(Case Study) Meeting with Mike

I got to visit the Austin office for some training back in September and while there, I had a chance to meet with Mike (one of our inside sales account executives) and his manager. We spoke about a concern that they had over a certain piece of wording that my team uses on our calls, a certain specification that we make, and the reason I’m sharing this is because it’s a perfect, real life example of what I just mentioned.

The concern they had was about how when my team tells potential clients what to expect next, we tell them (and this is from the scripting I wrote):

“ … And since the next call with Mike’ll be a much more thorough, much more in-depth, discovery call? … he’ll reserve thirty-minutes for ya? … just so you guys can comfortably discuss all the necessary details of what you’re looking for help with … and ensure we have enough time to answer all your questions …”

You see, they felt like us mentioning the 30-minutes was basically scaring leads off, like: “they’re busythey’re on the gono one has time for a 30-minute call …” that kind of thing. I’ve even had team members of mine who felt the same thing where they felt uncomfortable mentioning the 30-minutes when explaining “What Comes Next.”

So, of course, I heard them out, and I’m willing to adjust things if there’s a better way of doing them, but, in that particular meeting with Mike and his manager? We really got down to the root of it. And I’m not going to speak ill of anyone, but … I had a team member who I had to let go because he couldn’t communicate on the level that I think is necessary to be successful on my team—and he DIRECTLY supported Mike for quite some time (he was one of the original team members I inherited).

There were plenty of leads he spoke with first and assigned out to Mike who went DARK, and it WASN’T over the specification of “30-MINUTES” for the next call; it was because he sounded like he was afraid any time he spoke with leads and his being nervous is what was really scaring them off. It was almost as if he had crashed into all the under the surface hazards out at the lake and then turned the boat over to the account exec after scaring all the passengers to death.

Meanwhile, when anyone else on my team delivers that exact same line mentioning the reservation of “30-minutes” with the right, no-big-deal, tonality (after opening the call like a pro and guiding it like an expert), by the time we get to the point where we’re telling them what to expect next, the leads consistently say things like:

“It all sounds perfect!”

“I’m excited and looking forward to speaking with Mike!” (or whoever we assigned them to work with)

“Thank you so much, this is exactly what we were hoping for!”

So the problem wasn’t the words here; it was how they were being said, how they were delivered, and Mike was getting unfairly judged & disregarded before he even had a chance to speak with the leads based on the poor Stage 1 experience.

So, after all that, I had a new team member who was kinda struggling with that same 30-minute specification, too, and she thought the same things, how it’s potentially scaring leads off. We reviewed a couple of her calls and we nailed it, immediately.

It was coming across in her tonality like it was a bad thing, like she was about to deliver some bad news. We were able to pinpoint EXACTLY where she would essentially tense up and brace herself, like she was about to deliver some bad news like:

“ … he’ll reserve 30-minutes for that, just so you guys can …”

And that nervousness, coming across in her tonality, was registering negatively in the potential client’s Dog Brain, which means that something MUST BE WRONG. And so I said to my team: “Look, I’m NOT gonna do this … but check this out … if I were to deliver the lines like:

“And since the next call with Mike’ll be a much more thorough, much more in-depth, discovery call? … he’ll reserve an afternoon for ya? … or a morning session, if you’d prefer? … just so you guys can comfortably discuss all the necessary details of what you’re looking for help with …”

They would still say that “THAT SOUNDS PERFECT” and that they’re looking forward to it.


We’re using advanced tonality to communicate in a way that instills trust and confidence and gets the leads to TAKE US SERIOUSLY because, think about it:

We all respect experts; we typically don’t sharp-shoot them with a bunch of crazy questions; we happily follow their guidance and thank them for it. We defer and let them guide us to the solution—but if we feel like we’re dealing with a novice? That’s when we start asking tons of the skeptical-type questions and throwing out smokescreen objections, and it’s because FEAR BREEDS FEAR. If something is a BIG DEAL to you, it’ll come across in your tonality and set off alarms (think of how uncomfortable some sales people are when talking about price).

Negative energy goes out and it gets picked up by the potential client’s Dog Brain and recirculated in a negative feedback loop that gets picked up by the rep’s Dog Brain and just causes things to spiral out of control.

Like, think about how … shoot, I’ll give you another example: Let’s say you need a wrist surgery. I broke my left wrist about 10 years ago now (freak accident, but then again, no one breaks a wrist on purpose). So, you break a wrist, go to the doctor, and he says something like:

“Ooh … I don’t know about this one. I’m still kinda … new? at being a doctor and everything? … and … I’ve only done this particular type of surgery … just a … coupla times now. But … my … schedule’s wide open so … we can get started on it first thing tomorrow morning if you want?”

At this point, you would be CRINGING IN HORROR. But on the other hand, if the doctor was more like this (with the right no-big-deal, authoritative-yet-cool tonality):

“You know what? This is a pretty decent break … and you’ve got the option of … casting it up for the next three or four months or so? Or I can do this surgery that … I mean, check this out … I’ve done this many times over the past few years … and … it’ll take … right about forty-five minutes or so for the procedure and your recovery time’ll be reduced down to right about five weeks. And then after that? If ya follow your physical therapist’s guidance? In right about a year from now … you won’t even be able to tell which wrist you broke.”

Seriously, which doctor would you choose to perform the surgery? The FIRST or the SECOND?

Published by Thomas Hurley

I am a father, husband, drummer, boater, marketer, communicator, animal-lover.

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