ACCOUNTABILITY, HARD WORK AND RESULTS
Sandler Training, The Training Resource Group
After observing the incredible impact his father’s business had on its clients, Evan Polin decided to leave his job at a Fortune 500 company and join Sandler Training, The Training Resource Group. Together, Polin and his father help their clients identify strengths and weaknesses within their sales organization, provide sales consulting and training, and achieve their sales and business development goals.
Q: Why did you decide to join your father in his company? What drew you to this type of work?
A: I’ve watched my father work hard his entire life and I thought that it would be great to join him in business. I did not start out with a sales background, but I had participated in the sales training program while in college, and again while I was in graduate school. I saw the positive impact that his business had on his clients.
I wanted to join my father in business because I saw it as a way to use my counseling skills to help people in a different way. My background was in the mental health field and I had been working for a Fortune 500 Company, but I was unhappy because I was unable to really impact the organization, and I wanted to go somewhere that I could watch individuals benefit from the services that I provided. I also wanted to be in a situation where I would be rewarded if I worked hard and was successful.
Q: How has your background in social work helped you lead more effectively?
A: My social work and counseling background has allowed me to really listen to people, and to help guide them to a path that will help them hit their goals. I learned that it was about helping people achieve their own goals, and not sticking my own agenda into the conversation. It also showed me that leading people and helping is a process, not a one-time event. This has been really helpful for the individual coaching (which sometimes seems like it includes therapy) that I provide my clients.
Q: Why do you consider customization of services and individual coaching to be Sandler’s competitive advantage?
A: In our experience, every person who we help has different strengths and weaknesses, and if we treated everyone the same, they would not all obtain the same results. It is for that reason that we give all of our clients an assessment before we start working with them. That gives us the “X-ray” we need to determine what is working well, and what needs to be changed. We also use the results of those assessments to help guide us when we provide individual coaching for our clients.
We have a different take on the “Golden Rule” that we were taught as kids. We believe that we should not treat everyone the same as we want to be treated. Instead, we want to treat everyone the way that they want to be treated.
In addition, every company and every industry is different. A training program looks different for an IT company than for a manufacturing company, a law firm or an accounting firm.
Q: Why did you and your father decide to write the book Selling Professional Services the Sandler Way?
A: Over the years, we’ve found that many of the people who work in professional services were uncomfortable with the concept of business development or selling. We wanted to provide a resource that would demystify selling and give professional a process they would be comfortable using.
My father and I have trained more non-selling professionals (lawyers, accountants, engineers, architects, consultants) than any of the 250 Sandler Franchises around the world, and over the years we’ve made a number of modifications to the Sandler Process to fit those worlds. We decided that rather than trying to continue to modify the standard Sandler material, it would make more sense to write a Sandler Training book specifically for those people.
Q: In the last three to five years, your company has integrated a lot more technology. What types of things have you guys added?
A: Over the past few years Sandler Training has invested more than one million dollars in an online portal. The portal provides on-demand audio and video training modules, as well as workbooks to reinforce our training and coaching. There are more than 200 modules for sales, sales management and customer service in the portal.
In addition, we’ve started delivering more of our training via webinars. Technology has come a long way, and we are able to provide interactive webinars where we can facilitate back and forth conversations, put participants into breakout rooms, and save and capture those sessions for our clients. This really helps those clients who have employees who work from home, or companies that just can’t physically bring their people together on a regular basis.
Q: How have the new technological aspects of your work been received so far, and how do they benefit your clients?
A: The technology has made it easier and more cost-effective for our clients to reinforce the concepts we are teaching in the training and coaching sessions. It also allows us to have more touch points with our clients so that the concepts we are teaching become part of the culture of the organization. What’s more, it provides valuable resources to people who can’t get to a live training center.
Q: What type of mindset are you looking for in new clients?
A: We are looking for clients who are driven to get better at what they do. The clients who are most successful are the ones who are willing to move out of their comfort zones and try something different to get better results. In general, our clients are in the top 20 percent of what they do, and they want to be in the top five percent.
For us the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. When we hear people tell us “we’ve always done it this way” (even if they aren’t getting the best results) we run in the opposite direction.
Q: Tell me about the culture at Sandler Training.
A: I would describe our culture as a culture of accountability, hard work and results. We ask our clients to hold us accountable when it comes to delivering the results they are looking for. And in return, our clients hire us to hold them accountable for executing their sales strategy.
In addition, we care deeply about the success of our clients, and we will do everything in our power to make sure that our clients succeed.