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The Sandler Sales Training Story, From A Franchisee

I got caught up a few weeks ago with Rich Geise, a friend and former colleague.  With 30 or so years in sales and sales management, Rich is a Sandler franchisee, based in Villanova, PA.

Rich told me Sandler’s appeal is growing.  He described that what most salespeople feel coming out of traditional training classes is frustration, having been sprayed with a blast of information.  It is then their job to go back to the office and try to weave what they learned into whatever they’re doing.  Rich points out that it’s very challenging to accomplish that; changing behaviors is very hard.  He tells me that he works on an ongoing basis to do just that—to change people’s behaviors.  To change their beliefs.  He accomplishes that through a process.

Rich’s approach differs depending on the company he is working with.  With some he seeks to understand their current process looking for weaknesses.  For other people and teams just some training is required.  

The life of a Sandler franchisee is different from a trainer in a traditional training company.  Sandler franchisees sell what they deliver.  They are in the midst of the very challenges their clients face: prospecting, working deals, competing, negotiating, closing.  Then they deliver what they just sold.  The Sandler people mix training and coaching.  They work with groups. They coach people one-on-one.  (Sandler’s tag line is “Finding Power in Reinforcement.”)

That ongoing reinforcement component of a sales effectiveness initiative is different with Sandler, Rich tells me.  They don’t let the salespeople figure out for themselves how to put the learning to use.  Rich describes the Sandler approach as providing “chewable little pieces at a time.”  That helps to support behavioral change.  The reps have plenty of ongoing reinforcement, including CD libraries and a wide choice of ways to practice what they’ve learned.  Plus that ongoing coaching of the Sandler consultant.  Sandler understands what a critical success factor reinforcement is. 

Rich described to me how he works on techniques, attitudes and behaviors with his sales people. Together they look at self-limiting beliefs (exploring a territory that a rep might shy away from, for example) and activities—what those people do every day.  Together they set goals—personal, client and financial goals.  Once the reps have plans in place, they work together on tracking the results of the behaviors.  The rep is taught to be accountable for the outcomes.

Rich talks about the Sandler approach being non-traditional.  “If everyone is doing something a certain way, do it differently.” He talks about pattern interrupt and the impact that can have on a sales person’s performance.

The goal for Rich and the other Sandler franchisees is having their client sales reps “attain mastery.”  To the end, Rich works with his client’s sales team to understand what their process is—what their people are thinking.  Rich finds out what is going on and finds ways of approaching the challenges.  Rich says emphatically, “No mind-reading.”

I asked Rich what kind of situation would be in his sweet spot.  Without a pause he said, “They have to have the time, the money, be willing to put in the effort, and have a willingness to change.”

Rich reminded me that Sandler has over 220 training centers around the world.  During the past year, they reoriented their focus somewhat, moving more toward the larger corporate client. 

I’ve spoken with a number of other Sandler franchisees over the past few years.  Among them were Rich Isaac (Long Island), Joe Ippolito (Beverly, MA) and most recently, Chip Reichhard (Northern New Jersey).  These are all very committed, experienced, and successful business people.

Note: Sandler Training is one of the 27 vendors ESR is presently covering.  This blog post is not a formal review.  Before you go any further with vendor selection, read this post.

Photo credit: © Stephen VanHorn – Fotolia.com

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One Response

  1. I was a client of Sandler Sales in NJ, before I became a partner in a Sandler franchise in Florida. The description you have given by writing, “Sandler franchisees sell what they deliver. They are in the midst of the very challenges their clients face: prospecting, working deals, competing, negotiating, closing. Then they deliver what they just sold. The Sandler people mix training and coaching. They work with groups. They coach people one-on-one.”…..is absolutely true.

    We know exactly what our clients are facing everyday, because we face those challenges. I know that Sandler skills work, from the years I used them in another industry over 10 years ago, and they are even more invaluable today, to differentiate yourself from the competition.

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