Teammates discussing with one another

Leadership Development – Having Difficult Conversations

Having Difficult Conversations

The transition many people make from individual sales professional to sales manager is often a challenging one.  One minute you’re limited to worrying about yourself and your individual sales goals, the next you are no longer focused on yourself, but on making a team better.  This switch requires a whole new set of skills that often takes a bit of development to really hone.  For this reason, Acquirent created its leadership development training series for our upcoming and future leaders.

During our most recent meeting, the group watched a video titled “How to Have Difficult Conversations” by Brendon Burchard.  This video hit home for me especially as early on in my leadership/management career, I really struggled with having “tough conversations”.  

Steps For Difficult Conversations

Brendon states that the main steps in having a difficult conversation are:


  • Don’t enter a difficult conversation emotionally – Move from a selfish mindset, to one of service.  Many times emotions fuel us to “want to be right” or want to “set him/her straight”.
  • Exhibit Humility and Kindness – Remember one never knows all sides of any story, so it is key to display humility by trying to understand all sides.  In addition, we are all humans and we should be treated everyone as we ourselves would like to be treated.
  • Begin with the end in mind – Before you begin your conversation, know where you want it to end. Use that as a road map for your conversation.
  • Try the X Y Z approach – I saw X and I felt Y, can we talk about Z?  By using specific examples of issues, experiences, feelings felt and what you want to talk about, you’ll avoid the vagueness that frequently plagues hard conversations.
  • Push beyond the natural limits of your patience – During hard conversations, patience is often very thin.  Brendon states that this is when you need patience the most.  If you follow step 1 above, this should help!

Start A Conversation

When having difficult conversations, it’s natural to want to get it over with quickly.  Brendon believes the goal of any difficult conversation should be to “start a conversation”.  I believe if you follow the steps above, not only will you start more conversations, but the ones you start will be tremendously productive and ultimately appreciated by the other party when all is said and done.

Happy Selling!