~~The Introduction: An Introduction to Introductions or Who is Dave Mattson, should I know him?~~
Dave Mattson is the CEO of Sandler Enterprise and he’s been with Sandler for 30 years. He just finished the new book: “49 Rules for Sales Leaders”. Dave Mattson thought sales people were born, and when he ended up in sales, he had to figure out that you don’t have to be born a sales leader, you can be made as a sales leader. Efficiency and proficiency is a teachable thing. After being in the training, Mattson took a role working for a Sandler trainer for two years and attended a convention where David Sandler announced that he’s looking for someone to help me take the business to the next level.
In 1988 Dave Mattson worked with and for David Sandler and became a sponge. Trained trainers, went on the road, spent time in Europe training Sandler—in his words, Dave Mattson has been successfully fired from every job in Sandler. When he told Sandler that he was going to start a franchise, Sandler reversed it and told Mattson that he was hoping that he would become a partner in the business. After 95, when David Sandler passed out, Dave Mattson bought stock continuously until he became the sole stock holder of Sandler in 2012.
Mattson has transformed the corporate brand of Sandler into a nationally recognized brand. One of the most powerful pieces of Sandler is that the trainers of the material are also sales leaders in their own business role. The Sandler content is used on a regular basis by those trainers. In the training classes people can push out of a concern that something might fail or not, but when someone pushes back against the Sandler process, they push against someone who uses the process in a daily and systematic way to where it is owned on a personal level.
Sandler sets itself apart from the competition by believing that the fundamental technical execution of its process is necessary to perform and learn how to gauge success. We do this by using roleplaying as a means to have success. By showing it as a roleplay it allows mimicking and showing so that someone who is new to the process can emulate a successfully implemented series of actions that allow them to own it on from their own personality and competencies.
~~The Conceptual: Training Sales Managers by Fire or You Mean There’s a Better Way? ~~
Usually an opening appears and the executive or owner looks around at other sales people and promotes someone out of the sales force. This forces most new and upcoming sales managers to learn by fire, much like the process of becoming a parent to your first child.
Sales managers go into the role and rely on what they have experienced through their sales manager. This practice in the job causes complications—and Dave wrote his book to help the most important role in a company who generate the revenue for the owners, the company, and the stockholders. Rules versus scripts are made to identify the difference in every organization. Sandler teaches how to think and scripts do not work in every situation, but if we come from the framework of language or math then we understand the basic rules as guiding principles. In accounting, there are guiding principles to keep the world from chaos, so these rules replicate a sort of model for sales leadership.
Typically, managers, owners, and leaders are in a position that doesn’t promote honesty from their peers with them. These rules from Dave Mattson provide a challenge that may allow for knowledge.
~~Rule: Make Sure You’re Reading Off the Same Sheet of Music by Using a Common Process~~
Every business has a language, accounting has a language, but in sales if you ask the question, “is that qualified?” in an organization of 15 people you’d get 15 different answers. The idea for having a common process emphasizes the importance of continuity and comprehension among all roles within an organization. Without a process, there is no clear way to know where something failed—if you do not define what success looks like, then even if you stumble upon success, you will not be able to replicate it. By enforcing the rules behind a common process, you engineer the ability to fine-tune until your sales process in your organization works like a machine.
If there’s not a published sales process in your office that everyone can see then you have four or five cultures attacking sales in different ways. A couple health checks could be evaluating whether or not your sales team is using your CRM in a way that supplements your sales process. At a sales meeting ask everyone to map out your sales process from the time that you prospect to the time that you’re selling additional products and services to your customer base. With enough time, you might realize that there is limited commonality between people. If that is true—how do you coach, how do you train, how do you know what it is if everyone functions on a different process?
If you use the language of commonality to say what qualified means then you can move into the process. Sales Managers understand their existence without a process based on their habits of understanding what is being told to them by their sales team.
~~Rule: Live the Process—Have it Out and Talk About It~~
You should keep the process top of mind in every meeting and conversation. In the world of Sandler we engage the different aspects of the conceptual of Sandler in order to ground what people are doing. You have to live the process and use the language of it, in order to demand that it is followed.
~~Rule: Become a Servant Leader~~
Often times sales leaders will live off hierarchy. Their title mandates understanding and follow through. But, the ultimate job of a leader, is to create self-sufficiency in your team. This means figuring out what your employees need from you to make sure that they have the highest possibility of blowing through their personal and professional goals. The mistake most sales leaders make is that they manage teams and not individuals. If you can learn to be a servant leader and figure out what your team’s members needs from you to succeed then you will help them find success and find success yourself.
This sort of leadership requires vulnerability. You can’t train by war stories or telling people what they did or didn’t do. How do you develop the vulnerability to be a servant leader? The key point is a comfort within your skin and a lack of expectation on knowing everything. The job of a leader could be connection rather than an encyclopedic knowledge for sales individuals.
~~Rule: Treat a Job Interview Like a Sales Call~~
Don’t show up and throw up. Make sure there is interest and it’s a qualified location. When you’re interviewing people don’t sell people on your job and don’t try to get them to fall in love with your industry. Ask good questions to find out if there’s a fit and if not, be willing to say no. If a sales person doesn’t work out it costs you five times the amount that you pay them in salary.
Think about how you could ask tough questions. What was your performance like? What was your top question? What was your last job like and your performance there? The best sales call some people make is on us for the job, so we need to remain skeptical in the interview process so that we don’t onboard and cost ourselves time and money.
You know early in the process whether or not someone will make it, but people hold on and out for hope. From a tactical standpoint, sometimes businesses don’t have the KPIs planned out on what it would like if someone wasn’t making it. If you don’t create a culture of expectations then it is really hard to hold someone accountable to a lack of KPIs that you didn’t set.
If we set our expectations and move those expectations onto the employee. We can do this by taking time to quantify the activities that we intend our new employees to do and we use those as factors to motivate and remain objectively distant from the individuals that we’re set to manage. We can manage certain things, but success is driven by ambition and action, and if we don’t measure what actions to take then we can’t guarantee that the causes of failures are simply luck. If we measure actions then we can quantify what success would look like and what we need to do to ensure that we are giving all individuals the keys to success in our realm of business.
~~Rule: Roleplay Creates Muscle Memory~~
We’re trying to create a new way of doing things and we’ve, as sales leaders, witnessed things that we have seen done improperly. The idea of roleplay has a bad reputation, so the best thing to do from a tactical standpoint, is the steps of doing roleplays with a very safe environment.
What not to do is: “Jim, I just watched you try to set up an agenda, I didn’t even see it, let’s roleplay, you play yourself and I’ll play the customer. Let me see you do that again.” So recapping this, you’ve just told someone they’ve done something wrong and now you’re asking them to redo what they just did that you’ve told them was incorrect. This is a lose-lose deal.
The correct way is to always roleplay small segments. 3-5 minute segments is realistic and people will remember. The sales leader should play sales person and the sales person should play the prospect. As a sales leader, you demonstrate what you want them to emulate, you’re showing, not just telling. Then validate it. If you do a roleplay, “How did you feel about the customer?” If someone feels good, then ask them, “What would you have changed?” This permission allows them to change what you said or did and lets them take ownership of what transpired. Then we affirm what they did and say, “That sounded great, why don’t you let me roleplay the customer now?” It won’t be perfect, but it’s a safe environment that creates vulnerability. As a salesleader you should have a culture of roleplaying in your company. You should have a KPI of roleplaying two, three, four times a day in your company. It is your opportunity to help people grow and become more self-sufficient. The safety of an environment of practice allows it to happen in private.
It is bothersome that many people are fine with practicing sales with their clients and don’t spend the time outside of their role to practice until it gets to the point of muscle memory. Roleplaying really helps create muscle memory.
For each individual, you should take an inventory of what frustrates you the most about your sales force. Create a quick playbook for yourself—a cold calling script, a roleplay on a referral phone call, a 30-second commercial, what’s your contract sound like, how do you overcome objections, what are your tactics to pivot when you’re not in front of a decision maker. Think of the most common things that you coach and reinforce to your team and roleplay quickly with new hires and reinforce with your team on a regular basis.
~~The Referral Phone Call: Activating Passive Business Development~~
“Hey Sam, I was on your LinkedIn account and I see these four or five people that have the title that may lead me to believe that those are the type of people that I can help based on their company and knowing what they do. Knowing what I do and the things we’ve done together, if you were me, out of any of these ten people—do you think one or two of them would stand out that I should give a call to?”
If I ask someone who do you know, their mind goes blank, but providing ten or three names and asking what the relationship looks like and looking for a specific relationship, you enable someone to actually imagine what the process looks like and whether or not the introduction is something that is actually within their scope of effort and something they could feasibly do.
But, if you were to cold call this referral, you might think about this framework as a way to engage in a conversation which would or could help them open up and become more willing to hear the potential of the future.
“Hey Jim, it’s Dave over at Sandler, how are ya?”
“Doing okay Dave, what’s this about?”
“Jim, I was afraid of that, my name may not sound familiar. Did Sam Nickelfritz have the opportunity to tell you I was gonna to call?”
“Ya know I…if he did I’ve forgotten and I’m kind of busy I could have.”
“Yeah, you probably know Jim as much as I do, so who knows. Can I do this, since we both know Sam? Can I take maybe 30 seconds and I’ll tell you what we were talking about and why he thought it was a good reason to call you? And you can decide after that period of time whether it makes any sense for us to continue the conversation? Cause it may not Jim, in fairness, what we did for him may not be applicable for your business, even though he thought it was?”