in now to enhance your leadership and get buy-in by mastering the power of persuasion.

Watch the conversation

Watch the full conversation between me and Derek Roberts on YouTube.

About Derek Roberts

Derek Roberts has built, trained, and coached sales teams and sales leaders for nearly thirty years. Although he is an executive coach, consultant, and professional speaker, he quickly identifies himself as a sales professional.

Derek has coached and trained tens of thousands of professionals to step into their impact by mastering influence, relational skills, and integrity in communication.

Derek is the co-author of the new book Listen to Sell: How Your Mindset, Skillset, and Human Connections Unlock Sales Performance with Mike Esterday and an executive partner at the sales training organization Integrity Solutions.

Reflect and Take Action

Listen, Ask, and Engage

Reflect on my conversation with Derek, where we discussed some core competencies essential for becoming a successful, yes-minded persuader and salesperson, including:

  • listening with curiosity
  • asking provocative questions
  • preparing thoroughly to be fully present

It’s crucial to connect the “what’s in it for me?” with what leaders desire, adjusting your approach to align with your client’s preferred behavioral style.

Consider Derek’s coaching feedback, which propelled him to a new level of success. Ask yourself: what question are you afraid to ask? Lean into that question in one of your conversations this week and observe the discoveries you and your client make.

Take the Katalyst™ Self-Assessment

If you haven’t already done so, download my Change KATALYST Self-assessment to learn more about the eight competencies you need to become an impactful change leader. And be sure to listen to Episode 9 of Chain of Learning for more insights on each competency.

Seek Out Mentors

As Derek highlights in his book, we all need mentors and coaches to develop and grow. I encourage you to seek out mentors and coaches, both formally and informally, to help you achieve your full potential.

If you need outside support for yourself or your leaders, I’d be happy to help. I love supporting change leaders, continuous improvement practitioners, and executives like you to grow into your impact, realize your vision for change, and develop the relational and influence skills necessary to get there.

Learn more about my trusted advisor coaching and learning experiences here.

Important Links

Listen Now to Chain of Learning

Listen now on your favorite podcast players such as Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Audible. You can also listen to the audio of this episode on YouTube.

Timestamps:

00:00 – An introduction to Derek Roberts
04:09 – Sharing a vision and getting buy-in
08:40 – Discussion about Derek’s book and the training programs he offers through Integrity Solutions
11:18 – The distinction between asking logical vs. emotional questions
17:19 – The tension between being persuasive and avoiding manipulation
20:12 – The power of truly listening
23:01 – Different behavioral styles and their influence on the buying experience
32:15 – The five areas of the congruence model relevant to sales and leadership roles
37:50 – Derek’s journey in being more engaged and curious
42:41 – The impact of concentrating your energy on preparation

Full Episode Transcript

Derek Roberts:
And he really challenged me. He said, what are you afraid to ask? I’m like, what do you mean by that? No, no, he said, you get in sales, you’re asking questions you know the answers to or want to know the answers, right? You’re presupposing certain answers by the quality of the questions you have. What are you not asking? That might be something you don’t want to hear, or might take the conversation a different way.

Katie Anderson:
Welcome the Chain of Learning where the links of leadership and learning unite. This is your connection for actionable strategies and practices to empower you to build a people-centered learning culture, get results, and expand your impact so that you and your team can leave a lasting legacy. I’m your host and fellow learning enthusiast, Katie Anderson. One of the hardest skills to master as a change leader is how to lead through influence and persuasion. Can you relate? Before I started my consulting practice a decade ago, I didn’t realize that actually, I was also in the business of sales as an internal change leader and senior team member. But I’ve discovered that regardless if you’re a consultant selling a product or service to clients, or a continuous improvement change leader, trying to get buy-in from your executives, or get teams on board with a new initiative, or support your leaders through the fear and resistance that often comes up with any change, being able to master the power of persuasion is essential to your success, your career growth and your impact. All of us are in sales if we’re working with other humans and that we need to become what I call a yes-minded persuader in my change Katalyst model to get buy-in for ideas and engage people on a process of discovery and solution-finding. To get to yes together, I’ve brought on my guest, Derek Roberts to this podcast to help you understand how you can master the power of influence by becoming a yes-minded persuader and getting to the yes that you want and need.

Katie Anderson:
Derek is a seasoned sales professional and consultant who has coached and trained tens of thousands of professionals to step into their impact by mastering influence and relational skills and communicating with integrity. He’s also the co-author of the new book, Listen to Learn – How Your Mindset, Skillset and Human Connections Unlock Sales Performance, along with co-author Mike Esterday and is an executive partner at the sales training organization Integrity Solutions. We started off our conversation with a question. What, if any, difference does he see between selling a product or service for someone to buy and selling ideas and getting people to buy-in to your vision or a change initiative?

Derek Roberts:
That’s a great way to start because so often people get hung up on this word selling, right? It’s baked in with all kinds of connotations, history, experiences, and it can become a real obstacle to people. And whether you are actually transacting between businesses or individuals or just transacting on ideas, a lot of the fundamental principles are really still the same, because what we’re doing is we’re engaging human beings in sort of buying into a next step, whether that’s a transactional next step or an actionable next step to follow a journey. And so there are some really incredible parallels. And really the common denominator is human beings. I mean, this is this entire journey. And in the book, we really write this to people to engage people. We’re not talking about bots and we’re not talking about AI and those kinds of things. We’re talking about human communication. That’s the starting point.

Katie Anderson:
I really appreciate hearing that there’s so many people in the world that I exist in around continuous improvement and operational excellence, where we can get stuck on the tools and the process, which is also very important. You have, I’m sure, sales processes and tools that can really help and leverage the sales process. But really, it’s ultimately about how are we engaging as human beings and having these conversations. And you said something to me earlier, too. It’s about engaging people in solution finding. And that is really what we’re all about. Whether or not you’re trying to solve an operational problem or solve, you know, create value for others. But how do we create solutions together?

Derek Roberts:
You know, at its core, that’s really what selling is. It’s identifying needs, meeting those needs, creating value in the process. And those needs can be on a lot of fronts. Whether it’s something that you’re providing in order for somebody to do their business better, a business to business transaction, because they’re selling something to their customers, we’re a part of that equation. Or it could be something that makes their personal life better in helping them kind of advance in their career. Thanks. Those, those experiences are really very similar. And so the person who is able to engage in, first and foremost, discovery of the need and then leading to the solution.

Derek Roberts:
And that’s an interesting balance, because so often people in sales, and even people who are in influencing roles, they’re fixated on the solution, they’re fixated on the deliverable. They want to tell, they want to push, they want to offer that end result too often without bringing people on the journey that they first have to realize, oh, where I am is not where I could be or where I should be. And so we have, you know, a lot of the art of selling is creating that discovered need and getting agreement to the need so that the solution becomes something of value to them. And that gets backwards too often. And so that’s why solutioning is important. How you get there is more important.

Katie Anderson:
You hit the nail on the head so much, you know, I think that’s a big challenge for internal change agents who can see the future. They see this vision. They want to get there. They know what better looks like, but sometimes forget to bring people along on that journey and to get the buy-in that’s needed from the people doing the work, the executive team, the leaders that they’re supporting, and more. I’d love to explore this concept of buy-in and what it really means to get buy-in, what it is and what it’s not, and why it’s so important for bringing people along on this journey to get to the solution or the end result.

Derek Roberts:
Yeah, buy-in is kind of like that magic experience where everybody’s together and they’re on board, and they share it like it’s their own idea. They’re onboard in their energies and their creativity. But getting there can be a challenge. In my consulting business, we talk about taking people on this journey, and we use this really simple little stick figure graphic. And it’s the journey from resistance to buy-in. And you start out, and we have this little drawn wagon, and with all these little stick people in the wagon, and you have this leader out front hanging on to the bar at the front of the wagon, pulling the wagon, and that’s the start of it. And so passive. You’re just there riding along, and that’s a lot of.

Derek Roberts:
A lot of leaders try to, hey, we’re going here. And people are, well, I’m not sure I buy into that. Resistance is when they dig their heels in. Right? You think the old Flintstone cars, and they put their feet down and they, instead of pedaling, they just dig in. The leaders, you know, because they’re like, whoa, it’s not for me. You clearly haven’t won me. You clearly. I don’t see the value of it yet.

Derek Roberts:
I don’t even know that I need to go there. Why are you trying to take me to that new destination? I like where I am, and I’m going to resist. Compliance is, okay, you know what? I’ll put my feet up. I’ll ride along. You can pull me along. But all the work is done by the leader. Right? And so there is this because I don’t. I don’t know that I believe in getting there.

Derek Roberts:
You haven’t helped me understand the value. I’m not going to resist it. But it’s what’s in it for me. Buy in is getting out of the wagon and running up and saying, hey, let’s go here. Well, how do we get there? Right? We’re all pulling this thing together, and here’s how we get there. First of all, you’ve got to help me discover that there is a gap between where we are and where we’re going that is valuable to me to fill. And so often, and this is true in straight sales, but it’s also true in leader, influential. You know, the practice of getting buy into ideas is I have to first engage the people that I’m trying to help provide solutions to in a dialogue that says, tell me what is important to you? What is it that helps both of us understand that there’s something worthwhile to address? And that’s the interview process.

Derek Roberts:
And that’s why we spend the bulk of this book talking about listening to sell. Because the first thing I want to do is I want to ask some questions. I want to know real answers. And often in any kind of selling, selling ideas, selling solutions, we know the answers. We know where we want to be. We know what the good outcome is. We’re not as interested in hearing what the real issues are. And the value proposition is for the people that we’re engaging.

Derek Roberts:
So we start asking questions. We start asking real questions and we open our ears up to hear what the real answers are. And the questions are not, well, what are you doing now? And what could you do better? That’s part of it, but a bigger part of it is, well, what’s the impact of not doing this or doing this? And why should that matter? Real decisions get based on reason, right? They get based on, I do this because, and very seldom do we ask questions that actually get to the root of. Because sometimes we don’t ask them because we don’t want to know the answer. We’re afraid of the answer because it might contradict what we’re trying to accomplish. We have to spend some time getting people to go, you know what? There’s something that could be better, could be better than what I’m experiencing now. And I didn’t even think about it or know it, but, but I’m willing to explore it. And when you get them to buy into exploring it, now you can start talking about solutions.

Derek Roberts:
Now you can start offering opportunities. That’s the demonstrate phase, but you have to have the interview phase first, and it gets missed a ton.

Katie Anderson:
For sure. There’s so many parallels in your book about coaching, about getting people to understand the current situation. It’s all about those asking good questions, listening and seeking to really understand. And I think you touched on here the gap model that you talk about in the book, which I thought was really powerful and really aligned with the way continuous improvement practitioners brains work. We have a gap between what’s actually happening, the target of what should be happening. Then let’s focus on what are the reasons for the gap. What I loved is you talk about in the book not just the logical questions, those what and how questions to define the reasons for the gap of where we are and where we need to be. But these emotional questions, the why, the what if and getting to the heart of that emotional part of it is so critical for then moving beyond maybe that initial emotional resistance to that change.

Katie Anderson:
And I thought it was really powerful. Call out the distinction between the logical process questions and the emotional, sort of what’s going to bring me on that journey with you.

Derek Roberts:
Sure. And you need both, right. You need to understand what is happening, what is the substantive from where to where that’s important. Right. If you’re changing a process, well, what are we doing now? What could we do better? Why would it make a difference to us functionally? But you still have to navigate people through that. And we say emotional. I’ll cut the distinction like this. The top half of that gap model from where we are now to where we need going.

Derek Roberts:
The top half of the gap model is what I call the what questions. It’s kind of the tangible, practical, the things that you can put your finger on. And when you ask me what questions, how many of this have I used? What would be better? What could be? I can answer every one of those questions dispassionately, meaning I don’t have to invest myself in the answer. I’m kind of giving information. I can hypothesize a little bit. We can talk about all of that, but I don’t have to commit to anything. But when you start asking me questions that I would call more why questions, you’re asking me to take some ownership of these answers. What am I concerned about? What are the opportunities or the benefits that would come from this? What is a motivation? How do I prioritize things? So often, you ask people to make decisions in these kinds of situations.

Derek Roberts:
I’ll ask if this and this. Which of these are more important to you? Well, now I have to give you kind of a vested answer that says something about who I am. It’s not just me revealing what’s important, but it’s me also evaluating. Is it worth it to me? Well, those kind of why questions at the bottom half of the gap model get me to move to recognizing there’s a need to change or there’s a need to move or there’s a need to buy or to at least consider a solution. Once you have me there, now we can talk about solutions because they’re relevant to me. That gets missed a lot, unfortunately, with a lot of folks.

Katie Anderson:
I see this happening, too. You know, we talked about, you know, leaders bringing people along on their idea. A lot of people listening are also internal change agents and change leaders, you know, leading initiatives, trying to get their, actually, executives on board with ideas. And so, you know, finding frustration like, God, I don’t understand why the executive team, they’re like, giving the blessing maybe for the project or initiative, but not actually making changes themselves or really like, being actively involved sort of, as you talked about earlier, the, what’s in it for me? And so helping leaders themselves see the change, you know, maybe it’s scary to, like, oh, I’ve been successful to a certain point of being this certain way, and now I have to change my behaviors or be involved in a different way. That, that’s scary. And then that might come across as resistance or maybe like, the compliance in the sense, well, I’ll, you know, go ahead with that, but I’m not really going to be involved.

Derek Roberts:
Right. It’s good for you. Don’t include me. It’s good for you, though.

Katie Anderson:
Yeah. But I totally support this, you know, continuous improvement initiative, and that’s great. Everyone out there. Yeah, go for it. You support them. But, oh, I don’t need coaching. I don’t need to be doing things. And it’s, that’s so hard, and that’s really, really hard place.

Katie Anderson:
I know, because I’ve been there myself. For internal change leaders as well to be in is how do you, like, coach up and bring those executives who are more senior in the chart than you, but actually your role is to help them see the potential for the change and then lead it themselves, because as the internal change leader, you’re truly only leading with influence. You don’t lead with authority.

Derek Roberts:
Yeah. And this is the art of the intelligent question. Right. Because if I’m asking really powerful questions, I’m getting a level of buy-in just through my questions. So if I’m focused on gathering information or getting approval or whatever those things are, then there’s a chance that I can miss that. But when I go to a leader and I ask some really smart and insightful questions, like, if we do this, how does this impact our objectives here? I’m asking them to inform me, but I’m also asking them to process whatever it is that we’re trying to accomplish through a filter. And that helps me understand what’s important to them. And just even asking them in those things, explain to me what we’re trying to accomplish here so that I can make sure we’re doing the things that serve that.

Derek Roberts:
That is an absolute opportunity to be. First of all, it demonstrates sort of your engagement and leadership. Even if you’re not the final decision maker, you get to be an influencer because you’ve asked smarter questions. And I think the best questions in selling, and it doesn’t matter what you’re selling. I love being on the journey of asking questions, and the audience looks at me, and they go, you know, I don’t know. I hadn’t thought about that before. That’s like winning the golden ticket, because now I’ve proven some value in that conversation because I’ve asked something smart enough that takes them to a place of discovery and it can be on a variety of topics. That’s, I think, how you win influence, even at an up-chain level of coaching and selling.

Katie Anderson:
I really enjoyed a quote from the book, and this is related to this conversation here. It said, selling, at its heart, is not talking people into something they don’t want. So it’s this tension, right, between being persuasive and helping them get to that emotional connection of the value or that they want it versus being manipulated or maybe sort of pushing your ideas on them. How do you help people kind of balance that tension between being persuasive and feeling manipulative or pushing?

Derek Roberts:
There is a quote, and I don’t know where it comes from, so you can attribute it to me, but I’ve said it many times, that a person convinced against their will is of the same opinion still, right. Dragging someone along, you really haven’t won the day if all you do is sort of get, you know, get them to do something because of force of nature. And that’s not, that’s. That’s not leadership, that’s not getting buy-in, that’s not selling. What you have to do is find out what, what people value and then connect whatever it is you’re trying to accomplish to what they value. And then they buy into that. Then they see that it’s important, then they see that it’s worth it. To them.

Derek Roberts:
It’s worth it. And on what level? Well, maybe it’s time. Maybe it’s money, maybe it’s. I mean, it could be a lot of things that we evaluate cost or worth, but the journey first is to figure out what do they value? And that’s honestly different for each of us at some level. I mean, we talk in the book about communication styles, and people have a right to buy the way they want to buy, and that has a lot to do with the way we engage them. But a step beyond that is we each sort of prioritize things that are important to us. Some people prioritize prestige. Some people prioritize simplicity, accuracy, efficiency, whatever that might be, that they kind of weigh out and go, okay, well, it’s worth it to me because of this or that.

Derek Roberts:
And that is part of the journey that we have to be on, is to dig enough to figure that out, to find that out. And that doesn’t have to be a long journey. A couple of really insightful, smart questions, or sometimes just being quiet and giving someone a chance to talk is the best way to find that out. The best questions are, I may ask you something, and you give me an answer, and I go, that’s really interesting. Tell me a little more about that. It’s magic. It’s what emerges is really the heart of value.

Katie Anderson:
One of the things I coach people all the time on is ask that one question and pause, count to ten, because we get uncomfortable, right? Oh, someone’s not responding right away. But if you’re asking a really good question, it’s going to require some thought in a reflective moment. And then we sort of pile on with more questions or starting to do that, pushing because we’re uncomfortable with that. And I really like that you emphasize the listening part. I talk so much in the work that I do about how to ask more effective questions. But the corollary of that is really effective listening, right? You have to listen and hear and give space for someone to think. Otherwise, why even ask the question in the first place?

Derek Roberts:
That’s exactly right. Years ago, and I don’t know if it came to me or somebody helped me discover it, but I started changing the way I just view people. Like, think about your day. How saturated is your day? We’ve got kids, we’ve got businesses to run. We’ve got customers. We’re saturated, all of us. And so you think about this. When I sit down to engage someone, maybe it’s on a phone call.

Derek Roberts:
Maybe it’s face-to-face. Maybe it’s just sitting next to somebody in an airplane for me to tell them something. Here’s the way I view them. I imagine everybody sitting there, and you kind of imagine. I call it the pitcher principle, but it’s almost like a big pitcher of water, and we’re all just at the top, maybe even brimming over. We’re just full. How in the world is there space for me to pour anything else into that at the beginning? There’s really not. And so one of my first objectives in engaging people is to make capacity to get them to pour some things out so that there’s room to take some things in.

Derek Roberts:
And that’s the art of asking questions. When you engage people, the best way is just to get them to share, just to tell me what’s important to you so that now you have capacity to engage in potentially taking something in that’s on, you know, in addition to what you already know, because we’re. We’re all just topped off every day.

Katie Anderson:
And going back to, you know, what we were talking about at the beginning is all about human connections and human relationships. At the end of the day, that’s what this all is based on. And so the more we can have a genuine human connection on, even if it’s at a very short level, we’re so much more open and receptive to then hearing other ideas later as well. But, yes, I love that. Start with a question and get to know each other, and really hear what’s going on for that person.

Derek Roberts:
Absolutely. And it may only be a few moments. Right. Sometimes that’s all you have. In certain interactions, you don’t have a 30-minute conversation. The luxury of that, you might just be able to create that really quick impression. And in our sales model, we talk about approach being the first step, because I want to make sure that I have permission to engage with you. Right.

Derek Roberts:
And you have to know that I’m here and present and interested, and I value you. Not to get something out of you, but because this is something that we’re going to connect on. And if there’s an opportunity for us to do more, great. If there’s not, that’s okay. I valued you in that moment, and we mutually recognize that, and then we can move on quickly. And so that’s the starting point. Uh, build that rapport, ask a good question, and then maybe we’ll get to solutions.

Katie Anderson:
I like how in the book, too, you talk about different behavioral styles, and you mentioned this just a bit earlier here in our conversation and how important that is for being able to understand the person that you’re engaging with and. And maybe flex your approach to best create that connection. I’m actually teaching something very similar to what you describe in the book at an upcoming leadership retreat for a healthcare client of mine. I’d love to hear some of your insights around how these behavioral insights and behavioral styles influence that connection and the conversation that we can have to be more, I guess, impactful and persuasive as well.

Derek Roberts:
Yeah, thanks for asking. Because I think this is the thing that is so easily accessible to people. Right. We do our trainings, and inevitably, behavior styles bubbles up first because everyone can relate to the fact that, you know, how they process information, how they want to be treated, and then they recognize the differences between them and the people around them. Sometimes their coworkers, sometimes their spouses, sometimes their customers. But what it really comes down to is how do we value people and recognize that, hey, we’re all different, that’s okay, but the onus of helping make this experience easy for you is on me. Right. I want to make.

Derek Roberts:
And we’ll call it the buying experience. Right. Because that’s specifically what we’re talking about. But my job is to make it easy for you to create in such a way not only the delivery of the information, but the way in which you want to process that information to get to some kind of conclusion. There are people who are very relational people that they like people. Right. They gravitate towards people, and we call those talkers for good reason.

Katie Anderson:
And, yeah, I’m one of those. I’ve had to learn to listen.

Derek Roberts:
Yeah, of course. And so in doing so, we’re looking for connections. We’re looking for ways to see not just how it impacts you, but what talkers think about how things impact others. And they want to bring people along and they want to explore, and. And there’s a lot of that energy, and they kind of are very, you know, what’s in their head comes out. What’s in their heart comes out. And so the buying experience for them is connecting in such a way that they feel valued because, you know, talkers want to buy from people they like, generally speaking. Right.

Derek Roberts:
And that’s. It’s not just that we have to talk about your kids soccer games on the weekend and things like that, but we should make space for that if that’s important to them, because connecting with someone is at a talker level, allows us to get the solution. So talkers, often we could spend more time connecting and relating. And when it comes time to sort of buying into an idea or taking an action, a talker will go, oh, yeah, that makes great sense to me. I’m good with that. Right. Cause you’ve invested on the front end of what they value. They value that relationship.

Derek Roberts:
You take the contrast of that. A controller, someone who is more facts and figures and data, they’re analytical, they are certainly less emotional. And what they value is accuracy, and they value efficiency, and they have value. So when I approach them, you know, what I want to do is I want to make sure I net it out in the beginning, I get right to the heart of the subject, because that’s what’s important to them. And we talk about this distinction between, imagine a talker that you come and immediately out of the gate, you’re talking about solutions, you’re talking about bullet points. And I mean, a talker has all this pent-up tension. Like, what? You don’t like me? What’s going on? Freaking out. Interestingly, when you flip that equation around and you go to a controller, if you spend the first 20 minutes just building relationship with a controller, they have the same level of pent-up tension.

Derek Roberts:
Like, why are you wasting my time? Why can’t we get to the substance of this? Right? And so the gateway to business with a talker is through relationship. The gateway to relationship with a controller is first through business. If you get to a controller and you hit right on, on point bullets and they see that you’re valuing them and what they value. They’re actually some of the friendliest people around, but you. But you value the way in which they want to buy and make decisions. We talk about doers and supporters as well. Similar, but contrast, urgency and energy, so.

Katie Anderson:
Right. And being able to understand the contrast is so important. I talk about how we have to, well, maybe for just the tellers, we have to break the telling habit and learn to listen and not, you know, and to show up in a different way and to give space. And so it can be really hard and challenging to relate, to relate to that person, because you’re like, this is so opposite of me. And that’s the power of creating that influence. You know, especially even if you’re an internal change agent or, you know, or a leader, how do you talk with the other leaders, and how do you bring them on board? And how do you get people’s buy-in? And it’s, you know, I think it back to some of my, you know, just relating to the story you’re sharing, right? Or the examples you were sharing. You know, some of the challenges I had earlier in my career is because I was like so excited about all the things and I was just like presenting that with the relational aspect, and that worked with some leaders and it didn’t with others and it was like a big shock to me. Right.

Katie Anderson:
Like, what do you mean? I’m like this friendly, like, smart person with a great ideas and I want to help you.

Derek Roberts:
Right. Why don’t you like me?

Katie Anderson:
Yeah. What’s going on? So how. It’s so, you know, I’m excited. I’m going into work this leadership team on this very same thing because it’s such a critical leadership skill, not just for selling, but for any kind of influence that revolves human beings. We need to know how to relate and connect with each other so that we can get to that. Yes. And that value or align that we may actually ultimately want the same thing, but how we get there is totally different.

Derek Roberts:
Such a big and doing it in a genuine way, because so often you can get these models. And if I do it to manipulate, then ultimately I’m going to get a bad result because people can see through that. Right. But if I genuinely am there to make it a good experience, to make it an easier experience for you, even though the work is on me. Right. You might be relational and you have to bring that down and be really precision-minded and sort of shortcut, if not truncate some of that connectedness that you want in order to get the right experience for them. But if you do it in the right way and you go, you know what? I want to make this easy for you, so let me do that. I’m going to sidelines some of my natural tendencies because this is going to create a better outcome for you.

Derek Roberts:
That’s incredible. That’s invaluable to them. And you’ll get so much further and faster and they probably know how you are. Right. They’re like, wow, Katie really put it on the sideline to come and make this a great experience for me. It’s amazing.

Katie Anderson:
Yeah. And you could even do what I call labeling it. You could say to someone, I know we’re short on time and I know how much you really value first covering all the data and the facts on the situation. So I want to start there and then we can move into other things. And so acknowledging your, that you even know that person, I think is, is a way to be authentic because you’re acknowledging your own preference, but that you’re showing up to help that other person or to guide the conversation that way.

Derek Roberts:
I think that’s fabulous advice. Right? Great wisdom to call it out. And they do. They see that you really care about.

Katie Anderson:
Them and they’re very insightful. And especially when you get people on the opposite ends of the room, like the opposite poles and like, what annoys you about those other people? Okay, what biases do you have and then what strengths do they bring to conversations and ways we approach things that maybe are your blind spot. So we need all of those styles together to really work effectively. You know, I like in your book, Listen to Sell that you talk about three different types of conversations. You know, go asking and listening. You know, the first conversation is a conversation with yourself. And I love that you talk about starting with purpose. Why is that so essential? No matter if you’re in a role called sales or you’re in a role of influence within an organization, starting with purpose.

Derek Roberts:
Yeah, I appreciate you calling that out because it was really important for us in shaping this book to speak to the person first. Right. We’re such advocates of the sales professional or leaders and. But we recognize that just giving them tools, that engagement, what we call the conversation with your customer, is only a small piece of the equation. If I do the right things, but I’m not bought into it personally or I feel out of sync what we call out of congruence, then I’m probably not going to do it or I’m not going to do it as well as I could do it or achieve the things that I’m capable of achieving. We wanted to speak directly to the person, say, first of all, what are you listening to? Right? What are the conversations you’re having in your head? Because they’re powerful. Selling happens between the ears before it happens between people. You’ve got to understand, why am I showing up? What is it that I’ve connected as purpose and value? And that’s different for every individual, and they have to define that.

Derek Roberts:
But we’ve created this model called our congruence model. And these are five things that we’ve noticed in folks over 50 plus years of doing this. What is your view of selling, what your role is? Call it selling, call it leading, view of coaching, view of service. You fill in. But how do you envision what that really means? We define it as selling is a noble profession. We want to elevate that because we really believe it’s great. Well, if that’s out of skew, it’s going to impact what you do, what you do with your time, how you show up what you believe is capable? How do you view your own abilities? Do you have the skills? Do you have the tools? Do you have the knowledge? What about your own values? Here’s an interesting one. Do the values that I represent align with the values either of the organization that I represent or the leader that I serve? Am I being asked to do things that are inconsistent with who I want to be? And any of us that have ever worked for a leader who, a, didn’t value us but also pushed us into areas that we thought were a violation of what we valued, realized that, a, that’s a pretty uncomfortable, if not miserable place to be.

Derek Roberts:
And two, we probably don’t last very long there. The fourth area is commitment to the activities. Do I know what I need to do and prioritize accordingly? Do I find myself doing what we call tension-relieving activities or results-producing activities? And we all know these, right? We get in our day and we have all these challenges. And so how does purpose drive my day? Do I prioritize in such a way that I go right? I am committed to outcomes because they move me towards my objective, my purpose, the reason that I show up? Or do I do the things that feel busy that might make me feel good about time, but haven’t really moved the needle? And sometimes salespeople and other people, we find ourselves doing those things that aren’t actually productive. And if that’s not grounded in some kind of purpose, then I’ll waste a whole lot of time. I’ll feel good about it, but at the end of the day, I haven’t done anything. And then the last piece, the fifth part of the congruence model, is the view of my product or belief in my product, right. What do I really believe I’m representing is, does it provide value for the people that I’m engaging, or am I just hawking something? Right.

Derek Roberts:
Is my focus more on what I get out of that or what I provide to them? So it is very deeply rooted in kind of what we believe internally, which then drives the behaviors that follow that. And that’s a really important call out, for sure.

Katie Anderson:
I used to have a bad viewpoint of what selling was, and I realized I actually, I love selling. If it’s something, you know, I don’t like the word selling for whatever mental model, hold up on that. But persuading or sharing opportunities with people, if I really believe in them, you know, like my book or your book or others things, or because there’s value in it, but pushing something where I don’t necessarily believe in it. That’s never, that’s never been aligned with who I am. But like, yeah, if I believe there’s value, I can speak to that value, and that really, that really drives that forward. And so for same with change leaders, if there’s something that you see there’s going to be value in your organization for, like, making the change, then speak with the passion about that purpose and how it connects to our purpose as well.

Derek Roberts:
And don’t miss your piece of that equation. And so often this is what we’ve run into with people who are influencers, salespeople, whatever you want to call them, is the idea is the focal point or the item that they’re selling is. But you know what? What those people are buying is, they’re buying you as much, if not sometimes more, than whatever it is that you’re providing. You are a really strong delta in that equation. And if you own that and you go, look, my job is to make this an easy experience for you. My job is to adapt to the communication style that makes this journey from where you are to where you want to be, one that is easy and connects to value and all that. That is actually one of the greatest value components of a buy-in or buying decision. And too often, people miss that about themselves.

Derek Roberts:
And if they buy into that, they realize, wow, I actually control and bring a lot to this equation. If I’m a real student of this, if I really hone the craft of understanding my audience and connecting this and drawing out value and getting buy-in, then I’ve done my job in a really profound way, because those people are buying into you, and ultimately get a great result because of that. And that’s a really big miss. And that’s one of the things we really want to tackle here, because we’re, we’re after success of the individual, because success for the individual means ultimately success for the customer or the recipient. Right. And that’s what we’ve tried to tackle in the book.

Katie Anderson:
Yeah, and that goes for whatever you’re selling, regardless of it’s selling a thing, a service, an idea. Start with purpose and connect that purpose with the organization and the other people. It’s so much more powerful. There are two other types of conversations you talk about in the book. You know, we’ve already covered a lot of the conversations with customers or clients. The third type of conversation, which I love that you emphasize, are coaching conversations and the power of coaching to better understand ourselves and help each other elevate our skills. And so much more. And there’s some great coaching questions in the book.

Katie Anderson:
Derek, I have a question for you, though. What has been one of the most important shifts that you’ve had to make to become a more effective salesperson or yes-minded persuader? And how has coaching personally helped you to get there?

Derek Roberts:
That’s a great question. And so now you’re getting personal. Yeah. Seldom are we natural-born salespeople. Maybe some people are, but most of us grow into it. And part of the reason we have to grow into it is because we have to recognize what we bring to the equation. And so part of the journey for me is recognizing along the way that I had to be more engaged in being curious. And that was not something that was particularly natural for me early on.

Derek Roberts:
Like many people, I got into selling, and you spend a lot of time getting to know your product and your services and things like that, and you go out and you try to get people to see the value in it. But for so long, I wasn’t genuinely interested in them. And I’m kind of ashamed to say that, but there’s some truth in that. And along the journey, I had some great mentors and I had some good coaches that challenged me. One actually was my father. He was an IBM early in his, earlier in his career, and so a great model in watching him do this, but also just, he is genuinely interested and I think genuinely curious. And I really started to recognize that. And then I had a couple of people along the way that took a chance on me and said, look, here’s what you’re doing wrong, and challenged me to stop and open my ears and think about the quality of the questions that I had.

Derek Roberts:
And all of a sudden when, well, it’s really probably not all of a sudden, progressively, I began to recognize that there’s so much that is left undiscovered when we walk away from conversations. I would finish a sales conversation, I’d get back out to my car, I’d hang up the phone. Phone and I’d sort of have that, oh, I forgot to ask about this, and I didn’t know this, and I don’t know who else is involved in this and what’s the priority and how does this fit in the. But there’s so much that I wasn’t curious about and so really changed the way I started thinking about. And what it really changed for me is my level of preparation. And I had some really good coaching about how much time and attention I spend before an engagement, being prepared to be present in the engagement, because my preparation allows me not to have to think about, oh, what’s the next thing I want to ask, and how would I carry this, and how do I respond to that? No, I think about those things ahead of time. I capture them, and then I am entirely present in the discussion to hear what’s said. This is the listen to sell, to really listen to what’s being said and go, wow.

Derek Roberts:
Well, tell me more about that. What did you mean by that? The second piece of this. And I had an older gentleman along the way, and he really challenged me. He said, what are you afraid to ask? I’m like, what do you mean by that? No, no. He said, you get in sales, you’re asking questions you know the answers to or want to know the answers, right. You’re presupposing certain answers by the quality of the questions you have. What are you not asking? That might be something you don’t want to hear or might take the conversation a different way. And so I was really challenged to sort of examine what I was afraid to ask.

Derek Roberts:
And so I really have this attitude of sort of no fear questions. Like, I really want to know if you’re using a competitor and you love them and they’re doing something that we’re not capable of doing. I want to know that, and I want to know that early so that I don’t waste your time. But also I can go, oh, that’s something that I should pay attention to. I really genuinely want to know. And that was a real change for me because it challenged me to sort of set aside some of that fear of winning the sale to go, okay, if I understand this, I can be better, not just today, but in my growth all along the way. And I probably wouldn’t have gotten there on my own. Maybe it take me a long time, but I had people challenge me along the way to think about that.

Katie Anderson:
I love that. Be more curious. Ask the questions that scare you and also be prepared so you’re not thinking of that next question. One of my favorite quotes is getting ready to talk is not the same thing as listening. And so many coaches I know when I start talking about, start learning how to ask more questions, they’re so focused on what’s the next question I’m going to ask, and then you’re not even listening. So stay curious. Stay curious longer. All right, one final question for you, and there’s so much more we could talk about, and I highly recommend people check out your book listen to sell because there’s so many great nuggets in here that will expand on the topics and the points that we’ve talked about here today.

Katie Anderson:
But what’s your best advice for change leaders who are really trying to influence change and bring forward ideas, either in a leadership role or an internal consulting role, to grow their skills as persuaders and help their organization get to those solutions?

Derek Roberts:
If I had to boil it down to one thing, I would choose to concentrate my energy on preparation. Right. That’s a real hallmark of professionalism. If I want to be a professional in whatever role, a professional influencer, professional salesperson, whatever that is, be careful that I just don’t go in and sort of shoot off the hip or assume certain things. Really put some effort into preparation. Know to your audience, think about your audience, what’s important to them. Observe, ask questions, do research, take everything in and then process it as best you can through what you’ve known and observed about them, and then try to approach them in the way that is the most impactful to their journey of discovery. Not just my outcome.

Derek Roberts:
The outcomes come if we do the things right. We get the results that we want, not every time, but certainly more often. But I would challenge anyone who’s thinking about being influential is to be a student of their audience. Take time, prepare, understand, do the work in a sales context. That is, use the resources at your disposal. So much information on the Internet and on LinkedIn. I mean, you could be so prepared to business to business sales, know an industry, observe the audience that you’re influencing in your organization or your leaders up. Be curious to understand what’s important to them, and it will dramatically impact the kind of impact that you’re able to have.

Derek Roberts:
And whether it’s following our six step sales process, the aiding process, or using behavior styles or all of these things that we talk about, those are, I think, helpful tools. But you have to choose to do it. You have to want to do it in the beginning. And I think that’s where it starts.

Katie Anderson:
Well, thank you, Derek. It’s been such a powerful conversation, full of many questions and many idea exchanges, and it’s been wonderful to have you here on Chain of Learning. How can listeners get a hold of, you know, about the book and your services?

Derek Roberts:
Yeah, well, absolutely. Thank you. The book you can go to listen to sellbook.com. That’s a way to find the book. Certainly, it’s on Amazon, and Barnes and Noble. Anywhere else that the books are available, you can get it that way, but you can also, and we love to engage for folks that want to take the learning journey. The book captures some of the core concepts, but we take people through a training journey of learning the steps of communication, the steps of selling the steps of coaching through our integrity selling integrity coaching programs. You can find us there@integritysolutions.com.

Derek Roberts:
Do please reach out to me on LinkedIn. I’m happy to engage in dialogue. I love communicating with leaders influencers. I love hearing their stories and providing services. My business, Roberts Business Group, provides coaching and consulting for executive leaders organizations. We train folks. Be delighted to serve them in any way. So Kay, thank you for having me.

Derek Roberts:
An incredible delight getting to know you, spending time with you. We’ve done this, talked to each other now for several months and I very much was looking forward to today’s conversation. I hope we get to do more conversations going forward. You’re a strong leader in your own right. Your book is amazing and I enjoy that too. So I continue to encourage people to go read what you have to say as much as what we have to say. I think that’s important.

Katie Anderson:
Well, thank you Derek. And it was also wonderful to be on the mental selling podcast which is hosted by Integrity Solutions, which is how we got connected in the first place. So a real testament to how this chain of learning really grows together. So thank you so much for being on the show today and I look forward to continuing the conversation.

Derek Roberts:
My delight. Thank you. Take care.

Katie Anderson:
Being able to lead with influence, to persuade others to adopt new ways of thinking and working is all about relationships and conversations. To master these relational skills to engage with people in solution finding together. Regardless of your official role, or if you’re advocating for ideas, a product, service, or even your own position in career growth, your success hinges on becoming a yes-minded persuader. Reflect on this conversation with Derek on some of the core competencies of being a successful yes-minded persuader and salesperson that we discussed, such as how well you listen with curiosity, ask provocative questions, prepare so you can be present. Connect the “what’s in it for me?” with what leaders desire and adjust your approach to align with your client’s preferred behavioral style. Consider Derek’s own coaching feedback that propelled him to a new level of success and consider what question are you afraid to ask? And then lean into that question in one of your conversations this week and see what you and your client discovers. And if you haven’t already done so, be sure to download my free Katalyst self assessment that covers all eight competencies that you need to master to become an impactful change leader. You can go to kbjanderson.com Katalyst spelled with a “K” and also go back to listen to episode nine of this podcast to learn more about each competency.

Katie Anderson:
As Derek highlights in this book, we all need mentors and coaches to develop and grow. I encourage you too to seek out mentors and coaches formally and informally who can help you grow and achieve even greater potential. And if you need outside support for yourself or your leaders from someone like me, I’d be happy to help. I love supporting change leaders, continuous improvement practitioners and executives like you to grow into your impact and help you and your organization realize your vision for change and develop the relational and influence skills to get you there. You can learn more about my trusted advisor coaching and learning experiences on my website, kbjanderson.com and of course, the link is also in the show notes. Be sure to follow and subscribe now to Chain of Learning and share this podcast with your friends and colleagues so we can all strengthen our chain of learning together. And if you’ve enjoyed the show, please be sure to rate and review it on your favorite podcast player. Thanks for being a link in my chain of learning today. I’ll see you next time.

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