Tag Archives: sales

Brian Jackson: Handling Sales



A nerd at heart, Brian Jackson is the president and owner of Sandler Training of San Diego, a sales training company.  Brian enjoys coaching customer-facing people who are engaged in selling within Software, Technology, Manufacturing, and Professional Services.  Prior to owning Sandler, Brian invested over 20 years in hospital equipment & software sales and leadership roles.  Brian gives a unique perspective to nerds and sales, having played both sides, interfaced between the two, and trained and coached salespeople of all backgrounds.  He’s also a funny guy and you’ll enjoy his insights.

Highlights:

Q: Let’s start by hearing your story.  What brought you to buying and running Sandler San Diego?

“Having a slightly lower than average IQ.”  [But, seriously!]  “I graduated college and wanted to make money and got straight into sales.  I wanted to sell products I was passionate about and I gravitated toward medical devices and, later, medical device software.  After about 20 years selling a half dozen products and managing people for the last 12 of those years, I found that my passion was not in the technology.  It was in the art of selling and coaching other people and seeing them succeed and rise in the ranks.  I really got a lot of satisfaction out of that.”

“I was a client of Sandler many years ago and always had it in the back of my mind that I might want to do that.  So, I pulled the trigger.”

Q: What is Sandler Training?

“It’s a sales methodology that’s embedded in psychology.  The main thing about Sandler that is different is that we really believe in the power of reinforcement.  You can’t change the way you think and behave by going to a 2-hour boot camp.  It takes repetition.  We use blended learning and repetition to rewire the brain.”

Q: What was your experience like working with technical people—developers, scientists—and having them interface with customers?

“The challenge with selling technology is not understanding the technology.  Salespeople are more intelligent than people give them credit for.  We can learn something if we try hard enough.  The challenge isn’t learning the technology.  The challenge is knowing when to use the knowledge appropriately.  It’s about having the discipline to not talk about the product knowledge until the right time.  In spite of the fact that you’re excited about the technology.”

“When you’re working with technical people, product specialists, these are people who know a lot about the product.  They’re given a chance to talk to the customer prospect and they feel it’s their job to come in and talk about the product information.  As a salesperson, you have to pull back the reigns and sometimes even do damage control.  It’s important to remember that your product knowledge is your leverage when you’re in a selling situation.  Once that prospect has that knowledge, that’s what they came for.  It’s not necessarily to make a decision.  It’s to gather information.  Once they have all the information, you’re dead in the water.”

To learn more about how technical people are dealing directly with customers, such as SaaS companies, and Brian’s advice to technical people who are dealing with salespeople and with customers directly, listen to the episode.  Brian also gives advice on technical leadership from his years of experience doing it.

Words of Wisdom:

There’s a reason why people are tense when they are in a buying situation.

Team selling is pretty cool.  Everyone has a different role.

Good people, by and large, are being promoted into a management role and they’re expected to know how to do it.

It’s not uncommon for people going through a promotion to have other things going on in their lives too.

Emotional Intelligence should be taught in college.

Contact Brian Jackson:

Cell phone: 619-368-6215

Linkedin:  @SandlerTraining

Website:  www.salesrevenue.sandler.com

Facebook:  @SandlerSanDiego

Twitter:  @Sales_Coach_SD


Burt De Mill: When Technical People Do Business



Burt De Mill is the President of BDM Consulting, a San Diego based consulting firm that works with small and medium sized companies who are in the biotechnology tools and clinical diagnostics spaces.  Burt helps companies define their products and markets, conduct new market research, and launch products.  Burt talks about the challenges scientists encounter when they interface with the business world.

Highlights:

Q: Burt, you are a scientist by training.  How did you move into business?

“I wanted to be a doctor.  I was the kid who wanted the chemistry set and microscope for Christmas.  I was a chemistry and biology major at the University of Maryland.  Then I applied to medical school and didn’t get in.”

“While I kept trying, I worked at Johns Hopkins Hospital doing cancer research.  I was working with a very prestigious physician, Dr. Philip Burke, who said to me after I gave a presentation, ‘Burt, good job, but I noticed you had more fun doing the presentation than doing the work.’  I realized that I do like talking about the work.  I was also taking business classes there for free while I worked.  I felt that business was like a duck swimming on the lake to me.  It was simple.  It was easy.  That’s kind of how I ended up the failed scientist turned into a business guy.”

“I made that split over 25 years ago and never looked back.  I still do have a soft spot for the science, but I like it in a business context.”

Q: As the Sr. Vice President of Sales & Marketing at Genoptix Medical Labs back in 2005, how did you scale revenues from $4M to $184M in 5 years?

“It was kind of like running a marathon with your hair on fire, but it was kind of fun!  It was fun because we were building something.  There were some key points.  One was timing.  That’s something you can’t plan for, but it’s important for a business.  Is it the right business concept at the right time?  Is society ready for it?  Are customers ready for it?  A lot of good businesses are the benefactor of that.”

“There were three key things that we did.  We knew who our customers were and who they were not.  That is incredibly important for a startup….  We surrounded ourselves with a fabulous team…  The last one is we measured things.  This is really important when you scale…”  To hear the details, listen to the episode.

Q: As a leader, how does it feel it to not be the one doing it all but getting others in to do it?

“In the consulting business I’m in now, I work with some incredibly smart people—PhDs, MDs.  The talent is enormous in what I call their vertical.  They know that enzyme or they know that diagnostic test like the back of their hand.  But it’s very hard to be an expert in all areas.  One of the things I’d advise founders not to do is to get caught up in what I call ‘founder’s syndrome.’  Founder’s syndrome is: it’s my baby, I’m going to hang on to it all the way through, and I’m afraid to let anybody touch it because it’s my child.  Most of the time, it does not go to a good place.”

To hear what Burt recommends to prevent founder’s syndrome and what other leadership challenges he sees when he consults to small businesses, listen to the episode.  Burt has some great advice for technical leaders.

Words of Wisdom:

“Failure’s not a bad thing.  Sometimes you learn a lot about yourself.”

“You can’t be good at everything, so you have to rely on your team.”

“If you can’t measure it, it didn’t happen.”

“Scientists also have to sell to bankers and lawyers and business people.”

Shout Out:

To the Rady School of Management at UCSD for helping science majors get exposure to business at the undergraduate level.

Contact Burt De Mill for a free one-hour consultation:

Email: burt@bdmconsulting.org

Phone: 760-707-9519 from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Pacific time.


David Wallace: When the Sparks Fly



Joanie interviews David Wallace, who talks about emotionally charged situations on this entertaining and enlightening episode.  David is the president of 5th Avenue Energy where he combines two of his passions, electricity and protecting the environment.  5th Avenue Energy is a San Diego based Electrical Contracting Firm that specializes in solar and renewable energy solutions in the Commercial and Industrial space.  David is a funny guy and this interview will certainly entertain you, but you will also get some valuable insights.  David has given a lot of thought to people strategies and he’s very articulate.

Highlights:

Q: Tell us about yourself.

“As a kid, I would ask for very expensive robotic toys and I would take them apart to see how they worked.”

“I am a lover of all things technical, especially renewable energy. The largest obstacle I find, is not non-technical people, it’s engineers.  They’re used to speaking about other technical things, but not the flow of electrons.”

Q: What’s the emotion you refer to?

“There’s an emotion that comes when you’re driven by something.  Frustrations can arise when it comes between protecting the budget versus protecting the environment.”

Q: What do you do to make a pleasant environment for negotiation?

“The first thing I do is check my ego at the door.  I ask questions and try not to interrupt.”

Q: How did you learn to read body language?

“I had to hone in my focus because I’m usually thinking of the next thing I’m going to say.”

Q: How do you prepare yourself for being in the right mode for different types of situations?

“It’s literally a robotic function of mine: which button do I push to get the right version of David?  I put myself in a box and I choose which box I want to be in and I don’t let myself outside of the box.”

Words of Wisdom:

“Passion can make or break a sale.”

“As nerds and technical people, we’re competitive.  We can see a discussion as a competition and it’s not necessarily that.”

“Getting someone to understand that you want to understand disarms.”

Contact David:

(951) 285-4605

david@5thavenueenergy.com

http://www.5thavenueenergy.com