Sandler Training - May 2018

WWW.CROSSROADS.SANDLER.COM / (208) 429-9275 / MAY 2018



When we first started this company years ago, we set out with a mission to change our lives. Most people have a vision for the future they want, but they don’t know how to get there. We started working with Sandler because we saw an opportunity for sustained individual growth — one that helps people bridge the gap between starting point and destination. We needed that bridge, and the tangible takeaways from this methodology offer the tools and strategies to get past the roadblocks of life. Sandler gives you the power to open your life up for the future you want.

bestselling books is entitled “You Can’t Teach a Kid to Ride a Bike at a Seminar,” and we believe that title encompasses the failures of other training models. Change takes time to truly sink in. This is why we regularly provide training for our clients. We want them to experience ongoing reinforcement and repetition so they may develop the traits necessary for growth. Sandler training has a 40-year track record of helping people achieve their personal- and professional-growth goals. Our award-winning, proven methodology has changed the lives of thousands of people. A lot of natural training philosophies teach others to become better speakers, but at Sandler, we recognize that communication is a two- way street. The most important part of communicating is listening. Many prejudices, misconceptions, and misunderstandings come from a lack of active listening. That’s why our training is centered on learning how to listen, what to listen for, how to ask meaningful questions, and ultimately, how to collaboratively get to the heart of the matter. Perhaps the most significant effect we see from Sandler’s method is how it doesn’t just create change at work, but your new skills stay with you after you leave the office. As with any new technique, the


Change with Sandler isn’t a magic trick for overnight transformations. We’re focused on real growth, maintained over a lifetime. The key to that growth is incremental, step-by-step adjustments. One of our


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most natural place to practice is at home, and many clients tell us how Sandler has changed their relationships with family members, spouses, and others. We’ve seen this holistic change in more than just our clients too. Sandler is a family business for us. All of our children have taken part in Sandler programs at some point, and they play a vital role in how we approach our company. Sandler methods are foundational aspects of how we interact with our families. We genuinely believe in the power of our training because we’ve seen it in ourselves. Companies that bring Sandler in often see a snowball effect with their business’s approach that permeates throughout their entire organization. Education creates better owners, better employees, and better citizens. That’s why our motto is “changing culture, one small business at a time.” If you’re interested in how we can help put you on a path toward meaningful change, contact us today and discover whether Sandler Training can be your vehicle for an entirely new outlook on business and life.

–Jim Stephens


One of the most challenging situations we encounter as professionals is dealing with difficult people. When someone comes to us with a negative attitude and clear issues that we need to deal with, the best way to find a mutual solution is by breaking down their defensive gates. There are five proven ways to do this that will save you time, money, and energy, as long as they come from a place of polite assertiveness. Follow these steps to turn even the most difficult situation into a compromise. LISTEN CLOSELY When someone is frustrated, they aren’t looking for unsolicited advice. They just want to be heard. For us to do this, we need to practice active listening. That means

hearing can assist in moving the discussion forward while also fortifying what is being communicated.

STAY OUT OF THE DRAMA TRIANGLE When someone is aggressive with you, don’t take the bait. It’s imperative to remain confident and in control of your emotions. This prevents us from being dragged into a victim, persecutor, or rescuer role. APOLOGIZE It’s important not to blame when apologizing; rather, validate the emotions of whomever you’re speaking with. You can’t offer a solution when someone is frustrated. It’s important at this time to take ownership of where you went wrong. Also, always remember there are two sides to every situation. FOLLOW UP Regardless of the outcome, be sure to thank the individual for their time and set up a time to follow up with them. This not only shows a commitment to solving the problem but also allows perspective to seep in on both sides of the equation.

eliminating distractions and wholeheartedly plunging into what the other person is saying.

PROVE IT Listening is only part of the battle. It’s crucial to intently participate in the conversation by acknowledging what is being said. Paraphrasing and summarizing what you are


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When Sarah Henry took over her family’s design-build firm, Gaspar’s, she was confronted with this harsh reality. She required a solution fast, and that solution was Sandler Training.


Sarah’s father, Rich Gaspar, started Gaspar’s in 1974 as a single operator. After 10 years of quality production, Sarah’s mother joined the firm as a designer. This would launch Gaspar’s from being a traditional contracting firm to a design-build firm. With a design-build firm, you hire a single company to do both the design of your home, exterior and interior architecture, and the building of the project. It creates a one-stop-shop experience for home seekers who want to build a custom house. For the first 30 years of the business, Gaspar’s was run out of the basement of the family’s home. In 2002, when the firm had about 10 employees, Sarah left her career in HR and decided to join the family business. Soon, the company left the basement and moved to a new office space.

When businesses go through a transition in ownership, there are bound to be hurdles. When family is involved, those hurdles can quickly turn into ditches.

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“As any small business knows, there are no official roles. You’re

always wearing multiple hats, but I started off roughly in the area of HR and bookkeeping,” Sarah says about her first days at Gaspar’s. Wearing multiple hats was just one battle of many she encountered when she started. Sarah’s very first interaction with an employee was a worker who was at home with an injury. She worked to get him back on the job, installing door hardware in a rolling office chair. we had to get lean really fast,” she explains. Gaspar’s had to let go of a couple of employees, and this left extra work that needed to be done. There was no one to take on the additional work except Sarah, herself. Shortly after making the necessary changes, Sarah was able to spearhead a new revenue stream for Gaspar’s. In 2004, they added on a handyman aspect to their business, spearheading a three-pronged approach of design, build, and handyman services. The challenges of Sarah’s new venture continued. “When I joined, it was clear out, and build a project. The pieces I’m passionate about are both the budget and the scope of work, which are intertwined. The client gets real-time information during the design phase, and they can see how that affects the bottom line.” Her demonstrated passion creates an ongoing dialog with the client that mitigates potential conflict. By keeping the customer in tune with the financials and how each step affects their total costs, Gaspar’s prevents complications, like when a customer falls in love with a feature only to find out much later that they can’t afford it. GASPAR’S USP “What makes us unique is any company can design, lay

When clients can see how each step affects the bottom line, they come to respect the efficiency of work that Gaspar’s does. “We won’t go faster than the client wants to or is comfortable with,” Sarah says. Maintaining the customer’s pace allows them to spend their money on tangible parts of their home rather than get held up in the early stages. “The limit on the design time helps our clients spend that money in construction.” The design process is only expedited further by having a full-time, licensed, in-house architect and a four-person design team — something very few firms in the area have.

was, “Hold the line please,” and Rich handed the phone to Sarah’s mother.

“We had gone through a downturn, and remodeling is emotional as it is,” Sarah explained. Rich had reached the point of burning out and needed an emotional recharge. This led to Sarah’s mother taking over as the lead in sales, and she was ready and willing to absorb any training she could get. This would start a process that, in Sarah’s words, “allowed [Gaspar’s] to grow to the company we are today.” 80 percent of transitioning a business is emotion. When Sarah began the process of taking over ownership so her parents could retire, it was an emotional roller coaster. Gaspar’s needed a third party to get through their issues. Sarah remembers, “There was palpable tension


In 2004, Rich Gaspar called up Jim Stephens, a leader of

Sandler Training in the Northwest. Jim remembers the conversation for its uniqueness. He picked up the phone, and the first thing out of Rich’s mouth

… It took a toll on us.” But they didn’t immediately turn to Sandler Training.


Gaspar’s started their transition consulting with another firm, but they had no success. “They just couldn’t get us off the ground,” Sarah explained. Shortly after failing to take flight, Gaspar’s turned to Sandler Training. “We couldn’t get through our issues without facilitation. Sandler helped greatly with that. It took an outside perspective to get through it.” The change in ownership started a relationship that became woven into the very fabric of Gaspar’s existence. “For us, it’s part of our culture. You need a unified company culture where everyone speaks the same language. Sandler has helped us develop a culture of learning and curiosity, as well as all the other tools that holistically help us in all aspects of life.” Sandler’s culture merged with Gaspar’s and began a steady process of providing sustainable practices and continued value. Sarah recognized that without the proper tools, her team was always going to be bound by limitations. The Sandler Training method isn’t built solely around speaking. So much of communication training focuses on talking with confidence and conviction. But, when you’re dealing with customer experience, it’s crucial to listen . Sarah details how this concept has helped with their conflict resolution by explaining, “We go in and ask a ton of questions, listening and digesting. What are the real issues owners have with their home? Is it functional for that family?” Listening isn’t just important externally, but it’s also important internally. The tagline for Gaspar’s is “If you live in it, you should love it,” and Sarah attempts to apply this to the inner workings of her business. The tagline was brought up during a meeting recently. Sarah says, “We continually ask ourselves, A TRANSITION OF MORE THAN OWNERSHIP

‘How do we make sure we are finding the underlying issues for everything?” This question is central to how Gaspar’s approaches their meetings. It’s important for Sarah to keep her employees invigorated, but she ran into an issue when it came to Gaspar’s meetings. “We fell into a lull of having too many meaningless meetings,” she explained. It wasn’t as if Gaspar’s employees were passing around coffee mugs with the inscription, “I survived another meeting that should’ve been an email.” But as Sarah explains it, “You have to be intentional.” You can put your nose to the grindstone all you want, but when push comes to shove, you’re not going to accomplish anything without proper communication. undervalue the entirety of the package. But communication is at the very core of what the system is all about. Sure, there are sales methods and personal- development training, but the one common denominator of everything that Sandler Training teaches is effective communication. If Sandler were only presented as communication training, it would 2008. She inherited her final stake in the company just before the real estate market took a nosedive. One of her very first talking points was the nightmare of every new company leader: pay cuts. “It created stress for everyone. We cut across the board — the entire company. We didn’t lose anyone as a result, but we had a lot of rebuilding to do after that.” Why do you think Gaspar’s didn’t lose anyone when they cut pay? You could easily argue that the workers had nowhere else to go, and that might very well be the case for some, but Gaspar’s THE TOUGH TIMES Sarah became the majority shareholder of Gaspar’s in

has a history of being a firm that treats their employees right. A big part of that is the trickle-down effect Sarah’s leadership has on her team. It wasn’t always sunshine and rainbows when Sarah’s employees reacted to learning that training was becoming an integral part of their business. “There were a lot of hostages in the room. They’d say, ‘This is crap. Why would we do this?’ But now, it’s not an option, because it’s part of our culture.” Training is so ingrained in their business that it’s brought up in every interview and laid out as an expectation for all employees. “In my experience, many employees are engaged, and those who aren’t don’t stay on our team.” Sarah has about 30 percent of her company actively participating in Sandler Training on a regular basis. Ten members have weekly sales training every Wednesday for two hours. Sarah herself goes to management training twice a month, and she brings her management team with her. “It’s critical to our success. It gives us perspective, and it helps me to have an outside, third party saying the same things I am.” Sarah also receives personal coaching. Strategic planning was something Sarah plugged into wholeheartedly. “It serves as a roadmap. We look at it quarterly, annually, three years out, five years out, and forever.” A business without a plan is not a business at all. You cannot afford to just “wing it” when it comes to building an entrepreneurial future. A cook might be able to throw some ingredients around and make an edible dish, but to be a fine chef, you need a clear and detailed plan for everything you make. It’s the same for running a business. Once you have a plan clearly defined, only then can you improvise. WHAT SANDLER DOES FOR GASPAR’S

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Sandler’s methods not just because of the success it has brought her business, but because of what it does for her life. The training has helped her be more vulnerable with her team and approach business uniquely. “Initially, it’s really strange to invest in the concept of trying to find pain as opposed to finding benefits. Working on what’s not working seems counterintuitive. Although now, I understand it’s not counterintuitive at all.” It is common for many leaders to only focus on the good and not seek out the problems in their teams. They don’t want to focus on negativity, but in turn, that’s precisely what happens when they let issues fester. By not seeking out the problems in your business and in yourself, you create a breeding ground for dysfunction. There are many significant resources to plug into so you can introduce yourself to new concepts. But none of these provide constant reinforcement. Think about it for a minute: Can you learn to play a sport and perform at a high level by watching a game a couple of times a year? No, you need practice, coaching, and repetition to master your craft — the same three components you need to run a great business. That’s what Sandler Training was able to provide for Sarah. “I tell people it’s about a proven system. A lot of business owners don’t have a proven system. I tell them, ‘Here’s a system that can help you figure that out.’ It helps you identify what ideal clients are and what they are not.” If you were given a blueprint to build your company toward something incredible, would you follow it? That’s what Sandler aims to provide for all their clients. Sarah is an example of someone who’s plugged into the systems, models, and coaching, creating a culture centered on excellence. Perhaps the most meaningful takeaway any of us can gain from this case study is how having a plan defines your core values. Sarah says it better than anyone else: “It doesn’t matter what your core values are; you need to embody them. Believe in them, follow them, and create a culture around them.”

The results are hard to argue. Previously, Gaspar’s hovered around $2–$3 million per year in sales volume. In 2017, Sarah set an audacious goal to reach $8 million. Even though they monitor the books on a daily basis, when they sat down at the end of the year and looked at the final numbers, they were astonished to find they had reached her goal. The Sandler training she was involved in had fueled the company’s growth to previously- unimaginable levels. When asked how Sandler helped her team, Sarah explained “Now, we have constant focus on improvement in all we do. That created its own momentum. We would not be the company we are today without the work we’ve done with Sandler.” might expect Sarah to have a chip on her shoulder. Well, it couldn’t be further from the truth, and she doesn’t view her gender as a detriment. “I think I have been fortunate because I don’t feel like I have a lot of disadvantages. I walk into a room, and I view myself not as a woman, but as a successful business owner.” The lens through which she views herself plays a part in her success as a leader and a person. Sarah has the same level-headed outlook for other areas of life as well. “My dad always said, ‘Take risks and try things,’ when I was growing up. It gave me the courage to go out and fail.” The fear of failure is one of the main killers of greatness. But Sarah didn’t see this just as a blessing for her; she has the insight to BREAKING MOLDS As a female working in a very male-dominated industry, you

understand that her upbringing may have been different from others’. Not every one of her employees was taught to look at failure the same way she does. “I try and impart that to my staff,” she said when explaining that failure does not define her. Sarah approaches her business from her unique worldview accompanied by the culture built by Sandler Training and the experience she has in her field. It’s both humble and insightful. “I believe that we are always growing and learning. That’s an important belief. It allows us to map out how we interact with one another.” This growth mindset permeates how Gaspar’s does business, and it’s at the center of their morale. A lot of companies “spend most of their time being afraid of conflict. They don’t have a courageous conversation. They spend a lot of time dancing around personal baggage.” As a business, you can’t afford to have a fear of conflict. It’s one of the major concepts in Patrick Lencioni’s book “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team”: fear of conflict can tear down even the most successful of businesses. Culture is nothing without the people manning it. What makes Sarah different than many other business owners is she’s always striving to grow and become better. It’s common to encounter entrepreneurs that assume they have it all covered and don’t need help. These owners focus so much on the business that they stop growing as individuals. Sarah applies herself to THE SANDLER TRAINING PERSPECTIVE




In order to survive in the intensely competitive contemporary marketplace, businesses need to be more nimble and collaborative than ever. There’s no time to play telephone around the office, hold unnecessary meetings, or constantly update members of the team about every little detail of a project. What’s more, as companies expand and workers begin working remotely, it becomes increasingly difficult to keep everyone on the same page. Luckily, there’s Slack, a streamlined messaging app that brings every communication across your entire company under a single platform. As many businesses are surely aware by now, Slack is perhaps the most hyped, lauded collaborative tool on the market, and for good reason. Let’s start with its primary feature: instant chat and messaging. The application connects users in real time, but it also understands that not everyone is needed for every conversation and that not every discussion should be accessible to the same employees. You can set up open conversations in both one-on-one and sub-group settings while restricting access to keep out unwanted or unneeded parties. If your group has a question for a particular member of your team who isn’t in the chat, it’s easy to tag any user across the network with a simple @mention. Then, they can simply join, talk it out, and leave when their task is complete. So far, these features may seem fairly basic. Aside from the robust and crystal- clear implementation, which makes navigating the program a breeze, online chat has been around for years. But when you account for Slack’s wide array of additional tweaks and features to the common chat formula, it really shines. For instance, everything within Slack is automatically indexed and archived. Whether you’re a team member catching up on a project after a day off or a manager reviewing productivity among your marketing team, with a simple search, you can track down old communications. These archives also index any file that’s uploaded within the system, allowing users to search for keywords not only in the chat, but in any shared Word or PDF documents throughout the network. It’s just one feature of many that makes life easier. And that’s exactly what Slack does: It simplifies your life. With an attractive and easy-to-use interface, the program gets out of the way, allowing you and your team to interact clearly and rapidly with no obstructions. There’s simply no better way to build a space of transparency and synchronicity throughout teams, large or small.

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The United Way of Treasure Valley Spotlight

NONPROFIT SPOTLIGHT: UNITED WAY OF TREASURE VALLEY SMALL LOCAL BUSINESSES MAKING A BIG DIFFERENCE By partnering with other local and national nonprofits, the United Way has built a network centered around their mission of changing lives. These strategic partnerships allow their business to tap

Nonprofits are some of the most underused weapons for change in modern society. These business entities hold the power to meaningfully affect the lives of others with their mission-driven purpose. Unfortunately, so many of these life-altering opportunities fall by the wayside because the organization lacks leadership. We are always looking for ways to empower nonprofits, and that’s precisely why the United Way inspires us. Our local chapter of this worldwide charity has been a phenomenal catalyst for change. They serve as a blueprint for a well-run nonprofit. What the United Way of Treasure Valley does is irreplaceable for our community. Many people don’t think of homelessness as a major issue in Idaho. However, the Nampa School District has more than 1,400 children who fight this problem on a daily basis. The United Way helps these underprivileged youths by providing otherwise unavailable funding so they can graduate high school.

into a broader resource pool and achieve a higher quality of service. FamilyWize provides options for communities to save on prescription drugs. The Idaho Suicide Prevention Hotline is a partner because the United Way is passionate about their cause. These opportunities widen their reach. The United Way uses their programs to achieve their three-pronged approach to health, education, and financial stability. Our local branch provides funding for initiatives on healthy eating and proper hygiene — services our underserved communities wouldn’t have otherwise. If you’re interested in partnering with the United Way or want to know some of the ways they’ve inspired us to be better leaders, reach out today. We’re passionate about more than just developing your business. We’re dedicated to our community as well.


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