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WHAT UGLY SWEATER PARTIES CAN TEACH YOU ABOUT CLIENT INTERPRETATION FIND YOUR EDGE
Everyone loves an ugly sweater party around the holidays. It’s good-natured fun to find garments that say no to the fashion clichés and commit to lighthearted fun. There are the people who sift through secondhand stores to find memorabilia from the 80s — complete with shoulder pads and a hardly recognizable Rudolph — and then there’s the new interpretation of the holiday sweater that lights up and has a reference aimed at younger generations. It’s a wonderful display of holiday cheer, but it makes one wonder how it compares to the costumes we wear on a daily basis? Whether you want to admit it or not, you wear a costume every day if you’re in business. It’s a disguise because our attire is not based on comfort; we want to be viewed as successful. For me, it’s a sports coat and tie because my costume needs to fit my role, which is pivotal to the success of my interactions with clients. I know that others make assumptions based on interpretations, and at the center of those inferences are the clothes I wear. I was coaching a client a few weeks back, and they were struggling to pinpoint why their sales were dropping so rapidly. As we got to talking, I noticed a critical point that could be the issue. You see, the client made one significant change that they never considered would have an impact. Rather than the sales team wearing their traditional attire, they began dawning embroidered
polos with the company name. They started getting turned away at the door; they were interpreted as “salesy” because of the way they presented themselves. I realized the clothing might be the issue because I encountered it myself, only the situation was the exact opposite.
“ “I KNOW THAT OTHERS MAKE ASSUMPTIONS BASED ON INTERPRETATIONS, AND AT THE CENTER OF THOSE INFERENCES ARE THE CLOTHES I WEAR.”
Years ago, I was on a sales call with a marketing company. I walked in their front door dressed in a suit and tie, looking to dazzle with my professionalism. The prospect invited me in, and as I entered the premises, I saw a pool table, a pingpong table, kids in flip-flops and shorts, and guess what? I didn’t make that sale. On the flip side of that, when my wife, Joan, was doing the
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bookkeeping for our remodeling business while raising four kids, she sometimes needed to engage with others in her casual clothes. She noticed a significant decline in the way she was treated based on what she was wearing. If you can’t be too formal, and you can’t be too casual, but you also can’t wear your company polo, which should be right in the middle, then what’s the solution? You need to match your attire to the industry. When I went to the marketing company, brimming with civility, my attire did not match, and therefore, they assumed I could not relate. The client I coached benefited from understanding whether a professional approach or causal approach would connect with their ideal demographic. If we’re spending time qualifying our prospects, you can believe they are doing the same. People want to be related to, and one significant way we can do that is through how we dress.
The best part about an ugly sweater Christmas party is the level playing field. No matter whether it’s extravagant or straightforward, everyone commits to being silly, and there’s no right or wrong way to do that. From all of us at Sandler Training, we hope you have a wonderful holiday and a happy new year! –Jim Stephens FEELING THE PAIN OF PRODUCTIVITY? TRY OUR NEW 6-WEEK COURSE
We all know the age-old adage that what got you here won’t get you there. This concept has never been more evident. Many of us have felt the growing pains associated with a booming economy and a busy year. While extensive growth is often accompanied by the joy of success, it also shines a spotlight on our deficiencies; sometimes the talents of our team are limited to the outdated systems we employ. Many leaders blame themselves, but in
actuality, the added work on their plate can become so substantial that they forget the importance of continuing education as a means to provide professional growth. This year, we’ve built a new curriculum focusing on the six critical skills that can take your supervisors or project managers to the next level. The new rubric is built from the communication skills that Sandler offers, ensuring we make teams that focus on productive communication and quantifiable results. Our six-week course will start on Jan. 15 and take place every two weeks until March 19. Enrollees of this class will learn the communication skills necessary to effectively interact with staff, ask the right questions, increase performance, and teach coaching concepts on time management and personal productivity. If you’re looking for a way to provide additional support to the key people in your organization, reach out to us to set up a conversation. Our team believes wholeheartedly in this course’s ability to get the results you need.
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SANDLER TRAINING HELPS TAYLORED RESTORATION REMODEL THEIR BUSINESS
Depending on the study, family businesses comprise 50–60 percent of the United States’ gross domestic product and 63 percent of the workforce. They make up the spine of our job market and contribute to the overall success of our communities. Many of you reading this may work for a family business or own one. You might even be employed by one without realizing it — Walmart, Oracle, and Ford are all family-run operations. In spite of the fact that these organizations are considered to be industry leaders, they are still subject to the same pitfalls other businesses face. In some cases, they can be even more
volatile than non-family-run organizations. This vulnerability is never more apparent than when a family-run company transitions from one generation to the next.
According to Aileron, a nonprofit dedicated to helping private business owners, less than one-third of family businesses survive the transition to second-generation ownership. And 50 percent of those don’t make it to the third generation. It’s an extension of the motto “Shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves in three generations.” Financial planners explain this idea by showing how the first generation makes money, the second generation spends money, and the third blows it. At Sandler Training, we help businesses through this adjustment so they come out stronger and more prepared for success than ever. If you remember past case studies, companies such as Gaspar’s and Cougar Mountain Software brought in Sandler Training to help make sure they didn’t end up on the small-business scrap heap. Taylored Restoration of Alaska is another example.
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Working primarily in insurance restoration and remodeling, Taylored Restoration is a second-generation family-owned business, and it’s a successful one. They have 92 full-time employees and a corner on the market in the Anchorage area. To avoid becoming that second generation that sees the family business begin to dwindle, Trent Taylor was determined to promote growth, starting with implementing lessons from the past. “Our parents taught us early on to not remain the same. You have to be willing to change to be successful.” Many companies that go through a generational shift struggle because of a change in their ideological paradigms — one style of leadership promotes certain philosophies, then new management flips the status quo by implementing different systems. When this happens, employees will either embrace change or cling to comfort zones. But there is a way to prevent animosity and mitigate discomfort. “Our parents taught us that not everything has to be your idea. We took that model into our business. Not all of the ideas that have benefited our business have been from us. They’re from our employees and other professionals,” explains Trent. When you allow employees to have a voice in the forming of new hierarchies, you increase personal investment and overall ownership. The result is happier teammates and a more productive environment. Ownership combats the business-killing thought of “It’s not my job,” so when implementing new systems or transitioning leadership, bringing in internal and external ideas can create a more cohesive team. Transitioning a business to the next generation is an emotional minefield and can often lead to misunderstandings. Trent explained just how intensive it can be. “There was a lot of pain. It was about a 7–8-year buyout. It was a process that forced a lot of growing up and
understanding of the business.” Pride and lack of trust can rule the day if you let them, and in some cases, that requires mediation; in others, it requires patience. In the case of Taylored Restoration, the latter proved to be beneficial. “It was good my parents made me wait awhile. When we started the process, I was in my early 30s and ready to rule the world. The fact that it was a 7–8-year buyout allowed us to mature a little bit.” Time is the healer of all wounds, but it is also the best way to turn weaknesses into strengths. In Trent’s case, making him wait forced him to go through a process of self- actualization. It helped him recognize one stumbling block many people encounter when taking control. “We all have the mentality that we know what’s right, and now that we have the keys to the car, we know how to drive it better.” This mindset can be beneficial in the short term but lead to long-term complications — taking over is rooted in ambition, but leadership has a foundation in collaboration. To overcome this, Trent looked to the past. “The people in front of us were pretty smart. My parents had different personalities. I needed to learn to appreciate what they did to make the business work and then add my style to it.”
Trent used the DISC assessment for internal communications
to imprint his identity on Taylored Restoration. For those of you who work with us, you know we value the results of this personality profile. We explain it as having a home-court advantage that allows you to improve your company’s communication. It’s crucial to have conversations that allow the other person to engage in the ways they are most comfortable. You can’t bring them into an unfamiliar or hostile environment and expect meaningful dialogue to occur. Discussions need to let the other person feel like they’re the Seahawks at CenturyLink Field, not LeBron James when he first visited Cleveland as a member of the Miami Heat. You can only do this if you understand the natural tendencies of the person you’re communicating with. Much like our president and CEO, Jim Stephens, Trent’s DISC results yielded a high D, meaning he’s a dominant personality. D types tend to be more assertive, headstrong, and authoritative, which often results in them functioning in managerial positions. “The challenge
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is in slowing down. I assumed everyone thought like me, and it caused some issues.” Trent’s struggle is not uncommon to most D types. Their bullish tactics can thrust them into confrontational situations, forcing them to fight their way out. When communicating with other D’s, this natural tendency doesn’t tend to create much tension. “When I’m with another D, it’s no problem. But when I’m with C or S personality types, I have to adapt. Otherwise, communication is a lot more difficult.” A C type tends to be more detailed- oriented, and an S is more of a compassionate seeker of harmony. Often, D personalities will have significant complications with I types. I is more of a talkative people person, and D sees that creativity as a hindrance to progress. It would be like putting an executive and an artist in the same room and then asking them to make a cake in under 30 minutes. Without the understanding of how each other communicates, the only thing that’s going to result from that partnership is good television. understanding. It helps me learn other personalities.” The results help foster connections that allow teammates and leaders to better work together. Some businesses will put the results on name tags or on signs at the employees’ desks. That way, everyone can provide home- court advantage for the receiver in the conversation exchange. It creates an environment that gets results and keeps morale high. Many managers fail to understand that communication doesn’t happen on their terms, but rather on their teammates’, and that means leaders must branch out of their comfort zones. If an I personality type is in a leadership role and they are communicating with a D, understanding “Every employee takes a DISC analysis. There’s no right or wrong, just an
how to ask leading questions and provide direct feedback becomes pivotal to how that verbal exchange will go. If the I tries to dance around the emotions of the D and talk to them like they are another I, the conversation will not bear any fruit. Even worse, because of their dominant nature, the D could potentially become frustrated and disregard the I. This is why leadership is such a challenge; we’re forced to adapt our conversation methods to meet others on their levels. It requires a high degree of emotional intelligence and problem-solving skills. Understanding personality types also helps when learning best practices from other businesses. The more a company grows, the more imperative it becomes to share information, especially when your geography has you isolated. “Being in Alaska, things hit us later than the lower 48 states,” says Trent. That isolation also includes access to novel business concepts. Where most would sit back and wait as their city caught up to the times, Trent went looking for solutions to stay up-to-date with the best of the best, which led him to Business Networks. Since the 1980s, Business Networks has been helping members improve their BUSINESS NETWORKS
companies through peer review, and Trent has seen substantial benefits. “We’re able to work with businesses across the U.S. No one in our state has a business like ours, so we’re able to use this network to speak with other business owners and share our successes and failures. It’s been invaluable.” Not having access to other similar businesses makes for good market share, but it also creates limitations when trying to implement better systems. In some cases, complacency can set in because there’s no threat to your company, and that’s when poor service arises. Nothing kills long-term success faster than unsatisfied customers. Competition is usually a source of accountability, but when you have minimal threats, it takes an astute business owner to seek out a system of checks and balances. “You can go to a convention, and people say lots of stuff, and you never know what’s real. With the Business Networks process, you go through all financials and procedures, there’s a company that hosts you, and you can interview the company. There’s not a lot to hide from.” The reciprocation of those actions helps create a relationship that aids all the businesses in the group. As Trent explains it, “You make a big brother bond,” but not one with wedgies or wrestling. “People want
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Trent explained us best when he used the term “communication training.” That’s why many of our clients report more effective conversations at home. What we do may center around business development, but the concepts can easily translate to personal relationships. “I use it with my kids. Instead of telling them what to do all the time, I lead them there with questions.” It’s an effective method to help your children think critically and be more effective problem solvers. When they can understand why they are doing something or be empowered to do so on their own, willingness is just one of many benefits. Using Sandler methods can also help create more meaningful discussions among spouses. “My wife and I see the benefits of listening,” says Trent. “It has shown me that understanding is much better than being heard.” At the root of our human experience, presents like the next iPhone or LED TV are inconsequential compared to being respected. We’re happy to have done that for Taylored Restoration and look forward to many more successes in 2019.
to be their own boss. That’s why they’re entrepreneurs. But these networks are like a board of directors. Everyone has everyone’s best interests in mind.” As Jim Stephens says, “You want to play tennis with someone better than you.” Ultimately, it helps push you forward.
Our methods focus on finding pain and growing relationships from a mutual resolution, but often, this focuses on external, client-facing interactions. With Taylored Restoration, our concepts were used for internal operations. “Years ago, I thought the business was failing, and then we realized there were really only one or two things causing this pain. You get distracted by that. We’ve taken that concept of pain and have realized it only comes from not asking questions or closing loops.” The result? “Saving more money, happier customers, better clients, and better communication in the company.” We couldn’t ask for a better return on investment. for 92 employees, it’s easy to distance yourself and focus on more specialized tasks, but Trent is all about culture and practicing what he preaches. “We spend a lot of time working on communication with the help of the DISC. I check in for 15 minutes to direct reports. At first, you don’t want to waste that time, but it’s not a waste. It creates camaraderie, understanding, and trust. It allows for freedom for the rest of the week.” People want to be inspired and know that someone has their back. It helps not only with recruitment and retention, but also productivity. If you’re wondering if employees would work harder for someone based solely on trust, just ask yourself, would you? CULTURE Trent is an expert in company culture. When you’re responsible
While Business Networks helps by providing best practices
that pertain directly to the construction industry, we help Taylored Restoration with their operations by utilizing multiple programs. Most of our constituents consider our service to be sales training, and while that’s certainly a foundation of what we do, the way Trent relays our abilities to his team is much more of an accurate representation of what we do. “I’ll hear some resistance, like ‘I’m not in sales’ or ‘I’m not in management,’ but we promote it as ‘communication training.” Much of our philosophy is centered on communication methods and learning how to generate high- quality conversations. “No one likes to be told what to do. The whole concept of questions versus telling ... I can’t express how beneficial it is, especially during emergencies or times of stress. You can just put your foot in your mouth and start answering before thinking about it.” The beauty of the Sandler system is that the concepts can be used internally as well as externally. It helps with sales as well as community dialogue between coworkers. It’s not just asking questions, but also finding pain as well.
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LET YOUR IDEAS FLOW CREATIVE HUB ENSURES POLISHED ADS
TAKE A BREAK
You’ve been there, just like everyone else, scrolling aimlessly through your newsfeed, when something catches your eye. You know it’s an ad, but you stop and stare anyway. Maybe it’s a video making innovative use of a 360-degree camera. Maybe it’s a carousel of images telling an engaging story.
Or maybe the ad is broken.
From image text with glaring formatting faux pas to videos in the wrong aspect ratio, there’s a lot that can go wrong with mobile advertising. Having an innovative social media ad flop because of technical problems is a huge waste of time and money. Thankfully, Facebook has created a space to let you work out all the bugs before your next mobile campaign goes live: Creative Hub.
At its core, Creative Hub is a space to let your (or your marketing team’s) imagination run wild. Facebook created this resource to help small- business owners go from having an idea to nailing an effective launch without needing to be programming engineers. The interface allows you to upload ad mockups securely, where you can preview exactly how they will behave on Facebook and Instagram’s mobile apps.
We have 20 complimentary copies of this new book to send out. If you’d like one, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (208) 429-9275 to request your free copy!
Not only does Creative Hub let your team see an ad take shape, it allows them to do so from across zip codes. With cloud-based project folders, you can collaborate with creatives, executives, and customers across the globe. This streamlines workflows and ensures your next mobile ad ticks all the right boxes.
These tools are all well and good, but what if the creative juices just aren’t flowing? That’s where Creative Hub’s “inspiration” section comes in. This is the icing on the cake: Facebook has curated some of the best mobile ads from top brands to show off just how much the medium can do. You can even drill down into the exact format you want to use, such as looking at the best applications of vertical video. Creative Hub is a huge boon for small marketing teams with big ideas. We’ve use it for our own social media campaigns, and the amount of time and stress saved by being able to see a working mockup has been invaluable. And the best part of all? This powerful marketing tool is completely free!
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INSIDE THIS ISSUE
What Does Your Costume Say About You?
Our New 6-Week Course That Will Change Your Business
Sandler Training Helps Taylored Restoration
The Key to Great Mobile Ads
Hear From Jack Jack And Taco on Why You Should Adopt Them
THE IDAHO HUMANE SOCIETY If you’re looking for a gift that lasts a lifetime this holiday season, you won’t find it on Amazon or at department stores. Instead, head down to the Idaho Humane Society and pick up a furry friend. The love of an animal is truly TACO
ADVOCATING FOR THE WELFARE OF ANIMALS
Hello. Forgive me while I stretch a little bit. I’m trying to work out some kinks from the ball of yarn I just got done playing with. Unlike Jack Jack, I have one first name and know exactly who I am, even at 10 weeks old. I’m a domestic shorthair cat, I weigh about 3 pounds, and I like the sophisticated pursuit of the ultimate catnip. I usually spend my time on the more sensible things in life, but I also like the occasional snuggle, provided it comes with a good ear scratch. I will not claim to be above a good ear scratch. these animals needs a home. If you’re allergic to animals but are interested in supporting the cause of this local organization, IdahoHumaneSociety.org has more information on how you can donate. They also have birds, gerbils, rabbits, and other animals available for adoption, all of which make for great companions for years to come. Jack Jack and Taco are just two of over 90 animals available at the Idaho Humane Society. Each one of
irreplaceable and can bring more rewards than any material present. There are plenty of animals ready to be adopted, but don’t take our word for it. Hear it for yourselves, straight from the dogs’ and cats’ mouths.
I have two first names, both of which are the same, and I super duper love you. Treats are just the best, and so are hikes, and so are walks, and sniffing stuff. Sometimes, I like to snooze. The wonderful people here at the humane society tell me I’m super young, and apparently, I’m a Labrador retriever mix. I don’t know what that means. I just know I love you. And treats.
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