Paul Castain from Castain Training Systems joins Jamie McLennan, Will Crabtree, and Deborah Corn to continue the discussion on cultivating sales teams. He shares killer interview questions, advice for hiring, training, and keeping the best salespeople for your print business, creating incentives and celebrating wins, and why telling a disaster story can generate positive results. (Transcript and PDF download below)
Mentioned in This Episode:
Paul Castain: https://www.linkedin.com/in/paulcastain
Castain Training Systems: https://yoursalesplaybook.com/
PrinterChat Episode with Paul Castain Part 1: https://podcasts.printmediacentr.com/printerchat-lessons-from-the-sales-playbook-with-paul-castain/
Profiles Incorporated: https://www.profilesincorporated.com/
Jamie McLennan: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jamieprints
DMR Graphics: www.dmr-graphics.com/
Will Crabtree: https://www.linkedin.com/in/will-crabtree-b130a346
Sign Parrot: https://signparrot.com/
Gorilla Gurus: https://gorillagurus.com
Gorilla Gurus Marketing Happy Hour: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/gorilla-gurus-marketing-happy-hour/id1586683994
Deborah Corn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/deborahcorn/
Print Media Centr: https://printmediacentr.com
Project Peacock: https://ProjectPeacock.TV
Girls Who Print: https://girlswhoprint.net
Print Across America: https://printacrossamerica.com
[00:00:02] DC: This is the true story of two printers, who agreed to podcast with me and have their opinions recorded. Listen to what happens when printers stop being polite and start getting real.
[00:00:14] JM: Hi, this is Jamie McLennan.
[00:00:15] WC: And this is William Crabtree.
[00:00:15] DC: I’m your host, Deborah Corn. Welcome to The PrinterChat Podcast.
[00:00:26] DC: Hey, everybody, this is Deborah Corn, your Intergalactic Ambassador. Welcome to Podcasts from the Printerverse, more specifically, The PrinterChat Podcast. I love talking to Jamie the printer and Will the printer. Hello, gentlemen.
[00:00:38] WC: Hello, Jamie. Hello, Deborah.
[00:00:40] JM: Hello, Deborah. How’s everybody doing?
[00:00:43] DC: I’m fine. I’m so glad to see you guys. We’re going to do our catch up and I have to start with Jamie, because as everybody who listens to this series knows, we are on video just so we can see each other. For the first time ever, Jamie is in an office and not us sitting in front of in an open space in a printing plant. So, please start with that.
[00:01:06] JM: Thanks for those, Deborah. Yes, I was the lucky one to get a new office when we moved to our new digs. There’s only a couple office spaces, and the owner said, “You need to take the office. You do more than anything here and you need some quiet time. So, this is yours.” Yes, I have a new office. I’m and trying to put stuff in it. I’m not used to decorating anything. So, I’m used to having one little space and running in and running out and going. Woo, new office.
[00:01:31] WC: Congratulations.
[00:01:33] DC: P.S. for everyone on video, we know you’re not good at decorating. Just kidding.
[00:01:36] JM: No. Definitely not.
[00:01:37] DC: Luckily, you’re at a print shop. You might be able to come up with some ideas.
[00:01:40] JM: Yeah, I keep stealing print samples. That’s my decorations.
[00:01:44] DC: What else is going on? Obviously, you moved. What else is going on?
[00:01:49] JM: We moved in. Yes, that’s all good. SwissQ is up and running, loving it. Still shopping for our Colorado, still going back and forth with those guys down at Cannon, and that’s kind of still there, looking to do that, and that’s actually just on hold because we’re also – like we’re looking to buy something. Hopefully in the next podcast, we’ll be able to announce what we’re moving into, just a little, this is what’s coming next. We’ll be able to announce that, but it’s days away, I hope. So, we should be expanding some more. All good things going on here in Pennsylvania.
[00:02:20] DC: Excellent. Will, the printer.
[00:02:23] WC: Oh, there’s so many things, so many stuff, so many things. So, we got a RICOH 7200 is up and running today, was delivered and installed on Friday. But there was an issue with the new Fiery. Our 91 is being taken out tomorrow and replaced with a 92. So, we’ll have a RICOH 9200 installed tomorrow. We have two new presses on the floor type of printer. Our best cutter C and C is completed and is set to ship. We should have it in hand in the next three weeks.
We did an all hands-on deck at Sign Parrot over the weekend. This past weekend, we took volunteers from Tampa Printer as well. We had about I think 20 people showed up and we did like a clean out overhaul, make trips to the dump, just like getting everything kind of fresh start, which is really what Sign Parrot has kind of needed. I’ve had my hands kind of on the wheel, at Sign Parrot, the last like month plus. It was on the struggle bus. They were making big mistakes and costing a lot of money. I keep kind of driving this point in that signage and printing are two very different things, and they do share some similarities.
But one of the biggest challenges and one of the biggest differences is, when you fuck up on a business card, you’re talking like two bucks to make it right. When you fuck up on a car wrap, you’re talking like three grand to make it right. So, there’s a big difference in that. What I’ve been focusing on is being present and having my doors open and listening to what’s going on. We’re having a morning meeting every day. We’re having sit downs and discussions about any big project. So, anytime a wrap comes in, I drove a half-a-million-dollar electric bus today. That’s an airport transport bus that we had parked and it had to move into the bay. So, I moved it into the bay today.
But we had a whole big stand up meeting specifically about that. We figured out what was the best way to lay out the graphics. We’re now doing production proofs on wraps. We’re taking chunks or big squares from various random parts within the artwork, so that we can look for anything that’s raster or anything that’s not vector or missing clipping masks. We’re doing full like scaled down prints on the same material that we’re running the wrap on, and we’re burning like $100 in material on these proofs and we’re doing this for every job now.
But the point is, is like I would rather burn 100 bucks, than burn 3,000 bucks on the back end. This process is now making sure that – and it was happening all the time where the rip would knock something out because of a clipping mask and they wouldn’t find it until they’re putting it on the fucking vehicle. Or you would have your color changes or missing elements or just designers doing stupid shit that made the wrap bad. There’s just so many things. This is the tip of the iceberg on the problems, but really focusing on workflow, trying to ensure that we have processes in place and catching problems before they happen, so that instead of being firefighters, we’re problem solving at the beginning, and not putting out fires all the time.
That is underway and seen a really, really hard right turn and sign period. I’m excited about that. I’m very proud of my team. They’ve all stepped up. We had like 60 jobs that we’re in overdue. We now have zero. That’s happened over the last two weeks. We completely changed the workflow of like how we’re processing bringing jobs from pre-press into production. It’s working like gangbusters. That’s super exciting.
Then my – really excited about this one, myself survey has been tested and true and is working. We are about to roll that out. I did the voiceover today for the instructional video for that. For self-survey, what self-survey is, it is an eight-inch by eight-inch square, we are shipping them to the client for free. They tape the eight-inch by eight-inch square on the window or the door or whatever it is that they want measured, and we use that eight-inch by eight-inch square for scale. Now, that will give us the dimensions to create mock ups and give an estimate. It’s not production. You cannot use it for production. It’s got – we’ve tested it on a bunch of stuff and it’s got a variance of a plus minus about one inch. So, we’re just blowing everything up two inches to account for that in our mock ups, in our estimates.
So, instead of driving all over town to get measurements, because if you ask a client to use a tape measure and measure something for you, they think that you have asked them to drive to fucking Bangladesh or something. This is our solution to that, to ensure that we can get measurements without having to drive all over town, just to give people quotes, right? Because that’s what we were doing. We were driving around measuring things, giving people quotes, and then not converting the job. So, this is my solution for that. It works. I’m excited to roll that out.
[00:06:46] JM: I love it, Will. That’s awesome. I’d like to learn how it goes and how it’s done because we’ve thought about the same thing. Really interested in learning about that.
[00:06:55] WC: Trademark it. I’m trademarking it. No, I’m kidding.
[00:06:57] JM: If you trademark the name, sure. Self-survey. I love it. One thing we do here, which maybe you guys could do, we do 10 of 10, and it’s like a quick 10-minute meeting in the morning at 10 o’clock. It doesn’t always last 10 minutes, but it’s a time we kind of review things that go over like, “Hey, any pressing jobs? Any jobs that are funky, that we really need to get eyes on today? Is it due today? Is it due tomorrow? That kind of helped us keep our stuff in line, follow our workflow. But there’s certain things during the week that come up and like, “Hey, today, we got to go over this.” Everybody’s there, grab these three people, pull beside and say this project, everybody’s going to have their eyes on. Double check this.” We kind of instituted that a few years ago, and we’re still liking it.
[00:07:38] WC: Yes, I know. In Sign Parrot, we open at eight o’clock and the meeting is between 8 and 8:30 depending on when people are rolling in and how the morning is going. It’s a 10-minute stand up. We all stand in the production room. It’s front of house, back of house, wrap installers, the whole team, everybody gathers. This is your opportunity, you got a problem, you got an issue, ask for help. We’re pushing really, really hard on communication, right? No one’s on an island. If there’s an issue, if there’s a problem, work by committee, right? Let’s bring up the problem. Put eyes on it. Even these big proofs, we’re bringing not just the designers, but all the installers. It’s all a community where we’re all working together. You lay this thing out, and the CSR is like, “Oh, that looks weird.” Everyone else is like, “Oh, shit. Yes, that’s fucked up.” Like there was a word, we were doing this electric bus. So, the airport bus was the thing today, and it had the word emissions in it, right?
Double S had a white stroke on the Ss, and then that sat on like a white thing. The stroke got lost and the Ss just looked like they were separated, and it looked like there was a weird space between the two Ss, no one else would have saw that. But as soon as you see it, it’s like, you can’t unsee it, and then you blow that up to be eight inches tall. No, we’re going to nudge that in and we’re going to fix that, even though it was a customer’s artwork and we didn’t send them a proof, we just fixed it. Because it would have gone to 10 other people and delayed the job. So, no one knows that we fix it unless they listen to this podcast.
[00:08:54] DC: I have a quick production question for you, Will, if you don’t mind.
[00:08:58] WC: Absolutely.
[00:08:59] DC: Now, back in the day, mind you, it was back in the day, when we used to do wraps, we would just get color proofs of like in the template of the bus or, like, a company would supply us with the template for whatever we were wrapping. We have to tell them the make and the model of the vehicle or the bus or whatever it is. They would send us a template, and we would stick the artwork in the template, and we get color proofs back. We never got big giant squares of proofs. It seems like, is there something wrong with that process? Why are you spending so much money on the bigger things?
[00:09:36] WC: Here’s where this comes from, and the reason that we’re doing this. We do a color proof for the client. So, the color proof has all of the different colors of the wrap. They’re in color swatches, and then there’s a mockup of the wrap and this is like 11 by 17. This goes to the client, they approve the colors, they sign off on that to make sure that we’re getting the colors correct and it’s printed on the material. I think it’s IJ385 or something. I don’t fucking know the 3M codes.
But either way, it’s some 3M material with lamp, and we printed on that material. But what we were running into is, so when you take a photograph, and you increase the size of it, it immediately loses its quality, right? It becomes raster. When you’re talking about things on the side of a bus, or the side of a trailer, or the side of a van, that gets compounded exponentially. Now, where this spawned from as we had client provided artwork, the first panel that was caught on the first panel, thankfully, or the background image was raster. Everything in the rap was vector. You would not have seen that it was raster until you were printing it at full scale.
[00:10:34] DC: Hold on a second, I’m going to have to stop you because that is not – you would know in the pre –
[00:10:39] WC: You could zoom in on the artwork –
[00:10:39] DC: No, let me finish. The file, the image in the file, you would know by the percentage you were blowing up what the full size of the DPI would be. I’m just saying that’s a pre-press thing that you’re not catching. That’s where it gets caught. It should get caught in pre-press.
[00:10:59] WC: It should. It should. Well, here’s the difference –
[00:11:01] DC: I’m just saying. If you’re paying somebody hourly to do pre-press versus spending money on materials, just saying might want to look into that. Because we used to need to understand that at full size, the it had to be like 60 dpi or 50 dpi or something like that in order for it to look normal, which meant that it was a gigantic dpi at the smaller size, in order to scale up.
[00:11:28] WC: It’s really hard to get those images. It’s really hard to get images that are that size. There’s not a lot out there, right?
[00:11:33] DC: Correct.
[00:11:33] WC: So, you’re going to run into raster shit.
[00:11:35] DC: Well, that’s why you usually use vector art.
[00:11:37] WC: But if you’re doing photographs, or you have a background image, or you have any sort of a photograph in your wrap, then you’re going to run into rasterization.
[00:11:46] DC: I understand that. But Jamie, sometimes, Jamie, is my crazy meter. Am I being crazy with what I’m saying?
[00:11:53] JM: No, I totally understand where you’re coming from. But I also understand where Will’s coming from. So, I think it’s a little bit of blend of both.
[00:11:59] WC: It’s redundancy. It is redundancy.
[00:12:03] JM: Sometimes the pre-press guys looked at it and goes, “Yes, this looks good to me.” He’s looking at this, and then it’s like, bam, and you’re like, “How did you miss that?” It’s a sign thing.
[00:12:12] WC: My pre-press and my designers have been spitting out files with clipping masks and elements missing and colors wrong, and all kinds of – yes, sure, I should just fire these people and hire new ones. I don’t know.
[00:12:23] DC: I’m not saying that. I’m just saying that that seems to me that you’re already paying them a salary. Now, you’re throwing more money at it to double check, which by the way, I appreciate because at the end of the day, if I’m the customer, I just want my bus or my car looking pristine. I’m going to be thankful for it. I’m sure you’re pricing your jobs accordingly. But it just seems to me like you’re wasting time doing everything twice.
[00:12:49] WC: I don’t disagree with you. However, if I’m doing the job twice, which is what’s been happening, I’ve been printing the job twice, not only twice, but two and three times in some instances. I did a storefront install that we printed four fucking times. So, the point is, is if we’re having this much waste in this much mistake, maybe we can tailor this back later. But for now, this redundancy is necessary to ensure that everything that we are putting out is correct, and that we’re doing this process before we’re printing an entire roll of film, or before we’re fabricating a giant sign.
[00:13:22] DC: I totally hear you. You’re preempting a bigger disaster. But –
[00:13:25] WC: I’d rather have these conversations like, “Hey, this is raster, but it’s giant graphics. You’re not going to know until you get up on top of it.” But that conversation shouldn’t be had, after the wrap is done. That conversation should be had with, “Hey, this is going to be raster. Do you want to use this image? Or do you want to replace it?” Again, yes, you can catch that in pre-press –
[00:13:42] DC: Which by the way, they should know the first time they open the file. Not the image is going to be big enough. But let’s just leave it now because I understand what you’re saying. So, let me do my catch up because we have –
[00:13:52] JM: We should bring this up again.
[00:13:53] DC: Oh, my God, I could go on and on about how crazy it is what will is saying. But to the point, I’m just going to be a grateful customer knowing that my thing is perfect. I don’t necessarily need to know how the sausage is made, unless you want to make sure that next time I send you an image, I understand what it needs to be so that you don’t have to go through all of that with all of your customers.
Okay, let me do my catch up because we have a guest waiting, patiently. First of all, I was a guest on the Monkeying Around Marketing Tips Podcast with Gorilla Gurus and William Crabtree was the host in his lovely new podcast studio. He redid the whole area in his office, and it was an amazing experience. Actually, Will, where can people find that?
[00:14:44] WC: You can find that on gorillagurus.com. There’s a link in the menu called podcast that’ll take you to – that episode is the most recent one. So, it’s up there on the top. You can listen to all of the episodes there if you’d like.
[00:14:53] DC: Yes, and they’re also on video. You do videos as well.
[00:14:55] WC: Yes, we have on YouTube.
[00:14:57] DC: And I know I’ve mentioned before about this, My Print Across America initiative on October 25th, where we’re going to have open houses from coast to coast in the United States. I am happy to say, it is off to a wonderful start. I’m not sure if I’m allowed to mention the general’s name. So, let me just say that I have an angel who came to me from heaven, and decided that they wanted to invest their time helping me to find support, because they love this program so much. This was a volunteer thing. I mean, I’ve never had help like this gentleman is helping me.
I have like the creative brain, not exactly the person who needs to get the money from the marketing budget brain. He really has helped me create a proposal that those people can digest. Picture this and more like, here’s what you get out of it. I don’t want to say it’s dry. It’s not dry. It’s just informative in a quicker way for people to say yes. So, I’m all for it. Thank you, sir. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I will ask you next time we speak if I can mention your name. But if you listen to this podcast, thank you so much.
Okay, I mentioned that we do have a guest here. And our last podcast, we were talking to Paul Castain, the Chief Sales Officer at Castain Training Systems. We had a lovely conversation about sales. I will have the link in the show notes. We invited Paul back because we didn’t finish our conversation. This time, we wanted to focus more on strategically finding training and keeping sales people from all types of businesses, but primarily in the printing industry. So, who is Paul Castain? As I mentioned, he is the Chief Sales Officer of Castain Training Systems. Through his sales playbook program, Paul offers sales training, sales coaching, business consulting, event and keynote speaking, and tons of relevant topical content for sales reps, sales leaders, and business owners who want to sell more. His website is yoursalesplaybook.com. Link’s in the show notes. Welcome back, Paul.
[00:17:16] PC: Thank you so much for having me back.
[00:17:18] WC: Welcome, Paul.
[00:17:20] JM: Hey, welcome, Paul. Nice to have you again.
[00:17:23] PC: Nice to be here.
[00:17:24] DC: So, any comments on our catch-up conversations before we move forward?
[00:17:28] PC: I was incredibly impressed. I’m loving but everybody can’t see it. Jamie’s new space. I’m a little jealous. I’m hanging out my dining room. He’s got a wonderful working space. I got to do something about it. But not all. I was very impressed and all the things you guys are up to. I have a boring life in comparison.
[00:17:47] DC: Print Media Centr provides printspiration and resources to our vast network of print and marketing professionals. Whether you are an industry supplier, print service provider, print customer or consultant, we have you covered with topical sales and marketing content, event support, and coverage, these podcasts, and an array of community lifting initiatives. We also work with printers, suppliers, and industry organizations, helping them to create meaningful relationships with customers, and achieve success with their sales, social media, and content marketing endeavors. Visit printmediacentr.com and connect with the Printerverse. Print long and prosper.
[00:18:35] DC: Okay, Paul, so let’s just get right into it. As we mentioned in the last podcast, one of the issues in the printerverse is the difficulty in finding the hiring process, training and keeping salespeople. In our last podcast, we tackled do you actually need humans doing this, like the way Jamie and his company does it? Or do you need primarily the way Will does it, which is more with the help of Mr. Google and humans as well now. We want to kind of take it back to everybody out there who does want humans in their office. So, I’m just going to turn it over to you to kick off the conversation.
[00:19:17] PC: Okay, in terms of – so last time, I think one of the things we covered anyway is kind of where do we find these people? We talked a little bit about that some out of the box ideas or whatever. But now let’s say you’ve identified some people from whatever means, and now I really feel it has to be a process.
Now, before I tell you the process that I teach people, I have to preface and tell you, just about everybody that I presented to gives me a ton of shit for this process. The criticism initially is, “Oh, my God, this sounds like a lengthy process.” My immediate rebuttal is, so as a shitty hire. You get a bad hire, it’s going to take a lot longer than this process. Even in some cases, one of the steps that I’m going to propose in a minute, heaven forbid, is going to cost you a little bit of money. Not a lot. We’ll talk about that in a minute. Then, I tell them, my suggestion is part of the hiring process. It might set you back 300 bucks, a bad hire. I would love for a bad hire to cost me only $300.
Let me walk you through the process if I could, as quickly as I can. So, after you’ve looked at the resume and done a resume review. Let’s talk about a phone screen. Now, we talked very briefly before the podcast today, I am not a fan of having HR lead the charge on this, and I want to be very clear. Nobody’s shitting on HR. Nobody’s saying they shouldn’t be a part of the process. I just don’t think they should lead the charge. I think at some point for compliance issues, and making sure diversity, all that kind of good stuff, we should have them a part of the process, I don’t want them leading the process.
So, the phone screen is the first step in the whole thing. Very quickly, I just want to give you guys an acronym, because I would not be a good sales trainer, if I didn’t give you a corny acronym, to remember what I’m going to teach you. What I always talk about is an acronym called WRAP, like you’re wrapping up something. Not rapping, you know, like, we’re going to rap a song, which if I thought it out, I would have made that the acronym. But it’s going to be W-R-A-P.
Those are going to give you little cues of what you should be asking and looking for in the phone screen. I get, let’s just say it’s Jamie the printer, right? We don’t know each other. I’m talking with him on a phone screen. The W stands for why, as in, why is he considering a change? I’m looking for certain things. I’m not a fan of negativity. I like real people that are going to be blunt when I need them to be blunt. Not giving me lip service. But this world has enough negativity, I really don’t want it in my office all the time. So, if this person starts going down the road, “Oh, my boss is a dick”, or any of this other stuff, which people have done, it’s probably not going to go too far this interview.
But I want to know why they’re considering the change. What I do is I kind of go back through as I’m looking through their resume. All right, I see you with A, B, C company. If you don’t mind me asking you, why did you move on to X, Y, Z company? That’s the W. Okay. The R is important. It’s responsibilities that they had in these roles, because there’s a lot of people who will apply to a sales job, that are kind of giving you the impression they have experienced, which I don’t mind if they don’t, if they’re coachable and trainable. But sometimes what they think was selling was more order taking. If it’s a role that’s really heavy outbound and knocking on doors, and all that, it may or may not be a good fit, and I may have to dig a little deeper.
So, I want to know their responsibilities that they had, that they’re calling sales. A is extremely important. I want to know what accomplishments they’ve made in each role. I want winners. There is a theory that I’ve had forever, this kind of a corny saying that I have. I’m laughing because somebody on my sales team actually framed this, and gave it to me to keep on my desk, and I kind of felt like a tyrant. So, I stopped putting it on my desk. But the way I always looked at things is that there are a few seats at my table. I have to grant them to the strongest people I can. If I have people that do the work, and are capable of delivering continually and growing, there’s always a seat for them. If not, then I only have a few seats. I don’t have unlimited room and unlimited budget for sales reps.
It’s very important to me that I have people that have made some kind of accomplishments. So, I’m looking at, but the final thing is proof. Because again, we talked about this last time, everybody’s going to be shocked. Sometimes sales reps, bullshit. Sometimes, right? Not all the time, but sometimes. If I’m telling you, I’m the best thing ever, and I did this and I did that, I think you have every right to say, “Hey, when we meet, do you have any words? Do you have any plaques? You have anything like a company newsletter with your ranking? How about customer testimonials?” It’s great that you guys are saying that you’re the best. I want to know what your customers think about you.
That’s kind of the phone screen. The rest of it, it’s going to be a lot quicker. I like at least one to two interviews that, we’re going to have at different times. But now here’s where I start doing some different stuff. Somewhere in this process, I usually like to do it after the first interview. I tell them to expect a question from me coming through email. There’s a reason for it. So much of our communication has gone into the written form, and so many people again, if you looked at my blog, I always get around people. I might as well write that damn thing in crayon, man. It is littered with grammatical errors. I’m not talking about that kind of scrutiny, although, hey, if that’s what you want on your team, that’s all right. But a lot of our communication is through email.
I asked them a question, the question that I typically lean toward, it’s something like this. It’s said that people buy difference. What is your difference that attracts people to buy from you, but most importantly, continue to buy from you? Now, they answer it. I get to see how they articulate their thoughts in written form, because the world has gone this channel. Now I do something, and I advise all my clients to do it. I don’t care. If they had AI write this fucking response and it’s perfect in their eyes, push back on them. Push back on them. Give them a respectable hard time. Be contrarian. Why? Because is it possible through written communication, customers and potential clients are going to pose written objections. So, I get to see how you handle it, and present your case in a world where people might be skeptics toward print. Imagine that, right? Never happens. So, we do that with the email question.
The other step that I talked about, this is where it gets into some money. After, it could be – I’d like it before the second or third interview, if you’re going to go that long. Consider using an assessment. I hated assessments. Honestly, God, I hated them. As many of you know, I used to work for Dale Carnegie, and I got called on the carpet one day, because my team, even though we had brought in MTV, American Express, about $18 million, in a short period of time, they were pissed off, because I basically was telling my team, the self fucking assessments. I didn’t like them. I didn’t buy into it. So, they did something brilliant. They said, “We’re going to have you meet with the PhD who designed the assessment, and he’s going to have you take it. And if you still think it’s BS, don’t sell it.” I was like, “Oh, this is going to be the easiest thing in the world.” As much of a skeptic as I was, this person saw right through my soul with this damn assessment. They nailed it and explained to me why certain things were important.
I’m not affiliated with them. There’s one that I’ve recommended over time, a company called Profiles International. They’re in Austin, Texas, I believe. Last time I checked, if you’re doing like a one-off assessment, it’s about 300 bucks, which I think is pennies, compared to a really bad hire. Three hundred is getting off very, very cheap. And what you can do with this assessment, is you can use their standard assessments, looking at sales qualities, how outgoing they are. They even have a thing in there called distortion, which is a nice way of saying, “Did they bullshit on the assessments?” So, you could see that. What this assessment will do, is they’ll give you the results, and you’ll see, because you can kind of pre-design it, how it fits in with what you’re looking for.
Then, what it will do is give you a sales management report that will tell you how to manage this person. You now have an x ray, that tells you this is how Deb is – her DNA. We’ve learned amazing things about people before we’ve cut one check for payroll. One of the most interesting things we’ve learned about people is, when we have somebody who is a very quick learner, I need to know that. The reason why I need to know that as the trainer, because if I don’t go in a healthy pace, they’re going to disengage, and they’re going to have buyer’s remorse and they’re going to haul ass out of there. That assessment is worth its weight in gold.
In fact, I brought that to CGX and it was just tremendous what we learned from that. A couple of quick steps more and then I’m going to wrap this part up because I’m getting real long winded here. The other thing that I do, and this is again, where I get a lot of pushback, you’ve done the phone screen, you’ve done one or two interviews, you’ve done the assessment, you’ve done this email thing and by the way, all of these things can be done well within a week. This is not some, seven-week process, hiring the next CEO. I asked all the candidates that I’m involved with, to come up with a 30, 60, 90-day plan of how they plan on attacking this role, this job, the territory, whatever. Then, I asked them to present it. More often than not a lot of the companies I’m working with, there’s not a whole lot of face to face anymore, guys. We’re seeing just a lot more Zoom meetings and stuff.
So, we have them do it on a WebEx. With a WebEx, we could also hit record. If they come on board, I could show them how they presented a year ago and how far they’ve grown, which is just a great, great confidence booster. But here’s what I recommend that you do. You have them do this presentation, and you do two things. Again, even if this is the best demo you’ve ever experienced in your life, find something to respectfully push back, be a contrarian. What makes you so sure you’re going to pull that off in 60 days then, and see how they defend their position. Because this is the world out there right now. People aren’t saying, “Hey, wait, Paul.” I wish that world exists. It doesn’t.
Then, last but not least, give them feedback. How do they handle feedback? Is everything a personal insult? “I can’t believe you’re picking on me. I did this for you and getting all butthurt about it.” I want to know what I have before I put them on the payroll. You might listen to this and say, “My god, that was lengthy. What a pain in the ass.” Again, my argument is, so as a bad employee. That’s the process that I lay out for companies, guys.
[00:31:38] DC: That was freaking amazing. Will and Jamie are both like literally eating their microphones to ask you questions. I’m going to let Will go first because he is like freaking out down there. So, go ahead, Will.
[00:31:48] WC: Sure. Actually, I have no questions. I have no questions. No, I have no questions at all. I’m glad that this is recorded, because I’m a horrible note taker and I am going to make the guy that does all the hiring at tampa.media, which is the umbrella for all of my companies, I’m going to make him listen to this because it’s spot on. I try to follow the philosophy of fire fast, right? If somebody becomes problematic quickly, we get rid of them, right? But a lot of people are more clever and they don’t start to show their true colors until after a few months. It’s a little harder to fire fast when you’re in that position.
We have people that are the negative, or are the belly acres, or they take everything. They’re so sensitive. Everything is a slight against them. If you give them any sort of negative feedback, and I don’t have time for it. The only question that I have is the assessments. Is there like a bulk package? Can I buy like 20 for the year or something so I can get a discount on these fucking things?
[00:32:45] PC: Yes, yes. Now, it’s been a long time since I’ve done the bulk thing. I can give you an example of what we did at CGX, but this is quite a while ago, and it’s changed. So again, the price for a single one back then was between 250 and 300. I’ve seen it in the similar ballpark. Now, for a bulk package, where we had an unlimited amount, and we literally put two thirds of the sales force through it on a best practices thing that I did also, it was about 22 grand, or something like that, that we paid for it back then. Considering how many people we had and everything, the price, obviously per assessment was really next to nothing. But I’m sure they have one for like 10 or 20. Well, I had an unlimited for 22 or 25. That’s what I needed.
[00:33:36] WC: Yes. This doesn’t just apply to salespeople, right? Anyone that’s being hired for any field position, or leadership position –
[00:33:42] DC: It’s amazing.
[00:33:42] WC: – team lead, anything. Yes, let’s do it, man. Let’s do the assessment. Figure out what your strong suits are. I’m a firm believer in finding people’s strengths, and knowing what their weaknesses are, and feeding to their strengths, and avoiding their weaknesses, right?
[00:33:57] DC: Also knowing what motivates them, and to incentivize, what is the proper incentive? For some people, it’s not money.
[00:34:04] PC: You got to know 100%. You got to know before they ever come in the door. During the interview process, you’ll know.
[00:34:07] WC: Love it.
[00:34:08] DC: Jamie?
[00:34:08] JM: I love it. It took a lot to note. I love the WRAPs, definitely going to spread that around and definitely going to have the people here, listen to this. Took all those notes. The profile, it’s funny, because I just did one a couple of weeks ago with our networking group. We had a guy come in and speak and say, “This is why you should do these profiles.” Half of us at the meeting took them so they can kind of compare, and you kind of get like a color chart. You’re a red, your dominant. You’re blue. It was very cool, because they’re like, then you’ll know how to talk to people that they’re this type of person or this person. If they’re more direct or if they’re a little bit more of this.
So, it was very interesting. I just saw my report yesterday, and we got to talk about it. Now, you’re bringing it up today. So very cool. I don’t even know how much this was. This guy did it for our group just to show him like, “Hey, this is what I do for companies. This is what I help them.” I’m like, “All right, so now I know who can help us with this, which is cool.” What else? Definitely, I liked the way you said, this only takes a week. Between phone calls, that I love the email question. That’s perfect, because that’s what’s missing. That’s the part that how are you going to do those next steps? How are you going to do that?
I know people have come back and go, “This is my 30, 60, 90-day.” Then you’re like, 60 days in, we missed the 30-day, where’s the plan at? They’re kind of like, lost all of a sudden. You knew exactly what you’re doing 30 days ago, 60 days in that’s disappeared. So, yes. I love that. At least being able to have the time then to push back a little bit and saying, “How are you going to get this? How are you going to succeed doing this?”
[00:35:40] WC: Some of this stuff applies to other roles and other positions, too. It’s not for sales people. It’s a hiring process.
[00:35:48] DC: Yes, just change the question.
[00:35:50] WC: I mean, even, yes, the question is great. We dropped little instructional things, even in our help one of the ads, and how we instruct them to submit the resume. If they don’t follow those instructions, you don’t even get looked at, right? If you can’t follow the instructions of how we want you to apply for the job, then you’re not even going to get considered, right? These are ways to weed people out. But I love this, man. It’s great filtering and it really gives you a better bird’s eye view of what you’re dealing with. It takes some of those defenses down, where they’re showing you a little bit more of their true selves, instead of the mask that you get in, in most interviews.
[00:36:23] PC: Yes, were you going to say something, Deb? I don’t want to cut you off if you’re about to –
[00:36:27] DC: No. Please respond to Will, and then I have some comments and questions, and I want to move on to the next topic.
[00:36:32] PC: Sure. Just very, very quickly, and I just want to make this general statement. We discovered something very interesting about this process that we didn’t expect. When I say we, first of all, I’ve done this for a lot of companies. But the first company I did it for was Consolidated Graphics. Something unexpected happened and we found that these top performers that we were looking for, right? Again, not everybody’s going to be that that MVP player. There’s going to be some other people that are going to be slow and steady, and they’re going to help you win the race. But those real rock stars, they love this process and we actually heard this feedback from them almost word for word, like thank you for actually putting me through a process that I didn’t feel like you were just taking my pulse or seeing if I fog a mirror, that I actually knew I had to bring my A game.
So, a real top performer is going to like the challenge, and in many cases, I got the vibe like almost, “Oh, wow, a worthy opponent”, that kind of thing. It really made for some cool relationships. But Deb, you had some things you wanted to –
[00:37:41] DC: I did, but I liked that point too. It shows you that you’re serious. It’s not just like, “Oh, just come in and sell some stuff.” It’s like, “No, we’re looking for something specific.” Also, I’m just saying, I mean, taking an assessment, people like to talk about themselves. People like to learn about themselves. So, it’s something that is beneficial in many ways.
[00:38:02] DC: News from the Printerverse delivers topical sales and marketing insight, along with plenty of printspiration one time a month to inboxes everywhere. Our contributors cover the industry and the future of print media and marketing, with strategy for strengthening your customer relationships, better targeting of your prospects, and practical advice for helping your business grow. Printspiration is just a click away. Subscribe to News from the Printerverse at printmediacentr.com. Print long and prosper.
[00:38:37] DC: Okay, one comment and then two questions, please. Comment. I want the job where all I do is berate people’s emails. I’m begging you. That would be where the people answer the question and then you try to respond to them in a contrary position. I would like that job. Just get me the emails, send me the emails and I will just – I will spend all day just saying, “What is this bullshit?”
[00:39:01] WC: You know what, I’ll fill in a couple of those too, actually. It sounds like fun.
[00:39:05] PC: Let’s start a business.
[00:39:05] DC: Seriously, this has to be my job. The whole time, I’m thinking like, “I’ve been in the wrong business the entire time.” Or, “I haven’t been being paid for my skills”, which is this, by the way, pushing back on people.
[00:39:19] WC: Wait, Paul. Business idea here. Can we create an entire system where we actually send this email on your behalf?
[00:39:26] DC: Bitchfest.com.
[00:39:27] PC: I was thinking of assholeresponse.com. It’s almost like that place Dicks. They are dicks to you, like the restaurant. Not the sporting goods. We are assholes and we’re getting paid. This is our calling.
[00:39:42] DC: I will be the queen asshole for – I will volunteer. This probably –
[00:39:48] WC: Deb she holds it and everything.
[00:39:48] DC: Eighty thousand people going, “You already have that title, Deborah Corn. But thank you very much.”
Okay, two questions for you, Paul. I’m just going to ask you both at the same time. One, discuss a company that does not have an HR department, how they would go through this process. The second thing is, is that the W was why and you focused really on people who were already salespeople, and you asking them why they wanted a change. Can you address why do you want to be a salesperson? In case it’s an entry level job?
[00:40:22] PC: Okay, so let’s take that acronym, for starters. That W, why can be just – even when I teach kind of a phone template, if you will. I hate the idea of scripts. Just something that cues the memory to get you to ask questions. So, it could be, why are you considering a change? It could be why sales. It could be why us. That why can be any kind of a why that you see fit. All right. I mean, that’s my answer to that question.
[00:40:52] DC: Yes. I wanted to actually give people some ideas for what that question could be.
[00:40:56] PC: Sure. Okay, some examples. The first one is easiest one. Again, why are you considering a change from what you’re doing right now? Why sales? It could even be, why now?
[00:41:09] DC: I like, why us? I thought that was –
[00:41:11] PC: Why us? Why not?
[00:41:14] DC: That’s my favorite one, actually.
[00:41:14] WC: Did you do your research?
[00:41:16] DC: Exactly –
[00:41:17] PC: I think it also shows –
[00:41:18] DC: “Well, I saw an ad, so I just answered it.” Okay, great. Thanks. Have a great day.
[00:41:23] PC: “You’re one of to 700 people that I applied for.” But that whole why us shows if they’ve done their homework. That, to me is the hallmark of a sales rock star. I just have to divert for one second. That should be one of the questions in the job interview that you ask them. Not just why us, take me through the process that you follow to do your homework on us prior to this interview.
Now, they answered the question. Now, you are going to get some people that bullshit that. Like, “Oh, you know.” They speak in generalities. I’m looking for specifics. Well, I noticed Paul that used to work for Dale Carnegie. I noticed that you work for CGX, a billion dollar a year company or whatever. But now, the other question I’m going to ask is, okay, they did their homework about the company, what do you know about me? I don’t say that as some egotistical prick. I say that because, it’s people by people. The buildings aren’t buying the fucking printing, or the widget. I mean, it’s the person. So, what do you know about me? If I have other people involved in the interview process, which I recommend that you guys do, everybody does, they should ask, “What do you know about me?” That’s great that you’ve researched Paul. He’s the guy who owns the company. It’s great that you’re kissing his ass, but what about me? I’m part of – I’m stakeholder here.
[00:42:46] DC: But I would just have to say that, in part of that is also when you’re setting up these interviews, saying, “You’re going to meet with me, then you’re going to meet with these three people who are on my team, so at least give them an ability to look it up.”
[00:43:00] PC: Hundred percent, yes. I agree.
[00:43:01] DC: All right. Just to get back to this, so if a company doesn’t have an HR person in place, who typically is the one – somebody goes in the office and says, “We need a salesperson”, and then they leave. Then that person whips out the canned job description that they had from the last person they hired and takes it on LinkedIn, and throws it out in the world and, does the best that they can, and then at some point comes back and says, “We have no candidates”, right? So, either if that person needs support, or there isn’t – that person is not in place at a printing company, who should be taking the lead on all of this?
[00:43:36] PC: Yes, I’ve always been a huge fan of the hiring manager, leading the charge on it. And I understand that, yes, but they got a million other things on their plate. Just about every sales role that I’ve ever had, sales leadership role, I lead that charge.
What I did, because I had other responsibilities, that’s almost like a teacher bringing home tests at nighttime. I did it before and after hours, as far as sourcing the candidates, and some of the communication and trying to line up interviews and stuff.
The other thing that you can do if you don’t have that support, and I would recommend this, even if you have a strong sales team right now, and you’re not looking for someone at the moment, there’s nothing wrong with having bench interviews. Once a month, it could even be, because things change. So, you could do that. Again, you’re leading that charge, so you could dedicate half a Friday, every month to bench interviews, because that person that was a star today may tell you, “Hey, I’m out of here tomorrow.” Now, at least, you have a bench of people that – almost like a sales pipeline.
That’s kind of how I would handle it. Again, it’s not much there. But most people that I talked with in small companies, they don’t have an HR department. They’re doing it.
[00:44:48] WC: We have HR through our PEO, so we have a company that we can consult with. When we have an issue, or we have a question, or there’s a problem, or anything comes up, that’s PR or HR related, if you have a payroll company, most of them have an HR department that you can tap in for things like that as well. Most, I would dare to say that the majority of small print shops in America don’t have an HR department of any kind, or an HR person.
[00:45:15] DC: Yes. I guess, that’s what I’m saying. Because most of the time, you just see everybody from that companies out there go. We’re looking for somebody. It’s not really like somebody’s responsibility. This doesn’t seem there’s maybe a consistency of messaging going on about what the role is and all that stuff. Jamie, go ahead.
[00:45:32] JM: I’ve seen that it’s the owner usually takes that up to themselves. We need more sales, I’m going to go find a salesperson. Then, he will bring the person in, and a couple of top salespeople will talk to them and see what they’re about. Then, we’ll all get together and huddle and go, “This is what I saw. This what I saw. This what I saw”, kind of thing. But not having a plan, like Paul, spelled out, you get lost quickly. “This guy looks great.” I might not have been in sales for a long time, but has done this, this and this. Other person’s like, “I saw that too, or I didn’t see that, and we kind of go off that, and go from there.”
In our company, if we’re hiring somebody for the plant, for pressman, or bindery or whatever, we give them a try out, a two-day tryout. I was mentioning with Paul earlier, you really can’t bring a sales guy in and say, “Can you sell for me for two days?” See if you can do it. I don’t know if anybody would actually do that. I don’t know if I would do that. “Let me go sell for his guy for two days to see if I can do it.”
[00:46:29] DC: I might let them prospect and see if they could close a new client, but I wouldn’t let them anywhere near my current clients, because –
[00:46:37] JM: So, I don’t know if that will work. Come out and try out for two days and see if you really have it, and then we’ll let you know. So, I don’t know if that works. But yes, that’s the way I’ve seen small companies do, and the smaller companies I’ve been at, we have an HR department. But in the small companies I’ve been at, it’s usually the owner is taking the charge, done most of the interviews. Then, at the last, he’s brought the person in to say, “Hey, I need you to talk to these couple of people.” And they spend like 20 minutes, half hour with us, and then we kind of want to get together at the end and go, “This is the questions I asked. Now, this is what I saw.” And go from there. It’s not scientific. It’s just gut feeling.
[00:47:09] DC: Let’s say that everyone’s done their due diligence, and they found some amazing salespeople. Now, they must train them as far as what goes on in their company, or about the clients or whatever they would need to train them about internal processes. There is a maintenance. How do you keep them from leaving? Paul?
[00:47:31] PC: Okay. Let’s talk about the onboarding portion of it. This one should be followed by an immediate, duh, from everybody. But most salespeople have suffered the consequences of the thing I’m going to outline. There are so many people that are hired. That first day, you get the impression they weren’t ready for you. Business cards, laptop, a working space, if you’re working in an office –
[00:48:00] DC: The receptionist, knowing who you are is a great first step. “Hi, can I help you? I work here.” “Oh, no one told me.”
[00:48:08] PC: That happens more than you think too. So, there’s that. But here’s another thing, and I call this where to find shit. It’s your first day there. If you’re in an office, like, where do I find like the copy paper? Or, I want to get a coffee or whatever, like, where do you find this shit? So that, like a tour and all that. There’s just in no particular order some things that I think are valuable to do.
I think, some of the companies out there like CGX does it. I’m drawing a blank. A company in the Midwest, this idea of rotations, where they spend time in each department. Now, you don’t have to make this, “Oh, you’re going to be six months here, six months there.” But it could be a day, could be a few hours, or whatever, just to kind of get the inner workings of the organization. Again, we’re not spending a ton of time on that stuff. But I just think it’s good. These are your teammates. It gives you an opportunity. But as the hiring manager, here’s some little things that you need to be doing behind the scenes.
If I hired Deb, and I say, “Okay, today, you’re going to be with Will in this department, and Jamie in that department.” At the end of the day, I’m going to go to each of them, and I’m going to say, “How did she do?” More importantly, what was the interest level? Was she asking questions? Was she playing on the phone or – because that happens, by the way. But I’m mostly interested in people that are asking questions and are inquisitive, and sometimes you get this with sales reps that to you, the head honcho, they’re going to be real nice and kiss ass. But now, they meet with Jamie and they think Jamie’s like Skippy in the mailroom. Not really treating the best. So, I need to know these things early.
Will said it before, it’s like kind of firing early, right? But to me, I want to find areas that I might need to improve upon or get them out. That’s one of the things too. But no matter what I have them doing, and there’s lots of things as part of the training. At the end of every day, it’s important that I have time with them during this training period, to talk, and recap. I want to find out how they did from them. I have things every day, questions that I want them to be able to answer, and present to me as the hiring manager, at the end of the day. I don’t care if they were with Deb, two customers, Will, the letter carrier, or whatever. We’re going to have our time and you need to answer some questions that show me that you absorbed what I needed you to absorb.
Now, very important, big mistake, a lot of companies make. It’s both good and it’s horrific. A lot of companies say, you know what, Paul, we want you to shadow Deb today. We want you out in the field with her. This is where it gets horrific. Most top performers are not sitting there saying, “Hey, here’s awesome fucking thing number 13 that I do every day. Let me teach it to Paul.” So, what Paul needs to be good at is helping this rock star deconstruct the success. So, what you want to do as the hiring manager, if they’re going to be shadowing, is give them questions that you know that rep kicks ass on, and is going to deconstruct step by step how they develop rapport, or questions, or whatever.
[00:51:27] WC: Can I chime in on something real quick here, Paul?
[00:51:31] PC: Sure. Yes.
[00:51:31] WC: Just something that saying is, those questions should be formulated to play into that sales rep’s ego. Because if they’re a sales rep, and they’re really good, then that means they probably have a really big ego, and they like to talk about themselves. So, if you find that question in a way, they want to divulge the information, they will be more open ended.
[00:51:48] PC: Excellent. Excellent point. I will tell you something though, if you don’t do that, if you don’t do it – I’m sorry, I’m still laughing at that, Will. If you don’t do that, what you find is, is that a lot of people in general, especially top performance, believe it or not, they’re very general in their responses, because they’ve never really sat there. Like I said, and said, “Hey, here’s another awesome thing I just did. Let me make note of it.” They just do it. They just show up and dominate, so they have to help them kind of break that down.
So, if you’re going to have somebody shadow somebody, you really have to have some questions ahead of time. Yes, they have to stroke the ego and everything. But then I’m going to go to that rep, and I’m going to say, “Hey, Will, you met with Jamie today, and he was shadowing you. What was the interest level? Was he asking questions? What kind of questions that he asked you? Was he observant?” Anything that you may have noticed that I should know in training him.
So, it’s another set of eyes, and it’s another opportunity. But also, too, because I’m a team player, I also want to know that this person wasn’t a real dick to you, when they are out there. Like as if like, “Well, Paul said, you were supposed to go – I’m supposed to go out with you and fuck off. If you don’t like it.” Believe it or not, you actually get that from some people. So, I want to know that early. That’s one of the things too. I want to add one last thing in because there’s millions of things here. On day 5, day 10, and even day 15, there is a presentation or a demo that I have them do. Because so much of sales is presenting and demos, and just explaining things.
You can have whatever topics you want. But I think one of the most important topics that they have to be able to articulate, like on day one is, what makes us different? What is our difference? I might assign that. By the end of the week, you’re going to do a presentation to demo. We’re going to have you do it through WebEx. We’re going to record it for training purposes. And I want you to be able to say what is the Castain Training Systems difference? I’m going to train them on what those things are.
But you answering a question here and there for me is way different than me saying you got 30 minutes to demonstrate that to me, and take me through a presentation on the difference. All these things are components that they’re going to need when they’re out in the field, and they’re up and running. So, that might be one of the things that I do. In there, I might have them meet with customers, so that we can hear from the customers what our differences and things like that.
One final thing, although I said that before, this is a huge thing for sales reps, is I want them during their training to compile an evidence folder. Evidence is something that we use to reduce and/or defeat doubt, skepticism, people pushing back, objections. And there’s lots of different things that we can put in the evidence file. Testimonials, examples of how we’ve helped people.
In the graphic arts industry, people love to show samples, but I always tell everyone in the industry, we’re missing it. Samples are wonderful, but you know what really makes the sample kickass? The story that goes with the sample. They need to get the war stories. They need to be able to get the emotions going. Also, things like analogies, case studies, before and after, type of photos. All those things should be compiled, and I want to start seeing that when they’re doing some of their demos for us, whether using that evidence.
These are all things that we’re teaching them, and equipping them with, like pretty much right out of the gate from day one. You can just do one of these a day. Hey, day one, Will, today I’m going to take you through some testimonials, and these are actual testimonials that you should have in your bag of tricks. Next day comes around. Today, I’m going to take you through some of the samples that we use. But more importantly, this thing we did for Disney, there’s a great story about an 11th hour miracle. Let me take you through it, and I want you to be able to tell the story too.
I think that helps us articulate a difference out in the field. But we’re training them –I think in a very different way. I don’t think this is standard stuff. I don’t think all of us have experienced other printing companies are doing this stuff with the evidence file and stuff, and this is how we stand out. This is how we kick ass. This is how we ramp these guys and girls up for quick success.
[00:56:25] DC: Just so we don’t necessarily have to bring you back for part three, although I’m completely into it. I want to keep going. But can you just address maintaining, and then we’ll ask all of our questions and wrap it up after.
[00:56:40] PC: Okay. So, very, very quickly on this one, and I’m saving the best part for last. As far as maintaining, I think it’s very important that you have a structure. The beauty of this, and when I say structure, I don’t mean like we’re chained to something. Because especially if you’re the creative type, structure is the enemy of creativity, right? But what I mean is a structure for we have a designated one on one time, where if there’s ever anything on your mind, or my mind, or a coaching moment, we’ve got that dedicated time.
Coaching moments. I’m a big fan of – we used to call them ride alongs. But right now, in a virtual world, I can sit in on your demo and just give you feedback that way and help you, right? I think the sales meetings too, if done properly, can actually help maintain sales reps, because I believe – I don’t like a sales meeting, where it’s all administrative things. Because to me, I could have done that in an email. It’s not worth pulling you out of the field for that. But I think if we could use it for educational purposes, the sales meeting, and we could learn from things. For example, if I was doing a sales meeting, and I know that Will just had a hell of a deal that he closed, and there was a lot of negotiation, I’m going to tell him ahead of time. “Hey, Will, I would love for you to teach that to the sales team, because you had a lot of pushback, man. You turned it around and we didn’t have to lower our price here. So, if you could teach the others, the best way for people to learn is to have the teacher.”
I’m also doing something that Will said before. I’m actually stroking his ego right there, because he gets to be the star and talk about that kickass deal he just got. Other people are going to want to do it.
Now, another thing that you can do. I’m very big on this, of celebrating wins on a sales team. You could say that you could celebrate all wins. But if you’re highly transactional, that would annoy the hell out of people. But maybe wins over certain amount of money. What I used to do for this is I would send out emails, another 50 grand in the house compliments a Deb. Deb is the one to beat now. Then people, if I had the right team, they would respond, “Deb, savor the flavor, baby, because I’m in your rearview mirror. By tomorrow, you’re going to be history.” I love that banter, and they want to be that person in the spotlight.
Last but not least, in the sales meetings, not only do I give them spotlight, like what I mentioned with Will. Will, could you teach us what you did that moment of excellence where you negotiated that six-figure deal for the company? I also recognize the wins in the sales meeting, because I want to show them that we’re also appreciative of what you’re doing, but giving them that spotlight. That’s one of the ways that I maintain the sales reps.
But I guess the last thing I want to say is this, is that that’s all the corporate stuff. That’s all the structure. I found that if you have the right people, which sometimes we don’t just, and people in general giving a shit about them. If I was going be out in the field with a rep, and we’re going to go to clients together, I’d always tell them, “Hey, I know your first appointment is at 10, we have lots of diners out here in New York. Let’s meet at the diner at 8:30 and we can catch up.” We’re bonding now, and we’re learning about each other, things that we normally can’t talk about in the office, whether I’m getting – I just think it’s harder to leave somebody like that, who generally gives a shit about you, who is equipping you for success, and actually, is doing everything in their power to make you the rock star that hopefully you came here to be. I’ve had people that they could have made more money elsewhere stay with me because I gave them the playbook that they needed and that was worth it to them, by developing them. I think that’s a key, people. Developing, appreciating, giving a shit at a much deeper level.
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[01:01:30] DC: I just want to say something I think Will and Jamie might fall of their chair when I say this. But in college, I was a telemarketer. I sold theater tickets over the phone, right? We had the best subscribers list, right? Anybody who sold a pair of tickets or a subscription went up on that damn whiteboard. And if I can tell you, that I would be furious if someone else was on the whiteboard on top of me, and I would do anything I had to do to beat them, only because I just could not have it. So, I completely understand that for some people like me who have a mental problem with number two, not number one. That is a big incentive. Gentlemen?
[01:02:20] JM: We used to have a bell. We would ring the bell if you hit so many dollars in sales, like throughout the day. It was like, all right, like Paul said, you get a $50,000 order. That’s five rings the bell. So, people at the end of the day were like, “Hey, what’s going on? Who did that?” The next day, they’re like, “Nope, going to beat you.” But after a while, it got to a point where we kind of stopped it. But it was funny. For a little while there was very big competition.
[01:02:42] WC: One thing that you said earlier, Paul, that I liked a lot was the war stories. To take that a step further is telling the client about the war stories that you’ve had with their project, which is usually considered a no, no, but I do it all the time. When I present a project that is perfect, and I explain, and I shared with the client, the struggles that I got through to get that project to be perfect. They appreciate it, right? And that’s how you keep clients. That’s how you get that client that’s going to stay with you, no matter what. That isn’t going to shop you, that is just going to stick with you, right? Because you know, or they know that you’re going to go to bat for him, and you’re going to fight for him to make sure that that job is right.
[01:03:18] PC: Heck, yes.
[01:03:20] WC: But those stories, they translate, and they share, when you share them about other clients as well or to clients. I think that’s great. The other thing is, I want to bring home and reinforce how much what you’re saying is applicable to so many other things in so many roles, and just how you manage and deal with people. A lot of things that you’re saying are things that we use today, we do all the time, acknowledging people, giving him that pat on the back. I like to call it the shit sandwich, which is an old thing, right? Where if you’re giving criticism, you’re at least starting with something positive, and you’re ending with something positive.
All of these things in the way you treat people and how you interact with people and you show that your employees that you actually give a shit about them, they’re going to give a shit about you, and they’re going to show up and they’re actually going to do their job, and they’re going to care about the quality of what they do for you, right? That’s the relationship that we have with everyone that works for us, and showing them that there’s more to it than just, “Hey, you’re here to do a job and I’m going to pay you to do that job.” There’s a relationship there. Everything that you’re saying reinforces that, it applies to every employee that works for you, not just your sales team.
[01:04:19] DC: Well, I have a quick question for you, and then, I know Jamie has something to add. I want to echo, Will, just said, as a print customer, I used to ask the printers to tell me about a project that was a catastrophe and they don’t like to talk about it. I’m like, you really need to tell me this because all the tests, of course, all the testimonials on your site are going to be positive. Of course, all the stories are going to be amazing.
I like Will’s example. Although usually, at the end of that story to me, in an advertising agency, and this is why next time we’re charging you $8,000 to fix your files.
[01:04:55] WC: This is why the price goes up next time.
[01:04:59] DC: But I’m also like, thank you for not harassing me when I had was in my crisis, when I needed it to get it done. But should in that box of stories be here are some things that went horribly wrong and how we made them right, when it was literally the printer’s error? I’ll give you a very quick example. I had thousands of magazines for a museum, and they weren’t dry when they stacked them in boxes. That basically meant that they all stuck together, but not all of them, and we spent two days going through and pulling the ones that could be put in the bins and museums. But they just – they didn’t ask any questions. They were like, “Okay, we’re on it.” They printed it, and then we have the conversation after. That printer I was loyal to for years and years and years, because the way that they handled that problem gave me full confidence that they can handle anything.
[01:06:05] JM: That’s what I was about to say, it’s how you fix the problem and how you proceed from there. That usually wins the customer. If something happens, own it, take care of it, get it done, do it done, get it done right. If you mess it up, even if the customer messed it up, rest assure to them.
[01:06:21] DC: I know, but do you tell those stories, when you’re going to meet with the new customers, is what Paul is saying?
[01:06:27] JM: Yes. If you’re there, and you they’re working on something, you’re like, “Hey”, like Paul said, have a story for the samples you have in your bag. “We made this happen because customer was looking to do this, they wanted us to glue mirrors on a bag thing, like they had some kind of print that they wanted to be able to see themselves in. And they wanted us to cut mirrors and put it on a printed piece. And they needed 10,000 them in three days.” I was like – we have a mirror material, we can print on it, and it’ll look like a mirror, and we saved them thousands of dollars, and we get it done in less time. You come in with those stories of how you save the customer money, gave them something better than what they wanted. Or the time was –
[01:07:05] DC: I’m still saying something a little different. What I’m saying is that in the middle of your printing job, your press went down, and you missed the deadlines, and there was no invitations to the party. How did you fix that?
[01:07:18] PC: Can I chime in on this one?
[01:07:20] DC: Please.
[01:07:20] WC: Hundred percent.
[01:07:21] PC: When you started saying that, Deb, right away, my trainer hat went on, and I was writing something down, because it’s actually a brilliant sales tactic that can be used here. And then, we’ll also address the question that you have.
But first of all, imagine going into a meeting and you’re talking about all the great things about your company. And then, what you could do, we call it a pattern interrupt, when we go off script and do something completely. What they’re not used to hearing from the other seven people trying to win the business. So, imagine I’m telling you, we had great success at this fortune 500 company with the training. But something, if you don’t mind, I’m going to be a little candid now, I’m going to tell you about a training situation that did not go as well as it should have. But really what I want you to get as a takeaway, what I did about it, to fix it.
See that, right there, who the hell does that? That’s a pattern interrupt. But now it depends how you like to fight for business. When I tell this next technique, some people get a little shitty with me and think I’m fighting dirty. I don’t fight dirty when it comes to winning business. But I am aggressive about it. Because I’ve got less than about a million people who call themselves sales trainers I compete with, much bigger than me, by the way.
So, that’s the pattern interrupt when I say that. Now comes a technique called a land mine. It’s something you’re leaving behind for your competitor to step on without bad mouthing them or being a dick. So, now, what I’m going to do after I tell that, I’m going to say, “Will one of the things you mentioned to me and I appreciate your honesty, is that you are going to be meeting with two other trainers to make this decision.” I think anyone that you’re considering you should ask that question. It’s wonderful that you have these success stories. Tell me about something that didn’t go as planned. Most importantly, what did you do about it?
What’s beautiful about feeding them the question to trip up your competitor, is that your competitors going to do all the shitty – like shit talking themselves. They’re going to put the foot right in the mouth. People aren’t going to be ready for that question. I promise you that. They’re not, because nobody ever says, “Hey, that’s nice that you say that you guys” –
[01:09:33] WC: That is dirty.
[01:09:34] PC: Selling power magazine and Forbes and stuff. That’s great, Paul. Tell something that you fucked up. I feel like – I don’t know what to say. So, you’re feeding them the question to make an educated decision.
Last but not least, when you take on the role of teacher in a sales situation, it’s a position of authority, and you’re not a snake oil salesman at that point. You’re helping them make the best decision. I want to be very clear, I’m not dressing up a shitty sales tactic and telling you to be a sleaze. I’m saying that people make the wrong decisions every day, and they look at criteria sometimes they shouldn’t be looking at. I got to tell you, the more I think about what Deb said, I would want to know something they fucked up and how they fixed it. Because, especially in this industry, it’s the deadline industry, and things happen. If you’ve mastered the art of walking on water, I’m going to have to say you’re full of shit. Because nobody does. There’s nobody.
[01:10:34] DC: Absolute. I have told printers for years and years and years, that we, in the advertising industry, recommend printers, it’s not on their printing. It’s how they handled the freaking disaster that we have every day.
[01:10:48] WC: It’s going to happen. It’s going to happen.
[01:10:50] DC: It’s going to happen. But when it starts happening for a giant brand, it’s on a little different – if you miss that mailing, or that deadline for the bus shelters on Fifth Avenue, there’s a bigger problem than if you miss – I just mean in scale of scope of the risk to the printer. Not that every job is not important in the scheme of things, but than a small direct mailing, right? It’s obviously very important to that customer. But in the bigger picture in an agency, it’s the bigger money that counts.
So, I think it’s super important. I’ve even told them that that’s the only thing I want to see on their websites. I don’t want to see their happy testimonials. You don’t have – actually, when printers asked me for testimonials, I would always say, sometimes things go wrong. When they do, you can count on these guys to make it right. Is that not the best testimonial in the printing industry?
[01:11:51] PC: It’s honest as hell. Honest as hell. I used to have – I think it’s still up there. I haven’t checked in a while. I had a testimonial that I got from one of my coaching clients. After he wrote it, he kind of prefaced before he sent it to me. He goes, “You may or may not want to use it but it’s from the heart.” And it starts off with –and I actually loved it. “Paul isn’t for everyone. If you are offended easily, or if you are thin skinned, Paul is not” – and that is very accurate.
Now, that’s not my license to be a dick with people. It’s just that I’m not the guy that you go to that you give a check to when I cuddle you and say, “It’s going to be all right.” Then, you get your ass kicked. I’m going to tell you where you’re falling short in a kind way, but I’m gonna be direct about it. But that particular one I said, “Man, I’m using it because it’s spot on.” That’s exactly what I do. So, there’s nothing wrong with having those on the website.
[01:12:48] DC: Jamie, any wrap up questions for Paul, comments, concerns?
[01:12:53] JM: No, just going back to what Paul just said. I think I remember that testimonial, and we’ve talked about that many times in the past. If you’re taking my class, I’ve taken a couple of Paul’s classes, if you don’t follow through, I’m firing you. Don’t fall out – if you don’t feel to do the steps and won’t to be part of this, don’t come back because I’m here to make you better. So yes. It’s true.
[01:13:16] DC: Will?
[01:13:18] WC: I got nothing, man. It’s been a pleasure to have you on. I’ve learned a lot. I look forward to hopefully talking with you again, soon.
[01:13:26] PC: Me too.
[01:13:26] DC: Part three. Part three.
[01:13:26] WC: I’m going to make all of my managers and I’m going to make everybody that has anything to do with hiring and managing people listen to this podcast. It’s very, very valuable information. So, thank you very much for being here.
[01:13:36] PC: Thank you.
[01:13:36] JM: Thank you, Paul.
[01:13:38] DC: Everything you need to connect with Paul and his company and his offerings are in the show notes. Paul Castain, thank you so much for your time, and for your open and honest knowledge sharing without a price tag. So, look at all the stuff that everyone just got for free. Really appreciate it. I’m in for part three, if you are willing.
[01:14:02] PC: I am too.
[01:14:03] DC: We will tap into you and again, thanks so much. Until next time, everybody. Sell long and prosper.
[01:14:13] DC: Thanks for listening to Podcasts from the Printerverse. Please subscribe, click some stars, and leave us a review. Connect with us through printmediacentr.com. We’d love to hear your feedback on our shows and topics that are of interest for future broadcasts. Until next time, thanks for joining us. Print long and prosper.