Chris McDonell


Chris McDonell
President, McDonell Consulting & Development, Inc.
Owner and Authorized Licensee, Sandler Training

The old, stale way of doing sales has come to an end thanks to McDonell Consulting & Development, Inc. (MCDI) and Sandler Training. This new method of training staff members has shown amazing return on investment for clients, and Chris McDonell, president of MCDI, explains why his way is the right way.

Q: When did you realize there were companies that were not training staff and leaders effectively?

A: Most businesses are running very fast, and CEOs are often scratching their heads trying to figure out what makes them truly successful, and what actually takes away from success. You could ask 50 business owners about what role training and development should play in their current business plan, and you might receive close to 50 different answers.

Unfortunately, most management and leadership training programs, like most sales training programs, are short, quick-fix seminars that provide neither real-world specific training nor lasting results. Participants may learn the “what,” “when” and “why” behind management theories, but they are then left with the burden of discovering how to put these theories into practice in real-world situations on their own.

Companies are sometimes very reluctant to spend money on training employees because they are paranoid that those same employees will then use the new skills and certifications to make them more marketable to other employers. It’s a very true statement. But does that mean a company president or business owner should refrain from spending money on training and developing their employees? We say “no.” Money invested in your employees is money invested in your future success.

Q: Why is McDonell Consulting & Development important to other businesses?

A: MDCI is a company that is uniquely qualified to help all businesses to identify and implement successful sales tactics from prospecting, to closing the sale and customer retention. We are able to develop innovative solutions for management that will improve team leadership and motivation, create accountability, resolve conflicts and foster a positive work environment. Not only will we provide the initial and advanced sales and management strategies and tactics needed to excel, our training enables people to develop the attitudes and implement the behavior necessary to reach the highest levels of success.

We feel that we are important because we can help identify critical success criteria that can be measured and sustained for the long haul. Our goal is to help business owners and executives find and remedy “hidden sales costs” that are not found on a standard P&L, including bad hires, wasted days at work and even unqualified prospects.

Q: What impacts and benefits can business owners find through your company? 

A: Our clients can expect the following business impacts and benefits as a result of working together:

  • More effective management of complex/larger deals
  • A shorter selling cycle
  • Higher comfort level calling at the top
  • More effective prospecting
  • Less discounting
  • Higher per sale average
  • Better relationships with prospects and clients
  • Higher closing ratios in competitive situations
  • Lower cost per sale
  • More effective negotiations
  • More effective team selling
  • More accurate forecasting
  • Better internal communication

Q: How does your training process differ from the normal approach? What makes your methods unique?

A: Other programs rely on specific tactics, such as memorizing specific closers. The Sandler approach views selling as a process that begins with bonding and concludes with servicing the sale. Probing the buyer’s needs provides the script.

Our principles and strategies are designed to achieve a fundamental goal: reducing the buyer’s pain, the barrier blocks, and the frustrations that prevent personal and organizational success. The buyer does not feel manipulated or “psyched out,” because your goal is to match the buyer’s pain to your proposed solution.

Instead of emphasizing technique only, the Sandler Selling System fosters an attitude of leadership. From approach to close, our clients learn how to assertively and professionally take charge of the sales process. Breaking all the conventional rules that have made the sales process ineffective and demeaning. It provides an entirely new road map to long-lasting success by developing new and empowering behaviors, attitudes, and sales skills — changes that are only learned by doing and internalized over time.

Our manager training program brings both the “how” and the real world together into the training room. The program emphasizes active skills training exercises and skills application specific to your actual goals and challenges and to your specific work environment. Our approach is manager training the way it was always supposed to be. 

Q: Why is it important to help business understand how to overcome difficult onboarding processes?

A: One of the most important success indicators in an organization revolves around new hires. We have found that many organizations lack an official onboarding process, leaving success factors purely up to chance. The first 90 days of employment for a new hire are absolutely critical, and an official onboarding process will undoubtedly give a new hire what they need to ensure ongoing success.

One of the best ways to allow a group of managers within a set company to realize the variance around expectations for new hires is to ask them on what day do they feel a new employee should be contributing in a positive way to their bottom line. The answers will tell the story.

Q: What growth can come from developing key staff members?

A: One area that stands out is an overall increase in morale: Optimum morale is attained when your people feel good about and believe in themselves, their company and their market. One of the most important benefits of successful implementation is sustainable improvement in all three areas.

Developing the team must lead to a return on investment: Net program benefits and program costs increase and SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-bound) goals would be established.

Q: What is your vision and plans for the future?

A: Our vision for the future is to continue to grow the business in the greater Baltimore metro region, serving small to large companies that are serious about growth and building excellent teams. We plan to add new team members in 2015, and be known as the premier choice for training and consulting solutions.

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