January 27

Michael Dalis on Accelerating Revenue Growth

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We are a sales consulting firm that supports B2B companies, primarily in the financial services, professional services and technology industries. We advise clients on how to accelerate revenue growth through more effective sales performance.

With over 30 years of experience and a unique talent for engaging the sales force, we help organizations achieve their sales potential through a mix of talent assessment, process consulting, training, coaching and keynotes.

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[Podcast Transcript Using Artificial Intelligence]

Umar Hameed 0:06
Are you ready to become awesomer? Hello everyone. This is Umar Hameed, your host and welcome to the No Limits Selling Podcast, where industry leaders share their tips, strategies and advice on how to make you better, stronger, faster. Get ready for another episode.

Umar Hameed 0:35
Hello, everyone. Welcome to the show. And today I have the privilege of having Michael Dalis here. He's the head honcho at drive sales consulting. Welcome to the show, Michael.

Michael Dalis 0:45
Hey, Umar. So happy to be with you today.

Umar Hameed 0:47
So we're recording this on audio, but we're seeing each other through video and all behind you. I'm seeing steering wheels from sports cars. So tell me why the fascination with drive because I love driving too.

Michael Dalis 1:00
Just an incredible car geek from childhood. And unfortunately, it continues. I like to think I have it under control. But now just my matchbox cars have turned into much more expensive cars. And when I was trying to figure out what should I call my consultant firm way back when I love the idea of drive and the parallel with driving sales. So that's the combination.

Umar Hameed 1:28
So what do you think came first? Was it a feeling of drive? Driving to achieve or the actual car and what we did with it?

Michael Dalis 1:37
Pretty short drive may have come before the automobile

Umar Hameed 1:40
It may have. But that's a question for Wikipedia. Sales is a challenging business. If things are going really smoothly, pretty much you know, you've got something that you're an order taker, you just go and say would you like and they say yes, I want it. But in complex sales, where there's like large amounts of money being exchanged risk for companies bringing on new technology or ideas, then that changes the equation. And that's what you do is you help people get teams together that win. So walk me through one of your clients.

Michael Dalis 2:11
Happy to and I think your point also resonates with me, selling, selling is really easy if you don't really think about it. But that doesn't mean you do it effectively.

Umar Hameed 2:22
Right

Michael Dalis 2:23
So I'll just give you an I'll give you an example of a project I'm working on right now. It's with a midsize professional services firm. They're a consulting firm. And the challenge the managing partner had is they have 25 consultants, five of whom are rainmakers. 20th home will not go out and make any kind of networking effort at all. And it's an interesting arrangement, because you know, what her challenges that's how do I get more people doing biz def,

Umar Hameed 2:57
Yes, makes perfect sense.

Michael Dalis 2:59
And the challenges that you got 20 people who are very comfortable with the status quo, you got the management managing partner who's not, and you've got the five consultants, they're not either, because they're feel like they're over contributing. And so what she wants to figure out is, how, how do we figure out? Can more of these people do bizdev work? And how do we support them? And that's where I help her getting dad,

Umar Hameed 3:25
That is brilliant,

Michael Dalis 3:26
right thing, and then the right decisions to make to support these people.

Umar Hameed 3:30
So walk me through how you do that coz got deep interest in in an issue like that. And so it's gonna be a great conversation. So other than using tasers, what are you thinking?

Michael Dalis 3:40
about tasers? I'm not sure those are legal amarka

Umar Hameed 3:44
depends which state Nevada that might be okay.

Michael Dalis 3:47
for just about everything for legal. Except for cannabis, of course. So, you know, I think we're where we start, just because I've learned over the last 10 years that, you know, this managing partlow partner, like most leaders, has got her ideas about what the goal is. But her ideas are not really, they're not grounded in data. And she's also very close to the problem and the people. So what I do is I give her some objective, accurate data on her people and her processes and her systems. And what that allows her to do is really get it objective and get it accurate. So she can make the right calls instead of wasting time by just doing things that she thinks are right, which could be but odds are they won't be so we always start with a data driven approach. And that tends to make all the follow on decisions much easier.

Umar Hameed 4:43
Brilliant! Do you use an assessment?

Michael Dalis 4:45
I do. I use an assessment. That's its unique sales specific. I don't own it, but I'm a certified partner for it.

Umar Hameed 4:54
Is it OMG or something else?

Michael Dalis 4:56
Exactly. It's it's OMG which is different And your listeners may know this. What's what's really unique about it? It's not cognitive. So it doesn't measure IQ. And it's also not behavioral, like a disc assessment. It's highly predictive of one thing will people execute against a Business Development Goal? and

Umar Hameed 5:17
Brilliant at it, because I'm familiar with it also is, if for a particular sales rep. $500 is a lot of money, then when they're selling $100,000 a gig and someone says, That's too expensive, they're more likely to cave in on price.

Michael Dalis 5:32
Yes

Umar Hameed 5:32
Quickly. So it really takes a look at our beliefs around selling around money around self worth, because that impacts how we show up in our profession.

Michael Dalis 5:40
Yeah, Umar, as we've talked about before, you know, a lot of it has to do with like, like, the rest of your life has a lot to do with your mindset.

Umar Hameed 5:49
Absolutely!

Michael Dalis 5:49
And your urgency to make, make things work. It's not just, and I remember the first time I worked with an accounting firm, the managing partner said, you know, we'll we'll just give them a CRM database, and we'll give them some metrics, and that will solve a problem.

Umar Hameed 6:07
We'll give them the tools that they won't use.

Michael Dalis 6:09
Exactly! And that's exactly what happened,

Umar Hameed 6:13
You know, what's really amazing is, so can that's my area of expertise very much is, you know, what's going on there. So a good example is I was working with a client, that one part of his psyche knew he could be successful as a salesperson in this area, without a doubt. And another part of his psyche was I don't deserve. So the way I figured it out is as I was talking to this person, and they're telling me, Hey, Umar, I know I'm gonna be great at this, and they're talking in a powerful voice, and the right hand is using powerful gestures. It's like they're Italians talk with the hands, and then the tone of voice changes to a weak tone of voice and their left hand comes up. But you know, I really don't have a college education. And I think that's gonna get in the way, but then the other hand comes up strong voice again, but I know I can do this. As soon as you see that, you know, there's an internal conflict. And I use applied neuroscience to figure out okay, what's going on? And how do we resolve that conflict? So our mindset determines how we show up, and you can give people tools, but you can't get them to use it.

Michael Dalis 7:15
Yeah, you know, in the similar analogy that I use is, you know, Phil Jackson,

Umar Hameed 7:22
Yes

Michael Dalis 7:22
That's coach of the Michael Jordan era Chicago Bulls, he was asked in a recent interview, who was the best athlete that he ever coached? Of course, everybody assumed it was either Michael Jordan or Scottie Pippen. And he, most people, myself included by saying, Dennis Rodman, which is interesting. So Dennis Rodman is the most athletically gifted, I can see that athlete that he ever coached. But if you, if you built a team around Dennis Rodman, I doubt that they would win a championship because that was not his priority. Yet, if you take Michael Jordan, he was a winner. And he needed to win, he had that urgent drive to win. And in sales people think about the parallel. You know, we have a lot of,

Umar Hameed 8:08
Definitely

Michael Dalis 8:09
good questioning, good at listening, good at building relationships. But do they want to win? And that's what we need in salespeople.

Umar Hameed 8:16
Absolutely. And I think what I find interesting is this, and I'd love to get your thoughts about it is that we have a financial thermostat that's wired into our psyche, from all our experiences around money self worth, that we think that we are worth, let's say, $150,000 a year, and we can climb up to that number pretty easily. And then being salespeople. It's like, yeah, I want to get to $300,000. Because, you know, money motivates me, we go, but then they get stuck. And they try hard. But they sabotage themselves because their financial thermostat is set that way. A) Have you come across that and B) how did you get someone to kick up the thermostat? So they go higher?

Michael Dalis 8:53
Well, I think the first thing you've got to figure out I mean, we all do. I mean, it's just human nature, we all have self limiting beliefs. So I think if we go back to that the case that we started with, with the consulting firm, that's one of the things that I try to measure is mindset. You know,

Umar Hameed 9:10
Yes

Michael Dalis 9:10
What sort of self limiting beliefs. And maybe that's an area we can partner on. Because, you know, really, I think a lot of it just has to do with it's going to take some time, but it requires more repetition. But if we go back to the consultant firm example that I gave, you know, some of these consultants, they have very specific limitations on what they believe, and also some misunderstandings. So is it possible to change them? Yes, it doesn't mean we're going to do that in a training class. But they need some really specific, really intensive support to

Umar Hameed 9:38
Yes

Michael Dalis 9:46
loose up that death grip on some of these beliefs they have.

Umar Hameed 9:50
who's working with the bankers, and you know how bankers have to be salespeople and have this was the body language that they use. So hey, we're bankers. And then put up their hands in awarding gesture, both of them and sort of pushing away. We're not salespeople. And this is like the physiology basically saying, no, that's not us. But that's what they do. And if you have a negative belief around selling, and this is how easy it can be to develop one, you've got cars in the background of the, you know, the video conference that we're doing right now, just picture a mom and a dad going to the car dealership one Saturday morning to look for a new car, and little Sally's in the back of the car, she's five, and they're about to get out of the car, and just for they get out mom goes to dad, remember, honey, if you like a car, don't let the salesperson know it, they'll force you to buy it. And that five year old in the backseat goes, whoa, you can't trust salespeople. And that belief goes in the unconscious, and there's a really good chance she will be a salesperson, and she will reach a certain level of performance. And then that belief deep inner unconscious, like I don't want to be a person that forces people to buy stuff they don't want. And that's a hard thing to push against unless you go down at a level of beliefs.

Michael Dalis 11:01
It's so true. And I think I've seen this pattern Umar with, with people who don't identify as full time salespeople, which is a lot of kind of people that I work with, you know, their their consultants, their accountants, their lawyers, their bankers or anything but salespeople. And then when you think about it, one of those critical moments where they have to ask a tough question, or they have to ask for the business. They won't want to be salesy. They don't want to be pushy. So what do they do? They go the exact opposite direction. And there's a why

Umar Hameed 11:34
you probably don't want to get this right now I understand.

Michael Dalis 11:36
Yeah. And there's a lot of room between those two extremes. But they don't say that.

Umar Hameed 11:40
Yeah, it's really kind of interesting how three year olds in any country in any time in history, they know if I want this, this is a dad thing. If I go ask that in this way, I'm gonna get it. Don't ask mom. And for other things, ask mom don't assets. So when we were young, with Master salespeople, we have no power, but we control the household and then somehow along our journey, we lose that super ability.

Michael Dalis 12:05
Yeah, I'm not really sure why that is. I'd also probably argue that kids can be master manipulators. And good salespeople are not manipulators,

Umar Hameed 12:14
No, but I look at it more those kids being fearless knowing what they want. And knowing okay, this is the best way to achieve it. And you may call it manipulation, I call it being strategic.

Michael Dalis 12:26
Good, I like yours as much more optimistic than mine.

Umar Hameed 12:29
One of the areas that people fall into challenging place is you get a salesperson who is really, really gifted at what they do, then, of course, you know, management goes, let's screw this up, let's turn them into a manager. And a lot of times they tend to try and get salespeople to do exactly what they do.

Michael Dalis 12:48
Yes

Umar Hameed 12:48
I want to make them in my image. So how best do you think we should select a manager? And then how do we guide them to be effective managers?

Michael Dalis 12:57
Such an important question? So I think the first thing is the criteria, you've got to have good criteria for any position. And you got to think about in your company, your organization, what are the criteria for an effective sales manager. And it's not just effective sales performance. Now, that does have some benefit. Because if you don't really understand clients, and you don't understand how to sell effectively, that's going to bleed through in your sales division. So that's where sales knowledge can be helpful. But I think about four major competencies that I look for in a sales manager, they ought to be

Umar Hameed 13:38
number one,

Michael Dalis 13:38
motivator,

Umar Hameed 13:39
Yes,

Michael Dalis 13:40
number two, they should be great at coaching.

Umar Hameed 13:42
Yes

Michael Dalis 13:43
Number three, they should be great at driving accountability. And number four, they should be great recruiter. And I wouldn't necessarily say that all four of those are equally weighted, it definitely changes by organization. But those are basically the four competencies that I would look at first. And so even if somebody has been successful in one role, that doesn't exempt them from having to satisfy the four criteria of this new rule that they're applying for.

Umar Hameed 14:13
And if they weaken one, that's great to know, because they can actually offload that somebody else that might be really good at it.

Michael Dalis 14:19
Right. And in large companies, you know, an example would be recruiting, you know, they don't need to be great recruiter because they have an HR business partner and maybe even internal recruiter, but it's hard to delegate things like accountability, and yes, waiting and coaching. So, But to your point, not everybody is going to be perfect and offer those competences. But then, you know, we've got to work to support them on building up their competencies in wherever they need it for them to be effective in that job.

Umar Hameed 14:49
Makes perfect sense. One of the things I find is a lot of leaders as well as sales leaders, they have a need to be liked. And sometimes what that does is that they hold off making it decision because they don't want to be the bad guy, or they don't hold people as accountable as they should, oh, we'll give them another couple of months to figure it out. And, but that's only human nature as well. And what we need to do is realize that we're doing this for the greater good of the company, or the greater good of the team. Because if you allow people to slack off, then you're getting those people that are actually going out there wholeheartedly. After a while, they're going to go, Well, I should take the foot off the gas as well, like, what's the point?

Michael Dalis 15:26
Yeah, there's, that's an insidious problem in organizations, and and there's a name for it. It's called the free rider problem,

Umar Hameed 15:34
right

Michael Dalis 15:35
or social loafing, which means, you know, people, people perceive that they don't have to hustle at some point. And so they don't. And so what happens is that same problem that I talked about with the consulting firm or earlier, you've got five people who are pulling their weight, and everybody else are free riders. The insidious part of that is, your high performers. At some point, they're going to live because they're sick of it. And they have, as all high performers do, they'll have many other options.

Umar Hameed 16:10
And what's crazy is that if you have a high performer in sales, especially that according to the American study of training and development, they have a new name. Now, I don't know what it is. But I saw this report, it's like the cost to replace them is 250% of their annual salary, because they've got the relationships with their customers, they know what they're doing to bring someone in the territory, get them up to speed is super expensive. So you can't afford to lose those people.

Michael Dalis 16:34
Well, and I'd argue for salespeople, the gap is much bigger than that. Because if you take an a different companies, the spread is a little bit different. But really the key spread is between what is a high performer produce in terms of new revenue? And what does your average horrible performer produce? And sometimes that's measured in hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars?

Umar Hameed 16:58
Absolutely! Oftentimes, I talk about you know, if you take a look at a sales team, there's three groups of players, there's the eight players that walk in water, do amazing things, the only problem is not enough of them. There are some c players, unfortunately, in a lot of sales organizations that are coasting and should be shown the door, and then you've got a large group of B players that do a good job. And here's the tragic part, at least half of those B players have the capacity to step into the a column. And the thing stopping them is what's happening between the ears, because you're getting the same training, but something in the mindset gets in the way.

Michael Dalis 17:33
Yes. Yeah, I'm a lot

Umar Hameed 17:34
that's what you're driving companies to get more of those B players to become a players.

Michael Dalis 17:39
Yeah, I have. I have a number of clients who call that the movable middle.

Umar Hameed 17:42
Yes

Michael Dalis 17:43
And unfortunately, what most managers do, myself included when I was a sales manager, you and it's it comes from a good place. But we tend to channel all of our energy into the low performers with well intended but misguided belief that we can turn them around. And it's not that that's a bad thing. From a human standpoint, it's a great idea. It's just usually the payoff isn't there,

Umar Hameed 18:08
I was doing this interview hasn't gone live yet on the podcast, this a gentleman by the name of Andrew Undem. He's a realtor, super successful and what he's doing is a different model than everybody else that I've seen. He brings people into his company, and it's like, do what you want. And some people do well, and then they come to him and say, I want to do better, and then you'll invest in them and tell them what to do to get better. And if they do it, it's a great relationship. If they take the advice and don't use it, then it's like, Okay, I'm not spending any more time on you. So he's very much hands off. But if you want to be a top performer, he's gonna help you. Whereas most of the other team leaders are investing their blood, sweat, tears, money in every single person they bring on board before they prove what they can actually do. And I thought, wow, that's brave to just kind of go, Hey, only help the ones that are going to be top producers. And if that's not what you want to be, that's okay, don't stay here, or be a mediocre guy on my team, and we're not gonna invest time and money, and it's turning out to be a very successful formula for him.

Michael Dalis 18:10
Hmm, yeah. And I could see that. I think a lot of it has to do with being clear when you recruit people, are they people who are self motivated, or psychologists

Umar Hameed 19:21
assessment comes in really, really powerfully as a predictive indicator?

Michael Dalis 19:25
Yeah.

Umar Hameed 19:26
But I highly, highly predictive, right? It's something like 90 some odd percent, if I remember, right, it was like, if the assessment says hire this person, there's a 97% chance within six months, they'll be in the top 50% of your producers.

Michael Dalis 19:38
Yeah. So this and what's you know, researchers generally look for predictive validity does certain behavior that's assessed with the tool, does it predict a certain outcome,

Umar Hameed 19:50
Yes

Michael Dalis 19:51
and it's looking for a rule of thumb from zero to 1.7 represents significance and the tool that I use with the help of Dave Curlin and objective management group is point nine one in terms of its predictive validity of sales performance. And that's exactly why I use it.

Umar Hameed 20:10
What's kind of interesting about Dave is that in some levels, he's like a geek. But he's a charming, great communicator, because you'd kind of see somebody like that would be more like numbers and don't talk humans, but he's very effective at what he does, and very connected to his audience, which is nice.

Michael Dalis 20:28
Yeah. Yeah. I mean, it mostly is built. For those, for those of you in your audience who aren't familiar with it. I mean, this has been a, a work of his in progress for three decades, and 2 million people have taken his survey across 200 industries in 130 countries. So, you know, if you're looking to get real data that will help you make the right decisions. It's it's a great resource.

Umar Hameed 20:55
Brilliant. And Michael, before we part company, today, for sales leaders, whether they're like lawyers that have teams or financial guys or pure sales people, what would be three pieces of advice you'd give them to be more effective leaders?

Michael Dalis 21:10
Well, let's say I guess I would go with, why don't we call them three C's? Number one would be communication, number two would be coaching. And number three would be compensation. And let me just spend a second on on each one of those

Umar Hameed 21:28
Good

Michael Dalis 21:29
communication so from a leadership standpoint, if you're looking for people to change behavior, and do things more differently, you as the leader, you got to support that, don't you?

Umar Hameed 21:41
right

Michael Dalis 21:41
Forget it. And so it's got your messaging has got to be frequent and consistent. Number two, if you're wanting to change people's behavior, that's got to start with your managers, equip them to coach, coaching isn't just having meetings. Coaching is about changing behavior and supporting people and getting them to own it. So getting your managers more effective coaches is a key thing that you can and you should do. And then finally, number three, it's not the driver. But I think it's worth looking at compensation plans to make sure that the comp plan that you've got today rewards the behaviors your you desire today, as opposed to the ones that worked in the past.

Umar Hameed 22:28
Brilliant, my three words would be these are my favorite words. One is be relevant and what you're talking about is relevance there. We relevant in our this moment in time, integrity, Be true to yourself. And number three is focus.

Michael Dalis 22:44
Hmm, yeah, I love that. And I especially that first one more really resonates with me, because a technical expert can be good at what she does. Allows her to win is when she's relevant to her client.

Umar Hameed 22:59
Brilliant! Michael, thank you so much for spending time with me today. I love the interview and looking forward to our next conversation.

Michael Dalis 23:06
Me as well Umar, thank you.

Umar Hameed 23:12
If you enjoyed this episode, please go to iTunes and leave a five-star rating. And if you're looking for more tools, go to my website at nolimitsselling.com. I've got a free mind training course there, that's going to teach you some insights from the world of Neuro-Linguistic Programming and that is the fastest way to get better results.


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