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David Mattson - The Road to Excellence

176: Dave Mattson: I’m forever grateful for my road to excellence

Dave Mattson Show Notes Page

Dave Mattson had the opportunity to buy into an established business but was unable to secure the funding he needed. After being rejected by several bankers and taking a hit to his self-esteem, he thought all was lost. But without his knowledge, Dave’s parents put everything they had on the line for him.

Dave Mattson grew up in Simsbury, Connecticut, born into a single-income family as the eldest of four boys.  The boys were raised to believe that they could have anything their hearts desired – as long as they paid for it.

As a result, Dave grew up as a worker – shoveling snow in the winter; delivering papers and mowing lawns in the summer.  As he grew older, he hired on to pick tobacco, since that was the only job he could find that 14-year-olds could legally be hired for.

In high school Dave worked three jobs and eventually started his own painting company, which he managed for 6 years and eventually sold when he graduated from the University of Connecticut.

During this period of his life, Dave learned the value of hard work, how to deal with people from all backgrounds, the importance of talking about and dealing with money, and the trials and tribulations of being an entrepreneur.

Dave has taken this experience and learned how to connect the dots in a conversation, and developed the ability to relate the unrelated.  As an introvert, he doesn’t have the need to dominate conversations, choosing instead to listen more than he speaks. This has served him well in both management and selling.

He brought his extraordinary work ethic to Sandler. He is known as an over-preparer, and has developed a knack for understanding people, and knowing what they need to become successful.  Over the years, he has learned that people love to edit, not create – so he shows up with ideas and encourages others to beat them up and make them better, while simultaneously gaining buy-in.

Mattson joined Sandler in 1988, learning under his mentor and company founder, Dave Sandler.  Since that time, he has authored several programs, started the firm’s global consulting and training group, created its national branding program, and risen from COO, to partner, to owner of Sandler (2012).  He has expanded Sandler into 31 countries, with over 250 training centers.

He tries to impart to everyone he meets that hard work pays off, it’s important to be transparent in every facet of your life, and the key to success to getting people to work with you, and not for you.

Dave is the author of The Road to Excellence: 6 Leadership Strategies to Build a Bulletproof Business and currently resides in Phoenix, Maryland (a suburb of Baltimore), with his wife and their five children.  He was a founding member of Susie’s Cause, in support of the fight against colon cancer, and enjoys fishing, time at the beach, and travelling with his family.

Tweetable Quotes and Mentions

Listen to @Dave_Mattson to get over the hump on the @FastLeaderShow Click to Tweet 

“You can’t live on yesterday’s successes.” -Dave Mattson Click to Tweet  

“You’ve got to look forward but learn from the past.” -Dave Mattson Click to Tweet 

“You cannot be impatient, sit back for a second and look at the forest and not the trees.” -Dave Mattson Click to Tweet 

“Be objective and question yourself at all times.” -Dave Mattson Click to Tweet 

“Always figure out how to become better.” -Dave Mattson Click to Tweet 

“Technique by itself will only get you so far.” -Dave Mattson Click to Tweet 

“People who work for us want to be clear on the expectations given to them.” -Dave Mattson Click to Tweet 

“If you’re going to lead, lead with what you consider to be excellent.” -Dave Mattson Click to Tweet 

“We have to really coach and train our people.” -Dave Mattson Click to Tweet 

“Coaching really helps people become self-sufficient and self-aware.” -Dave Mattson Click to Tweet 

“People react to those that brought a plan.” -Dave Mattson Click to Tweet 

“The way people see themselves conceptually is directly proportioned to how they operate in their role.” -Dave Mattson Click to Tweet 

“You have to look at yourself with a healthy self-esteem, otherwise your roles will self-adjust.” -Dave Mattson Click to Tweet 

“I had to become a process animal to survive.” -Dave Mattson Click to Tweet 

“I look at process as a playbook, you do it naturally.” -Dave Mattson Click to Tweet 

“87% percent of executives can retire this year.” -Dave Mattson Click to Tweet 

“If you’re not going to change, you’re going to get killed.” -Dave Mattson Click to Tweet 

Hump to Get Over

Dave Mattson had the opportunity to buy into an established business but was unable to secure the funding he needed. After being rejected by several bankers and taking a hit to his self-esteem, he thought all was lost. But without his knowledge, Dave’s parents put everything they had on the line for him.

Advice for others

Confidence and conviction

Holding him back from being an even better leader

Continually looking backwards. It’s holding us back a little more than I think it should.

Best Leadership Advice

Inclusion. Make sure that people are clear, their on-board and you give them the ability to succeed.

Secret to Success

I’m always worried.

Best tools that helps in Business or Life

I create playbooks for everything we do.

Recommended Reading

The Road to Excellence: 6 Leadership Strategies to Build a Bulletproof Business

You Can’t Teach a Kid to Ride a Bike at a Seminar, 2nd Edition: Sandler Training’s 7-Step System for Successful Selling

Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, Revised Edition

Contacting David Mattson

Email: dmattson[@]sandler.com

website: https://www.sandler.com/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/dave-mattson-99538612/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Dave_Mattson

Resources and Show Mentions

Call Center Coach

An Even Better Place to Work

 

Show Transcript: 

Click to access edited transcript

176: Dave Mattson: I’m forever grateful for my road to excellence

 

Intro: Welcome to the Fast Leader Podcast, where we explore convenient yet effective shortcuts that will help you get ahead and move forward faster by becoming a better leader. And now here’s your host, customer and employee engagement expert and certified emotional intelligence practitioner, Jim Rembach.

 

Call center coach develops and unites the next generation of call center leaders. Through our e-learning and community individuals gain knowledge and skills in the six core competencies that is the blueprint that develops high-performing call center leaders. Successful supervisors do not just happen so go to callcentercoach.com to learn more about enrollment and download your copy of the Supervisor Success Path e-book now.

 

Jim Rembach:   Okay, Fast Leader legion today I’m excited because I have somebody on the show today who it’s really going to help us move in the right direction faster. Dave Mattson grew up in Simsbury, Connecticut born into a single income family as the eldest of four boys. The boys were raised to believe that they could have anything their heart’s desire as long as they paid for it. As a result Dave grew up as a worker shoveling snow in the winter delivering papers and mowing lawns in the summer. As he grew older he hired on to pick tobacco since that was the only job that any fourteen-year-old could legally be hired for. In high school Dave worked three jobs and eventually started his own painting company which he managed for six years and eventually sold. 

 

When he graduated from the University of Connecticut during his period of life they’ve learned the value of hard work, how to deal with people from all backgrounds, the importance of talking about and dealing with money and the trials and tribulations of being an entrepreneur. Dave has taken this experience and learned how to connect the dots in a conversation and develop the ability to relate the unrelated. As an introvert he doesn’t have the need to dominate conversations choosing instead to listen more than he speaks this has served him well in both management and selling. He brought his extraordinary work ethic to Sandler he is known as an over prepare and has developed a knack for understanding people and knowing what they need to become successful. 

 

Over the years he has learned that people love to edit not create so he shows up with ideas and encourages others to beat them up and make them better while simultaneously gaining buy-in. Mattson joined Sandler in 1988 learning under his mentor and company founder David Sandler since that time he has authored several programs started the firm’s global consulting and training company created its national branding program and risen from CEO o to partner to owner of Sandler in 2012. He has expanded Sandler into 31 countries and over 250 training centers. He tries to impart to everyone he meets that hard work pays off it’s important to be transparent in every facet of your life and the key to success is getting people to work with you not for you.  Dave currently resides in Phoenix, Maryland a suburb of Baltimore with his wife and their five children. He was a founding member of Susie’s Cause in supporting the fight against colon cancer and enjoys fishing time at the beach and traveling with his family. Dave Mattson are you ready to help us get over the hump?

 

Dave Mattson:     Absolutely, thanks for having me. 

 

Jim Rembach:   I’m glad you’re here. Now, I’ve given my legion a little bit about you but can you tell us what your current passion is so that we can get to know you even better. 

 

Dave Mattson:     Sure. My current passion outside of work is fly-fishing. I’ve always loved to fly fish I can do it when I want don’t necessarily need a big crowd so it’s one of those things where I can make a decision, hey let’s go. To be honest it’s one of those things where I know there’s always fish there and I’m the variable I’m the one to see they’re not using the right fly not doing the right float not doing this there’s so many variables much like golf that you’ve got to get everything just right to get it done and you’re never great at it it’s so you’re always constantly striving to become better and better at that particular sport, so that’s what I enjoy. 

 

Jim Rembach:   Listening to you say that and also having the opportunity to look over your book, The Road to Excellence Six Leadership Strategies to Build a Bulletproof Business, I start seeing a lot of similarities in what you just talked about on the fly-fishing puzzle the fly-fishing problem-solving when it comes to building a business finding the right thing not being aware of where the fish are it’s a whole lot of guessing and testing and validating and I mean a whole lot of things that are going on there. 

 

Dave Mattson:     That’s true if you think about both of them the similarities for me are you can go into a new place you can’t live on yesterday’s successes because that was at a different spot a different time so you’ve got to look forward but learn from the past. You also cannot be impatient you have to figure out what’s going on sit back for a second look at the forest not the trees and say, okay what is going on here? And really be objective and question yourself at all times which is what I do anyways I’m always questioning myself which has gotten me this far and I’m not really going to change that. But I think when it comes to your point when it comes to fishing and that I think it is true I think we always have to always figure out how to become better always know that’s something in my control that it’s me I can’t do that what was in the environment and what was me it’s this what can I do so I step up and don’t play the victim and take control and figure out what I can do with the environment that I’ve been given. 

 

Jim Rembach:   I also started thinking about—okay, so Sandler is primarily known for sales selling. I’ve had Josh Seibert on the show Brian Sullivan on the show you on the show and however you guys talk so much more about the leadership aspect of the business more so than you talk about the actual sales outcome, why is that? 

 

Dave Mattson:     Obviously, we are known for sales tactics. People say Sandler they’ll say, Oh awesome, awesome sales training, I think when it comes to the leadership obviously that’s the topic of the new book, but I also think that you have to control yourself. Even if you want to be a professional salesperson and you want to go above and beyond the pack you want to be in that top 20% you’ve got three areas that you need to focus in on which is attitudes, behaviors and technique. Technique’s Sandler awesome at but technique by itself is only going to get you so far if you want to sustain that upward hockey stick growth pattern you’ve got to have the mindset to get yourself there where you’re not fear fearing success you’re not fearing failure you’ve got the confidence and conviction and then you really had to become a behaviorist. I think all that self-leadership stuff you incorporated is really important if you’re going to excel whether it’s in sales leadership, leadership and or sales in general so I think they’re all combined.

 

Jim Rembach:   That’s a good point. When you start talking about the roadmap to organizational excellence you talked about six P’s and I don’t really want to go into those on the show people can get the book and get into those because there’s a couple other points of this book that I really want to dig a little bit deeper into. Just for sake of mentioning the six PS are planning, positions, people, processes, perform matrix and passion, however, you talk about an excellence process to me that really stood out and you talked about that you must set your own measurable performance benchmarks and find a way to hold yourself accountable for attaining them and then not doing so is a major blind spot you talked a lot about blind spots in the book and that essentially leads up to having the six piece put in place so that you can become more clear and have a clearer roadway, know where you’re going. When you start talking about the excellence process one of the things that kind of has always bothered me is the difference between accountability and ownership and I think too many people want to hold other people accountable in a negative context instead of saying, you know what? I want you to own this and how can I enable you to own it? So in the excellence process insight, is that born out of that or did it come from somewhere else? 

 

Dave Mattson:     Well, I think to your point one, I think that we as leaders we want a culture of accountability and the people who work for us want to be able to be clear on the expectations given to them they want to know absolutely what are my guardrails so I can operate within? What do I have the right to make decisions on? And what can 

I—and that clarity to be honest Jim normally doesn’t exist. In my mind I’ve given it to you you’re sitting back not wondering, hey, can I move forward as if you don’t want to pop your head up too high because maybe you get whacked depending on the company culture. So there’s a million things to this, mutual mystification, that are going on. But if I set back one more step because you’ve said two things is I have to be congruent myself. For me to say you should be on time you should be doing this and I’m showing up a half hour late to meetings I’ve missed most of my deadlines but because on the owner I get a get out of jail card free that is garbage that’s like telling your kids not to smoke because that’s what you believe in and you’re in your third cigar at dinner it’s just incongruent. 

Jim Rembach:   That’s so true especially with the generation that we have today they’ve got to see it in you before they try to instill a pin in themselves.

 

Dave Mattson:    Absolutely. You’re going to lead with what you consider to be excellent not what you say. 

 

Jim Rembach:   Another thing that I really liked is you talked about the key attributes of effective performance that leads into that whole ownership and I want you to move things forward and I think there’s a whole lot of these blind-spot things in here as far as avoiding them. As you said tied to the overall vision and organization tied to the top three key priorities established for every function in the organization documented in job description that goes on and on there’s several things when people find the book that I think are going to be elements that kind of what you just said a moment ago. People really don’t know what the expectation is and they don’t know the performance outcome that has to be in place in order for that success to occur.

 

Dave Mattson:    Right. I think one of the best things that David Sandler, and I had the honor to work with him very closely from 1988 when I came to home office to 1995 when he had passed, he really managed me using three piece which is potency, protection, permission. He gave me permission to act as if, once I understood the guardrails that I could operate with it, David—I give you permission to just do your thing you may make some bad decisions I get all that but I will protect you on the decisions that you make within the guardrails and I will protect you and when you need to come tell me the truth when we’re off track. Most people they’re so afraid they don’t say anything they spend half their life hiding the mess they could have just said, hey David here’s the situation what should I be doing I think I’m way over my head on this one. That open relationship has now really carried itself to what we teach and how we run the business. 

 

When he did that to me I believe that I took projects and initiatives that he gave me that I probably would have taken it to a six and say, okay now David Sandler here it is you take it over the finish line, no way I blew. If he expected a hundred I give it back to him at one hundred twenty because I knew exactly what was supposed to have been done I validate and what he wanted me to do I set it back to him made sure I understood it I created a road map I had benchmarks I checked along the way and it was empowering and I really just stepped up to the plate. Now we had other people, Jim, that didn’t step up to the plate they were still operating on—I don’t know what to do, hesitancy, no confidence no conviction but they don’t own the company now so it just really offered me a chance just step it up and I always, always remember that and that’s what we do now, 

 

Jim Rembach:   I think what you just described right there to me is a great framework for people who you want to become high performers oftentimes they may not even see themselves but giving them that type of framework and autonomy could really be a key differentiator. I think that’s lacking in a lot of organizations today we see across the board drops in creative thinking drops in innovation drops in R&D ROI it’s just going on and on and on because that framework is lacking, 

 

Dave Mattson:   Absolutely. I think if we even go further than that once we’ve—let’s take any initiative that an owner or a leader says, hey this is where we’re going, how many times do they really rally the troops and over-communicate that? I know most of the clients that I’ll have will send out a memo and they’ll do a company meeting, this is where we’re headed but Jim you and I know. For me I do videos internally this is all internal stuff I’ll do videos I do town hall meetings I’ll send podcasts I’ve got people in the field who are doing what I want them to do and I use them as examples because we’ve got so many different people in the workforce I have to send that message through so many different modalities and because it takes me 18 months to socialize an idea I think most leaders stop around a month or two and say, well they got it. What do you want me to do? I sent the memo everyone understands it but that’s a huge mistake. I think if I tie it back to allowing me to be self-sufficient which is the ultimate goal of a leader, I think that’s true as well when you give me a project if I don’t know the guardrails and I don’t know what I’m able to do. I think what happens is as a leader we think about this 24/7 for 30 days. I have a 15-minute conversation with you and I think that you’re on the same page as I am you’re not you’re in the same page I was 29 days ago I’m so far ahead of you but I forget that and that’s really a big mistake. 

 

Jim Rembach:       That’s the big curse of knowledge that typically he talk about. 

 

Dave Mattson:     It is.

 

Jim Rembach:       So another thing that I really liked in the book is you talk about the ten commandments of acceleration for business leaders and I would like to spend a moment or two on these  ten and I don’t want to read them all but if you start talking about these ten when you start talking about things that are like critical, I tell my kids about the ten commandments honor thy father and mother for me that’s one of the most important, which one of these ten do you think really stands out as something that’s key.

 

Dave Mattson:     It’s different for lots of different groups. I have to say, you know your audience better, if you had to pick one for the leaders that are in your audience, what’s one pops out for you? Because I just interested in it because it’s so different depending on where you are in the world and where you are in your business. What do you think pops out? 

 

Jim Rembach:       Gosh, there’s really a couple. For me, I think mentoring and coaching others to create passion in themselves is really something that is a huge gap.

 

Dave Mattson:     I do too. Listen, coaching is one of those things where you should spend 45percent of your time in a daily function. We have four hats on any leader we’re switching these hats a million times during the day. I’ve got a supervision hat, I’ve got a coaching hat, I’ve got a training hat, I have a mentoring hat. Most of us live in supervision because we think that’s what management is and maybe that’s what management was to you and that’s the other problem leaders aren’t really trained. Sales leadership as an example is the least trained group of people in our company which is shocking because they’re required to bring in the revenue for our company, nothing happens unless sales leadership does their job they are responsible for a hundred percent of that revenue we don’t train them. 

 

What typically happens is, Jim, I’m looking around my sales manager disappears and I say, Oh, my gosh, I’m going to have to do their job and my job this is insane and so I look for my top stud or stud at and I say, do you know what? I’ve had my eye in you, Jim, I’ve always said that you’re the future leader I’d like you to run this group now and just keep doing what you do, Jim, I want you just to replicate yourself and life will be good for all of us and I talked you into this position and then I say, thank goodness now Jim’s off and running. Well, that’s not really what happens we really have to coach and train our people. Most people think coaching is, you coming to me and say, Hey, Dave, what should I do? Jim do this, this, this and this. Okay, well, that doesn’t necessarily work. First of all, you only do five percent of what I said and if it goes well you take credit it goes poorly it’s my fault. So I think coaching really helps people become self-sufficient, self-aware and that’s not me telling you something it’s you self-discovering therefore you will do it again on your own in the future. You know all the sayings, teach them how to fish all that stuff. 

 

But I think the aha moments that come from coaching when you act like a doctor and ask the right questions and let people self- discover but with a formula, I think that’s really special. We’ve gotten ten sales behaviors that I think any sales person should be able to do and those things regardless—and Jim for anyone that’s listening it’s really starts up on account development and goes all the way through the sales process all the way to account management and you can figure that out for any one of the listeners businesses. But if you’re coaching to something specific and asking you to rate yourself on each of those areas that I think are important for you to become great at in my business and because if you think you’re a three and I think you’re a three we should work on that if I think you’re a three and you’re nine on, let’s say account development we’ve got a disconnect, so we should be talking about that. 

 

And then the other thing is to tie in, what happens if we improve? So let’s use account development, if you and I both agree that you’re a three out of ten in that area and I say Jim what happens if we got you to seven because I noticed you want to go from a three to a seven. Dave, here’s what would happen, I’ve got X amount of people in my funnel, X amount of people who would come up back end. And I said, which would mean X amount of commission for me which then I can spend money on my kid’s education and now I’ve tied in my corporate goal to your goal which is a huge blind spot and then we say, okay, let’s get working on this thing. And now you’re motivated versus me picking—Jim, you’re no good at account development let’s talk about that today, and now here comes the PowerPoint with the death march. That’s not really what should happen but it’s what does happen.

 

Jim Rembach:   I think you just explained the huge difference between what is a good coach and an effective coach and what isn’t.

 

Dave Mattson:     Absolutely.

 

Jim Rembach:   Okay, Looking through the book going through and talking about all these blind spots and the discussion that we had before we even got on the show, I there’s a lot of quotes that actually drive you and help you point north. Is there one or two of those that you can share? 

 

Dave Mattson:     The quotes that I like, let’s see—if you don’t have a plan by default you’ll fall into somebody else’s plan. I really do believe that that was an Eden to me by Sandler. He would always say, David what’s your plan? And I was always reactive I would come and just hear what you had to say and then react off of that. I learned something very interesting as he was molding me into becoming a leader. He said, watch what happens when people show up with a plan, documents, like here’s how I think we should attack it. What I realized is people react to those who brought a plan. It’s not that hey, we’re going to put your stuff away we react to it we edit it we make it better we socialize it and from that day forward to say that’s kind of cool. So, if you show up with your idea first thing you should realize is 90% of the population shows up with nothing. So, your idea by default is something that we’re going to be working on which is huge as a leader you should always realize that. 

 

And the second thing is, if I don’t have a plan on where we want to go as a leader what we’d like to do by default I’m going to follow somebody else’s and it could be a VP of Sales it could be this, I’m not saying it’s bad because you want other people to create the plan of action as well I get all that, but from an organizational standpoint I think that that is huge. The other quote for me is: Who you R is not who you I, and R stands for role, Jim, I stands for identity. I think people get confused, as a human I have a million, I’m a parent, I’m a brother, I’m a son, I’m a husband, I fly fish we talked about that, I’m an owner, and the list of things that I do goes on as you get older that list just expands. I is identity and so what that means is, I may have all these roles—like even today my role I’m on a podcast role I’m the brand of Sandler. I’m going to go downstairs and I’ve got 16 other different roles so there’s a million things going on. But if I do poorly in one of them, which is bound to happen I mean let’s face it, so let’s say that I did a bad job today parenting I made a mistake once again so what happens, does that mean I’m a complete failure in all the other things that I’m doing? No, it doesn’t. It just means that for that particular role I was no good at it today and I need to improve. That sounds so simple but think about a salesperson on our team they get rejected at nine o’clock do they just write that off and say, you know what? That’s one of 30 and a thing, I’ve learned from that I’m moving on. Or do they—oh, no, that was my biggest account here we go I’m getting killed I hate this, my pricing models no good I got no support and here comes the blame game and they absolutely get sucked down. What happens as you know is the way people see themselves conceptually is directly proportionate to how they operate in their role. And that’s why from a sales perspective and an owner perspective you really do need to be an I10 ten, which is self-concept. You may not going to make the right decisions all the time I get it but you have to look at yourself with a healthy self-esteem otherwise your roles will self-adjust. 

 

Let’s do social, pick somebody, Mike Tyson he was an R10 he was a machine at his day, a machine, people were frightened. And then what happens? He imploded because he didn’t see his self-concept as an R10. He was a kid that shouldn’t have made it that far and he’d look at me, my gosh, and all of a sudden he went from 200 million down to bankrupt because he just self-adjusted. You can look at movie star after movie star it happens all the time but it doesn’t just happen in sports and in Hollywood it happens just—look down the hallway people are adjusting all the time. As a leader you’ve had to say to yourself, that person should be operating at 80% or higher I mean they have it what’s going on? But they have other issues. So they’re looking at failure and success from a very myopic standpoint you really have to step back and say, look I’ve got a million things going on it goes up and down but here’s how I see myself. Conceptually I am bulletproof, I’m going to learn to muse, I’m arrogant not arrogant and so I think that’s the two that stick out for me.

 

Jim Rembach:   Gosh! As you were talking I started thinking so much about absent like you were talking about the ebbs and flows and why it’s so important to have somebody as the good coach, and they’re hard to find, I have that coach in order to help your downs cycles be as short as they possibly can because they’re going to happen, they’re going to happen. Okay, talking about down cycles and being able to move up and get over them we talked about getting over a humps on the show. You shared with me a couple stories of times that you had to get over the hump and we kind of honed in on one because it had a lot of dynamics associated with it both personal and professional. Can you please share us that time when you’ve had to get over the hump? 

 

Dave Mattson:     Sure. For me, I think there’s two major speed bumps in my life. Of course there’s million of them, but the ones that really shaped me more than others the first one was, I’ve been in Sandler for three years maybe four and David and I got along very well I was his protégé I was doing all the things I hit all the benchmarks he asked me to be his partner–fast forward here—and he said: “David, here’s what it’s going to buy 25% of the company we’d like to have you part of the business.” Now, I’m the only non-family member in the business so here we go. I go and try to find money, well, my first aha was hey, Sandler, look at Sandler the bankers should just look at it and give me the money this is like a no-brainer. I don’t understand, but here they’re looking at me as a 28-year old saying, no, I don’t think so. First of all you don’t know a hundred percent so we have no collateral, blah, blah, blah and I went from banker to banker to banker and got killed. Now, think about where I was I was a stud looking for money I was feeling like a dud pretty quickly, we’re going back to our previous conversation, by itself this team is like in the toilet, and so what do I do? And I happen to just mention something at a Thanksgiving thing I said, Yeah, this is really hard I thought this was going to be simple, now months into it I’m trying to do my job I’ve got a million little fear doubt worry things picking up my brain and my parents without my knowledge put up their homes, as they had a vacation home and a primary home and they put their retirement money on the line as a collateral for the bank above and beyond what I had to get me the loan to buy Sandler and so that was a huge hump. I would have never been here if it wasn’t for that I didn’t ask them and to be honest Jim if my kids asked me to put everything on the line I’m not sure I would do it. Not that I don’t love them I don’t know why they did that and I’m forever grateful they saw in me I guess that, hey I had that. 

 

So that was one and if I fast forward the same type of thing popped up, I’m running the business now I’m the VP of Sales I only owned 25% I’m running national accounts so I’m zipping around closing big deals and I found myself without much discussion as a single parent, boom, like overnight, I have a three year old and a six year old. I was a single parent trying to figure out—wait a minute now, first, that I actually caused this problem because I was too focused on the business side that I caused, which I would deny of course because that’s just protection which sure is a lie. Then I say well, what am I going to do? Because the business can’t survive without me, oh, my gosh, all roads lead to David. But you know what happened? That was the biggest aha moment that I had actually because I realized that I had to scale the business and all roads could not leave to me because that was a huge mistake. It was great for my ego when I was juggling all these balls and I was doing it successfully but the fact of the matter is you can’t triple your business under that model. And so that happened and I just became a process animal because there’s not enough hours in the day and what I had to do is I learn how to recipe everything. 

 

This is what I’m doing Tuesdays and I just categorized and became an absolute process animal to survive and that has really gone throughout the whole business. And so I look at younger people who step up and want to do X Y & Z and I see myself in them, I see people struggling around but on the other side though, Jim, when people say—well, I’ve got so many things going on I can’t do that. Well, are you not willing or you’re not able? It’s your choice, I’m not forcing you to do one or the other but you’re going to have to figure out—I don’t want you to sacrifice your family for sure because that’s super important at the same time you got to figure out and have that work-life balance but still get your stuff done because it’s not unreasonable you have to become process oriented or at least some system for yourself for you to survive and for you to really thrive that’s the bottom line. Those are two I think that pop out for me. 

 

Going back to the whole –would I do it as a parent? That’s a great question. I’m not there yet and I guess we’ll see what happens. As far the whole process thing I think you’re so dead on in a lot of different ways. And also that process thing—well, let me say, I have a good friend of mine who works with a lot of organizations in a legacy type of format meaning you have owner—this isn’t like millions of people right now have businesses, small businesses small medium-sized businesses, that they have no family to leave it to and so for them they have to look at putting their businesses up for sale. For many of these organizations they’ve operated for so long in a format where it’s just like well—hey, so-and-so knows how to do that. They haven’t been able to scale and they now can’t sell the business because people look at it and they’re like—where’s your processes? How can anybody step in and be able to take over and do this particular job? The typical human reaction is, well I’m protecting my space and my territory and you can’t allow that to happen because it’s a detriment to that individual because they’re not developing other people they’re not developing the business and then overall the business as a whole. 

 

 It’s not even true it’s a fantasy people freaked out process—I’m not a process person, oh I’m going to spend 18 hours—I don’t look at process as compliance I look at process as a playbook. You do it naturally you always want to figure out what’s the best way to do X and it could be the best way to remote there on could be the best way to get to work we all do it we do it all day long. How do we get better at this? How do we do this? We create these play books mentally for ourselves on everything that we do but when you ask people to write it down, oh, wait a minute you’re forcing me micromanagement this is not the culture that I want, I think it’s foolish. I think you can have both I don’t look at it as a compliance issue I look at it as a self-survival thrive issue because to your point when you such-and-such can do it. Well, guess what 87 percent of executives can retire this year not saying they are but they can. And so when such-and-such can do it well such-and-such isn’t here anymore they just left so what am I doing? There is no such-and-such there’s a gaping hole. Regardless of its process or a client relationship or anything I go through my company and say, if that person left tomorrow what would I be doing? How am I reacting versus getting—Dave, we appreciate the last 20 years we’ve decided to move on. What? And now I’m scrambling, so that’s just how I look at it.

 

Jim Rembach:   That’s a great point. I also refer to as it the hit by bus theory. 

 

Dave Mattson:     Exactly. It’s realistic. 

 

 Jim Rembach:   We’ve talked about a lot of things going on. We’ve talked about the fly-fishing, talked about building the business, you’ve got the book—there’s a whole lot of things that are happening, but if you were to talk about one goal that you have, what would that one goal be?

 

Dave Mattson:     Transform our company. We are a 50-year old company we’ve won tons of awards we’re primarily facilitator left we’ve (inaudible 31:34) tone our 65 training centers so people come to us or we go to you. I have five kids Jim, they’re not learning the way that I’m learning the way that you’re learning. So, my personal goal is to really shift the business to take care of different groups. I consume content differently and I have to make sure that the kids that are coming up, like my children who are in college and out, the new people in the workforce consume content differently the Millennials are consuming content differently so for us to shift it’s been huge especially when I’m 54 years old.

 

If you put your content online there’s no way people are going to pay you for it then you’ve just shot yourself in the foot, what are you doing? But YouTube changed everything. The younger generation has grown up in a completely different environment I know I sound like my parent, because I’m sure they said the same thing about us, but if you’re not going to change you’re going to get killed and so for us we have shifted everything over to platforms where people can access thousands of podcasts and videos we’ve got tools now and so it’s really done a lot of things for us on the unattended consequences that really catapulted us forward in a lot of different ways. The other goal which is tied in, Jim, we were really bad at tracking our clients. 

 

We have millions of X clients if I walk through an airport the Sandler shirt on people will yell Sandler terms. They don’t know who I am so they just love this stuff but I don’t know who any of them are and that is really—if you look at the other technology companies that are thriving whether you look at LinkedIn or Salesforce, they know who their ecosystem is and they nurture their ecosystem and we just historically never did that. We are scrambling to go find who they are because I also know that the people that we train fifteen years ago they’re all leadership roles they all love us. And so that’s really one of the goals is to get ourselves into a new place in time and then go find our past client base through technology because I don’t know who they are and get them back into our ecosystem.

 

Jim Rembach:   And the Fast Leader Legion wishes you the very best. Now before we move on let’s get a quick word from our sponsor. 

 

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Jim Rembach:     Alright, here we go Fast Leader legion it’s time for the Hump Day Hoedown. Okay, Dave, the Hump Day Hoedown is a part of our show where you give us good insights fast. I’m going to ask you several questions and your job is to give us a robust yet rapid responses that are going to help us move onward and upward faster. Dave Mattson, are you ready to hoedown?

 

Dave Mattson:  Of course.   

 

Jim Rembach:   Alright. What do you think is holding you back from being an even better leader today?

 

Dave Mattson:  I think continually looking backwards, Jim, and making sure that everybody is okay for the ride moving forward so I spend a lot of time building that bridge. I think that probably holds us back as a company a little more than it should but I there’s this equal—just give pull thing, I don’t know what’s the best way to do it so, if I have to look back I’d say probably do a lot more pulling. 

 

Jim Rembach:   What is the best leadership advice do you have ever received?

 

Dave Mattson: The best leadership advice is inclusion. Don’t breach your own press and really make sure that the people are clear they’re on board and you give them the ability to succeed. 

 

Jim Rembach:   What is one of your secrets that you believe contributes to your success?

 

Dave Mattson. I’m always worried. To me I’m always looking for the reason why this isn’t going to work and then I’m pleasantly surprised when it doesn’t versus I’ve over–I’ve said it’s going to work and I haven’t really done that. So I think If I’m constantly thinking about things I’m constantly worried—entrepreneurial horror—you’ll have it that really what’s helped me get this far and I’ve watched a lot of people who have left that mentality get killed. 

 

Jim Rembach:   What do you feel is one of your best tools that helps you lead in business or life?

 

Jim Knight:   Play book. I create play books for everything that we do which is capturing best practices and that way I can replicate it for a lot of things that I don’t do all the time, let say, but also I can give that playbook to my staff and they can increase their efficiency very, very quickly. 

 

Jim Rembach:      What would be one book that you’d recommend to our listeners, it could be from any genre, and of course, we’re going to put a link to The Road to Excellence on our show notes page as well. 

 

Dave Mattson:     The book that that changed my life was, “You Can’t Teach a Kid How to Ride a Bike at Summer that was just a killer for me. Because it was written not in a sales environment but really in a social environment and then it bridged over to a sales environment. I also, The Power of Influence by Robert CalDini, I thought that was an awesome book as well, there’s a million of them there but I tend to gravitate towards the psychological portion of what people do and why they do it because I can attribute that to anything that I do.

 

Jim Rembach:   Okay, Fast Leader legion you can find links to that and other bonus information from today’s show by going to fastleader.net/DavidMattson—we’re going to do David Mattson for his show notes page. Okay, Dave this is my last Hump day hoedown question: Imagine you were given the opportunity to go back to the age of 25 and you’ve been given the opportunity to take the knowledge and skills that you have now back with you but you can’t take everything back you can only choose one. What skill or piece of knowledge would you take back with you and why?

 

Dave Mattson:     I think I would take back confidence and conviction. I think the lessons is important as you learn them if you’re willing to keep an open mind. I think those lessons would come even if I was 25 but I think the confidence and conviction that you have at 50, if I could bring that back at 25 then I would accelerate all my successes and failures. But I also wouldn’t second guess—I would have could have should have—that would have disappeared because as you become more and more comfortable in your skin whenever that is for you I think if I could have that at 25, even though I was 25 going on 40 to be honest I think that would probably be the best thing that I could take back in time.

 

Jim Rembach:   Dave, it was an honor to spend time with you today can you please share with the Fast Leader legion how they can connect with you?

 

Dave Mattson:     Sure, they can go to sandler.com, I tell you what Jim, they could go to sandler.com find a local training center and just call up and crash a class. Crash a class go see what you love whether it’s management or sales sit in me and just say, hey we listen to Dave and Jim and so they’re there. You can go to sandler.com or dmattson@sandler.com

 

Jim Rembach:   Dave Mattson, thank you for sharing your knowledge and wisdom the Fast Leader legion honors you and thanks you for helping us get over the hump. Woot! Woot! 

 

Thank you for joining me on the Fast Leader show today. For recaps, links from every show, special offers and access to download and subscribe, if you haven’t already. Head on over the fastleader.net so we can help you move onward and upward faster. 

 

END OF AUDIO 

 

084: Brian Sullivan: They all had their political agendas

Brian Sullivan Show Notes

Brian Sullivan worked for an organization that would bring together an executive committee to make decisions on business they wanted to pursue. Because of all of their political agendas, the system wasn’t serving the company or customers very well. That’s when Brian pioneered a more customer-centric approach to sales that helped them to win better deals and avoid pursuing the bad deals.

Brian was born in Baltimore, Maryland with two older brothers and an older sister. He grew up playing lacrosse, tending bars, waiting tables and eventually he received his undergraduate degree and his MBA in Marketing from Loyola University Maryland.

He began his professional career with Xerox Corp., where he learned a great deal about needs-based selling and client focus in an energized, team selling environment. After moving on from Xerox, he began his 30-year career with Cap Gemini in a sales role but soon moved on to leadership and management positions serving clients and growing business with this Paris-based global consulting firm.

While at Cap Gemini, Brian became familiar with the Sandler Selling System and joined Sandler in 2012 to develop Sandler Enterprise Selling, the subject of the book he co-authored with CEO, Dave Mattson, Sandler Enterprise Selling – Winning, Growing and Retaining Major Accounts. Brian is currently the Vice-President of Sandler Enterprise Selling and responsible for the program’s operation worldwide.

Brian is a lifelong runner that lives in Phoenix, Maryland with his wife Cyndi. They are the parents of three daughters and the grandparents of Quinn and Max.

Tweetable Quotes and Mentions

Listen to Brian Sullivan and get over the hump on the @FastLeaderShow Click to Tweet 

“Selling is really about having a clear understanding of the needs of the people you deal with.” -Brian Sullivan Click to Tweet

“Clearly understand the needs of people you’re with so you know how to help them.” -Brian Sullivan Click to Tweet 

“Understand the needs of the people on your team so you can marshal them effectively.” -Brian Sullivan Click to Tweet 

“A decision to move forward or to stop moving forward; both are gifts.” -Brian Sullivan Click to Tweet 

“Make early exists or early acceleration.” -Brian Sullivan Click to Tweet 

“You don’t have unlimited resources to help you win a deal.” -Brian Sullivan Click to Tweet 

“Understanding the level of risk you’re facing will give you the gift of exiting the process.” -Brian Sullivan Click to Tweet 

“It’s really about having a solid process to help you make decisions.” -Brian Sullivan Click to Tweet 

“Go after business based on what’s best for the client.” -Brian Sullivan Click to Tweet 

“Don’t confuse sales and delivery.” -Brian Sullivan Click to Tweet 

“Bring the delivery folks into the decision early on.” -Brian Sullivan Click to Tweet 

“Do what you’ll say you’ll do.” -Brian Sullivan Click to Tweet 

“Have a mindset of responsiveness for the people that you serve.” -Brian Sullivan Click to Tweet 

“We all better be making mistakes.” -Brian Sullivan Click to Tweet 

“You win or you learn.” -Brian Sullivan Click to Tweet 

“Be flexible and willing to stray from the plan.” -Brian Sullivan Click to Tweet 

Hump to Get Over

Brian Sullivan worked for an organization that would bring together an executive committee to make decisions on business they wanted to pursue. Because of all of their political agendas, the system wasn’t serving the company or customers very well. That’s when Brian pioneered a more customer-centric approach to sales that helped them to win better deals and avoid pursuing the bad deals.

Advice for others

Make early exists or early acceleration using a system to help guide you.

Holding him back from being an even better leader

The challenge of keeping pace with technology and social media.

Best Leadership Advice Received

Do what you’ll say you’ll do.

Secret to Success

It’s having a service mentality and a mindset of responsiveness for the people that I serve.

Best tools that helps in business or Life

I have two of them; there’re my ears.

Recommended Reading

Sandler Enterprise Selling:  Winning, Growing, and Retaining Major Accounts

Black Box Thinking: Why Most People Never Learn from Their Mistakes–But Some Do

Contacting Brian

email: brian.sullivan [at] sandler.com

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/brian-sullivan-8a33593

Resources

54 Emotional Intelligence (EQ) Competencies List: Emotional Intelligence has proven to be the right kind of intelligence to have if you want to move onward and upward faster. Get your free list today.

Show Transcript: 

Click to access edited transcript

084: Brian Sullivan: They all had their political agendas

 Intro: Welcome to the Fast Leader Podcast, where we explore convenient yet effective shortcuts that will help you get ahead and move forward faster by becoming a better leader. And now here’s your host, customer and employee engagement expert and certified emotional intelligence practitioner, Jim Rembach.

Need a powerful and entertaining way to ignite your next conference, retreat or team-building session? My keynotes don’t include magic but they do have the power to help your attendees take a leap forward by putting emotional intelligence into their employee- engagement, customer-engagement and customer-centric leadership practices. So bring the infotainment creativity the Fast Leader show to your next event and I’ll help your attendees get over the hump now. Go to beyondmorale.com/speaking to learn more. 

 

Okay Fast Leader legion today we’re going to have a great show because our guest has insights to some of the skills that all of us needs today. Brian Sullivan was born in Baltimore, Maryland with two older brothers and an older sister. He grew up playing across tending bars, waiting tables and eventually he received his undergraduate degree and his MBA in marketing from Loyola University Maryland. He began his professional career with Xerox Corporation where he learned a great deal about needs-based selling and client focus and an energized team selling environment. After moving from Xerox, he began his 30 year career with Cap Gemini in a sales role but soon moved on to leadership and management position serving clients and growing businesses with this Paris-based global consulting firm. While at Cap Gemini, Brian became familiar with the Sandler selling system and join Sandler in 2012 to develop the Sandler Enterprise selling, the subject of the book he co-authored with CEO Dave Mattson, Sandler Enterprise Selling – Winning, Growing and Retaining Major Accounts.

Brian is currently the Vice-President of Sandler Enterprise Selling is responsible for the program’s operation worldwide. Brian is a lifelong runner that lives in Phoenix, Maryland with his wife Cindy and they are the proud parents of three daughters and the grandparents of Quinn and Max. Brian Sullivan are you ready to help us get over the hump?

 

Brian Sullivan:    Ready to go Jim. Well done couldn’t have said that better myself.

Jim Rembach:    Thanks I appreciate that.  I’ve given listeners a little bit about you but can you tell us what your current passion is so that we can get to know you even better?

Brian Sullivan:    Yeah.  My passion is really involved with what I do from the Sandler Enterprise, Selling Standpoint, we rolled out this program eighteen months ago and my role is to support the Sandler network of franchisees all over the world and helping them deliver this program and delight their clients. 

Jim Rembach:    You and I had the opportunity to chat a little bit before and even though you’re talking about the work and what you’re doing it seemed to me like one of your major passion comes down to helping others. You talked about where your career was launched and you’d mentioned something about waiting tables and tending bar and doing all that and how that was just a major passion and really got you into enjoying what you’re doing today, how did you find your way so quickly?

Brian Sullivan:    It’s a great question Jim. I believe strongly in the service mentality about what you do from a life standpoint and also from the selling standpoint. And if you think about it, selling is really about having a clear understanding of the needs of the people that you deal with so that you can earn the right to either help them or understand clearly that you can help them, that’s really what selling is all about. And if you think about it, it’s not a bad way to live your life clearly understanding the needs of people you’re with, so that you know how to help them one way or the other. That’s what I strongly believe in, the service mentality of selling. And as you know so many people have view of selling as being the giving, the pushing, the pitching, that’s really, really not what’s it’s all about. 

Jim Rembach:    One of the reasons I want to have you on the show is—first of all, myself I’ve been exposed to the Sandler Selling system for many years but looking at the six strategies and the 13 tools that are associated with enterprise process it started me down a path of thinking about how really today when you start looking at any initiative of significance is that people have to do a job two ways. First of all if I’m selling a solution for those initiatives, yes, the outside piece and doing all that’s important but also internally the selling has become more challenging with more stakeholders involved and it isn’t something that you could easily just go into have your business case and pitch for it, it requires much more than that.

Brian Sullivan:    Yeah. You mentioned the internal piece—we tend to view enterprise selling as really working internally and externally. From an external standpoint clearly you’re selling into large complex organizations that bring unique challenges such extended sales cycles and really sophisticated competitors and wide, diversified networks but with that comes the challenge and the opportunity if you will of marshaling all of the resources in your organization to address those very challenges. Truthfully that can call on all your sales skills, all of your of abilities, as I’ve mentioned before, to understand the needs of the people on your team so that you can marshal them effectively to serve your clients. 

Jim Rembach:    Men that’s a really keyword that you’ve just laid out a couple of times and that’s that marshaling piece. And if you started looking at folks, put about inside and outside selling, when you start thinking about that marshaling process, what does that mean?

Brian Sullivan:    If you think about it, if you’re ultimate objective in an organization—when business serve clients then you need to make certain that your aligning all of the assets within your organization, people typically figuring the physical assets but the human assets as well, aligning all of those assets can to map to the clients whose business you’re trying to win. I mentioned before that typically in selling into enterprise organizations you’re dealing with the wide diversified network as opposed to simple selling if you will where quite often you can be sitting across the desk from the owner of the company in selling into large complex organizations you’re dealing with a network of buyers that bring functions from legal, from accounting, from finance, it’s your responsibility and again to use that word to marshal the assets of your organization to align to those people in the buyer network, to map if you will docs with docs. If you think about it Jim—have you ever seen a situation where a sales rep is trying to deal with an attorney from a buying organization, they absolutely don’t speak the same language. But if you map it so that an attorney from your organization is dealing with someone from the buying team the conversation becomes so much more streamlined it’s no longer about clauses and semicolons quite often it’s about where you went to school or who you knew in law school. 

Jim Rembach:    That’s a great point, it goes back to that personal connection piece. Now I do know from myself throughout my professional career even when it came to the face-to-face retail sale to some of the complex selling that I have to do now, is that it requires a level of resilience and boldness. You have to be able to keep moving forward to do some of that marshaling and all of that and patience, oh my goodness, of all of those things come into play. And one of the things we look to on the show is quotes because a lot of times they help give us those reminders of those things to help us keep moving forward, is are quote or two that you can share with us?

Brian Sullivan:    Yeah.  That’s a great point. The concept in this enterprise world of moving forward as you say a decision to move forward or decision to stop moving forward both of those are guess. So what I like to talk about is you need to be able to make early exits or early acceleration. When you’re selling into major organizations, when you’re dealing with enterprise accounts the investment that you make is phenomenal. We talked earlier about the physical assets and human assets that you’re using in going after a major account, under any condition the asset are scarce,  you don’t have unlimited resources to help you with the deal. The sooner you can determine whether or not this is a deal you should be pursuing that’s the most important decision you can make. Just as I’ve mentioned earlier an interpersonal communication understanding if you could help someone or you can that’s giving a gift to that person you’re giving a gift to yourself in pursuing enterprise organizations by being able to qualify as quickly as you can whether you should be there or not.

Jim Rembach:    That’s a great point. Gosh, when I started thinking about those words and what you’re explaining is that—how does one get to the point to where they can build either the skills, and I have to say they’re really skills cause it’s a little bit more than just an intuition. How do they build the skills in order to be able to know when to accelerate or get out? Because we always run that risk, of especially in a sales environment, or even in that internal environment where it’s contingent on us making some impact, positive impact of course, and focusing where we can but we also have the fear of pulling out too soon it’s like the whole stock market thing people don’t buy on the high or sell on the high side they wait, “Hey, it’s going to go higher cause I don’t want to lose out on any potential return” and when it drops they don’t sell them either so it’s like they’re stuck with something that they can’t do anything with. How do you know when to go or when to try to grow it?

Brian Sullivan:    Again that’s really significant point. As just often the case, it helps to have a process to follow, Jim. A little example we have Sandler trainer in Austin, Texas and he was meeting with the president of a firm in Austin and the president of the firm told him she said, Every time I make  decision to go after a piece of business it cost me $40,000, win or lose if cost me $40,000.” She said, “If you can help me determine that the deals I go after are the ones I’m most likely to win and also to define in a pursuit I can understand whether I should exit or put my foot on the accelerator I’m really interested. And so what we shared with that client was a   process that we use which evaluates a number of business issues tied to a deal so you can make a determination as to whether your stable or whether you have risk that you need to mitigate. And if you have risk you need to mitigate then you need to take actions to reduce those risks and when you’re finished doing that process with a number different business issues then you’ve got it staring you in the face. If you decide to move forward, when you do have significant risk that’s a calculated decision that you make and you may still make that decision but quite often understanding a level of risk you’re facing will give you the gift of being able to exit the process and then go find an opportunity that you should be applying all the scarce assets to pursue an opportunity that you much more likely to win. So it’s really that having a solid process Jim to help you make those decisions.

Jim Rembach:    Gosh, you know as you were talking, thanks for sharing that, I started even thinking about an internal person whose an expert in their career. Because when I find oftentimes is there’s some people who are stuck in organizations that are highly skilled and nothing can move forward and probably because they don’t have that framework to be able to say, “You know what, it’s time for me to go because I need to be able to give value to some other organization that wants me to do that otherwise I’m going to get frustrated and burned out and then I get burned out in my spot instead going and trying to continue to grow, thanks for sharing that. 

Okay, we chat a little bit about you working with Cap Gemini, with you moving with Sandler and even before that but we know in order for us to grow and get to the point of really solidifying our knowing that we are built to serve takes a bump we have to get over humps and many other humps in life, is there a time where you can remember where you’ve had to get over a hump and it really made a difference for you and your life and career?

Brian Sullivan:    Let me take you in time if I may for just a minute Jim. As you mentioned I started Xerox when I got out of school and interestingly enough you also mentioned that I waited tables and wife is integrated throughout and just want to share that I actually got the job at Xerox from waiting tables. I was waiting tables down at the beach summer between my junior and senior year, waited on a guy from Xerox who asked me to send in my resume. When I got it together I did and that’s ultimately how I ended up getting a job at Xerox. The balls always in play as it were and that was really how I got started in selling. So, at Xerox it was an incredibly collaborative and communicative environment and we were schooled to use all of the assets of the organization to make decisions. And one way that we built that premise is—there was a story, there was a Xerox story that was based on the 914 copier. I don’t know if you know about the 914 copier, but Xerox 914 was the first plain paper copier ever developed and it was built by a bunch of brilliant engineers who took plain paper copying to the point where it could go to market. Before it was a very small company at that point, Xerox took the 914 to market, first machine ever to print on plain paper so it happened that potential to revolutionize an industry. But it sold for $30,000, which was a lot of money in 1959, and it weighed 650 pounds and it took up a footprint of over 20 ft.². So, it was groundbreaking as the technology was and is effective as Xerox selling team was, very few companies, very customers bought the 914. 

So, Xerox undertook an internal cross functional brainstorming exercise and they brought people from throughout the organization, people from manufacturing, finance, accounting and legal in other words they didn’t just say this is a sales problem they marshal all of the elements of the organization together to come up with a new idea, and they did. They came up with the really bold and risky plan that rather than selling 914 they were going to lease them to customers and they were going to lease them at a really economical entry point of $99 per month. And with this economical entry plan they made a huge bet on human nature because they bet that customers were going to get away from copying on to chemically treated paper and dealing with messy inks and that having the opportunity to copy on plain paper would be huge for customers and it was a big, big bet and it worked out really well because for the $99 customers received 2000 copies and for every copy over 2000, Xerox charge an additional cost. After the first six months, after they got a ton of these 914 out in offices the average copies generated by a customer over 20,000 per month. Xerox’s corporate revenues double in one year and a few short years later they were a billion dollar company all based on internal communication and collaboration driving a really great team idea, so that stuck with me, that was something that stuck with me and I carried it with me when I left Xerox. 

Jim Rembach:    That’s a phenomenal story. When you start thinking about all of the people that came together, and also in Xerox I had to imagine this team of engineers that you had to convince as well that could be rather challenging. 

Brian Sullivan:    Oh, no, no question. As you know corporate human nature being what it is the decision typically is, hey, we’ve got a sales problem, let’s change the VP of sales or let’s get a bunch of new sales guys. The Xerox had the thinking, the foresight to be able to say, let’s get everybody together and come up with a really good idea. And who could ever imagined that a pricing shift would produce what actually Forbes magazine would later call the most successful product in the history of the United States regarding ROI all based on really collaborative thinking. And you know, that leads with me today Jim, I remember when I moved on the Cap we had a process where we would make decisions about huge deal that we went after by bringing together an executive committee, bunch of high-level people in the company who all have their political agendas and they would make decisions as to whether to go after a certain piece of business. But I really pioneered bringing the people from the trenches bringing our delivery folks together the folks really had a pragmatic handle on what we’re going to do for the client I marshaled them together to drive the decisions as to whether to go after a piece of business based not on political agendas but based on what was best for the client.

Jim Rembach:    Now there’s no way that was an easy task. Who did you have the most difficulty with when trying to do that? 

Well, that’s a great point. Really folks who had built the executive committee concept and regardless of the fact that virtually—I mean a lot of people were thinking it didn’t work any longer but for the folks who had built it they didn’t want to change. But  after a few success stories, the first few success stories getting involved big wins for us but they involve big deal that we decided not to pursue because we got some really solid input from the delivery team as to what the issues might be in a deal. They often hear people talk about don’t confuse sales and delivery, right? And it’s kind of a really classic failure line because you go sell something and then you ask the delivery team to deliver something that can’t be solved next thing you know you got a deal that’s killing your year. So, by bringing the delivery folks into the decision early on we were able to do deals that were the right deals that would satisfy clients and in the end drive revenue and profitability at the same time.

Jim Rembach:    Yeah, I know. Listening to you talk—for me it’s really one of the reasons why I’ve continued and became certified in emotional intelligence because when you start talking about serving, selling, rapport building, relationship building, its emotional intelligence it’s not the product it’s not your thingy, it’s not what you do, it’s how you engage and interact and how you project it’s all of those things associated with your emotional intelligence that are proven over and over. So, we talked about that you’re trying to grow the enterprise selling business and of course you’ve got a couple of grandkids,  which is awesome, but if you start to look at all the things that you have going on, what are some your goals?

Brian Sullivan:    From a Sandler standpoint my goal is to grow the business so that we can serve clients worldwide. At this point we’re not translated in all the languages we need to and that’s our plan but we’re 127 selling business operations in 12 countries in 18 months of existence which is really exciting but more than anything we’re doing great things in serving clients and arming them with some skills, like the skills I talked about before Jim, the ability to make educated go no go decisions about opportunities that you’re trying to pursue as an organization what we do is we arm our clients with those skills.  So my charter, my challenge, my goal, is to be able to deliver that to Sandler clients all over the world, so that’s from a business standpoint. 

From a personal standpoint, I’m a very, very headed guy and my focus is to serve my family, help our kids grow their families and do anything I can to be there for our kids and grandkids. 

Jim Rembach:    And the Fast Leader Legion wishes you the very best. Now before we move on, let’s get a quick word from our sponsor.

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Jim Rembach:    Alright Fast Leader listeners it’s time for the Hump Day Hoedown. Okay, Brian, the Hump Day Hoedown is a part of our show where you give us good insights fast. So, I’m going to ask several questions and your job is to give us robust yet rapid responses that are going to help us move onward and upward faster. Brian Sullivan, are you ready to hoedown?

Brian Sullivan:    Yes sir.

Jim Rembach:    Alright. So, what do you think is holding you back from being even better leader today?

Brian Sullivan:    Certainly the challenge to keep pace with technology, social media, data and all the rest. I do a relatively good job of it but truthfully I need to be better.

Jim Rembach:    What is the best leadership advice you have ever received?

Brian Sullivan:    There’s no question about that. We had a CEO at Cap named Jeff and his guidance always was—do what you say you’ll do.

Jim Rembach:    What is one of your secrets that you believe contributes to your success?

Brian Sullivan:  It’s a service mentality and within that it’s a mindset of responsiveness for the people that you serve. 

Jim Rembach:    What do you feel is one of your best tools that helps you lead in business or life?

Brian Sullivan:    I have two of them, and they’re my ears. 

Jim Rembach:    What would be one book, and it could be from any genre, that you’d recommend to our listeners?

Brian Sullivan:    I’m actually reading it right now and it’s awesome, Black box Thinking by Matthew Syed, the ability to learn from mistakes, we all make them we all better be making them but it’s the old you win or you learn, so it’s how to take a mistake and have it make you more effective in the future.

Okay, Fast Leader listeners you can find links to that and other bonus information from today’s show by going to fastleader.net/Brian Sullivan. Okay, Brian this is my last Hump Day question. Imagine you were given the opportunity to go back to the age of 25 and you’ve been given the opportunity to take the knowledge and skills that you have now back with you but you can’t take everything you could only choose one. So, what skill or piece of knowledge would you take back with you and why?

So I love this, this is the letter to me, right? It would be to be flexible, be willing to stray from the plan take a chance.

Jim Rembach:    Brian it was an honor to spend time with you today, can you please share with the Fast Leader Legion how they can connect with you?

Brian Sullivan:    I’d be delighted to chat with anyone. I could be reached on email at brian.sullivan@sandler.com. Connect with me on LinkedIn, we have a Sandler Enterprise selling group on LinkedIn which we love to have everyone join, so I look forward to hearing from everyone. 

Jim Rembach:    Brian Sullivan, thank you for sharing and wisdom the Fast Leader Legion honors you and thanks you for helping us get over the hump. Woot! Woot! 

Thank you for joining me on the Fast Leader show today. For recaps, links from every show, special offers and access to download and subscribe, if you haven’t already, head on over the fastleader.net so we can help you move onward and upward faster.

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