Lessons from My Mentor, Chris Dale – Sales Management Powerhouse


Josh:     Chris I was really excited to have you on the call obviously because we’re such good friends. But you’re one of the first mentors for me. We worked together for almost ten years in some regard. But you’re really the person who taught me the most about how to manage a team and how to really build a successful high performing sales team. I actually remember… so having a mentor [inaudible] [02:02] is really cool. So I appreciate the time.

Chris Dale:     absolutely

Josh:     But I remember back to the first time you took a shot on me which should be seven or eight years ago to put me in my first sales management job. I remember sitting in your office in Raleigh and I was like Chris like I was a good sales guy, but I don’t know if I’m ready for this management role and you encouraged me that I was. And I say, “Hey if you give me one piece of advice to manage a sales team, what would it be?” And I remember you writing on the board.

You wrote this it all comes down to these three basic principles. Set crystal clear expectations, teach and train people how to hit those expectations, and hold them accountable. I’ve always remembered that ever since that day. So I’d love to hear you kind of share a little bit about like what is that philosophy you have, where did that come from. I think it’ll really be powerful for people to hear that.

Chris Dale:     Sure, I appreciate it. You know Josh I’ve just like you. I’ve been very fortunate to have really great mentors and sales leaders in my life that share that with me. I wish I could take credit for making up that philosophy, but I certainly didn’t. Early on in my sales career and then when I transitioned from just being a sales person in the [inaudible] [3:09] to a leadership role. You know that was explained to me. And the concept is simple and I think it surrounds the overall management concept and you’ve worked with me long enough to see it is to try to keep things as simple as possible because what we do in our industry and in most sales industry is not that complicated. You have either your goods, your services, whatever you’re trying to provide to your customers.

And there’s people out there who either need it or they don’t. And in the world we live in today, there are so many choices to be had. It comes down to who do they trust and who do they like the most. And if we can keep things simple, we can have that competitive edge against the… inn the field. And so for me, leading a sales team regardless of industry, regardless of the products or service they’re offering. It really comes down to making sure everyone knows exactly what level of play is expected. What the set expectations mean. It’s having a good amount of children of my own, I can’t get mad at my kids for drawing on the walls if I never told them that drawing on the walls is not okay thing to do.

And so that’s a set expectations of here’s the rules of play, here’s what’s acceptable, here’s what success looks like, and then here’s what failure looks like. They’ve gotta know that from the start. And once they know that, then it’s your responsibility again just like being a parents to teach them what they don’t know and to help them understand how to achieve what good looks like. You know it’s one thing to just tell someone that hey success is this mark or this mouse or this commission level. And that’s all well and good and for the most part for [inaudible] [04:34] motivate people they already know that.

They already know that success means X to them. It’s a six figure salary, it’s you know…, it’s a bonus, it’s whatever it might be. But if they don’t know how to execute it on that plan, they’re just lost and they’re gonna run in circles. And the last thing of accountability. You know I think I wrote on the board follow up, follow up, follow up. I was told a long time ago that part of your job as a sales leader, sales manager is to be a professional reminder. Because again going back to the fact that your sales team should be intrinsically motivated. If you’re hiring the right people, they want to be successful.

They don’t come to work just to show up in your paycheck. They come to work to grow and to excel in their career. But if you know there’s like all of us they either they could forget or they neglect to remember a task or to follow up. And it’s actually your job to be that professional reminder and say, “Hey, call that contact, reach out to that… call up on that client;” whatever that might be. And ensure that they know what their expectation is, they know how to do it, and now you’re holding them accountable to actually meeting those goals and then those commitments or whatever those are daily and weekly.

Josh:     I love that, that’s so awesome. I mean I feel like I’ve made a pretty successful career out of managing sales people by those three simple steps that you know I give… As you gave your mentor credit, I give you credit for that. So when you talk about the follow up, follow up, follow up. I remember times when you have so many people reporting to you or you’re managing. And one assumes that you’ve been you’ve had large; really large groups of people reporting to you.

You know our listeners on here are typically really busy small medium sized business owners. They’ve got a million things going on. What have you found to be successful in you know… If you’re gonna be a professional at following up with people; professional reminder. How do you stay organized to make sure you’re on top of all that?

Chris Dale:     That’s a great question. And this is gonna vary obviously for different people as technology has changed [inaudible] [06:25] leverage that as best I can. I mean nowadays we put voice memos in our phone and set them on as follow up with us. But I’m old fashioned. I have a stack of note books that I’ve gone through throughout the years. I’ve got a fresh one here that I’m actually sitting here next to. And it is my daily guide if you will. It’s a fresh clean page every single day. Any action [inaudible] from the previous day that didn’t go accomplished go on to today’s starting list, and I start at the bottom. But that to me, this is just my personal opinion.

I get… whatever I write down gets done. What I don’t write down is not gonna get done. And so if I have notes to for example if I asked you Josh if you’re reporting to me to follow up with you customer ABC by next Tuesday, I’m writing myself that’s same note as if I’m assigning it to myself. And saying I’m now in my note is follow up on Josh about him following up a client plan ABC next Tuesday and that becomes a task [inaudible] for me. And that’s what drives my day. So I try my best to be proactive in outlining my day. So I’ve got my tasks, my follow ups, with my sales teams.

And then as a sales manager, you’re wearing 15 hats. You’re wearing a professional … hat, but then you’re fighting fires and you’re being reactive. And I think too many times, we get caught up being reactive and that’s when those tasks falls by the wayside. So whatever system works for individuals whether it’s old fashioned like myself you know hand-written, whether it’s your tasks list and outlook, you know there’s so much technology out there you can leverage. There’s really no excuse for not having a running list of things that you’re trying to do and accomplish in every given day and there’s only so many hours in a days so that’s [inaudible] [7:50]. That’s fine [inaudible] the next day so they don’t get forgotten.

Josh:     Yeah, well done. See you mentioned earlier that it’s in the market today it’s like so competitive. Every company is competing against a thousand other people in the market that do the same thing that they do. And you mentioned that the buyer today is gonna go with who they trust and who they like the most. What have you found are ways that companies can be training their people or setting good expectations for their people, and following up with their people on how likeable they are and how trustworthy they are?

Chris Dale:     Yeah, that’s a great question and I think there’s no perfect answer to have a perfect solution to having billionaires, right. But I think part of it really takes a step at that Josh, it’s really at the hiring process. It’s at the beginning. I mean to a certain degree we are [inaudible] [8:38] a zebra doesn’t change its stripes. And it can be challenging to try to change someone’s likability or trying to give someone charisma. Some of that can come with maturity and professionalism and time in the seat. But a lot of that is just what they’re born with and how they were raised and you know just can they [inaudible] a conversation, can they tell a good story, are they good listeners, are they just [inaudible] to spend 15 minutes with. There some of those things that can be molded.

But it’s difficult to really train in-hands. So I think first it starts at the interview process of making sure that [inaudible] [09:07]. But in an interview, I’m looking for really two key features for a salesperson. The personality and the presence. I believe it’s our responsibility as sales managers to teach them how to make cold calls and when we want them to make them, or how to make customer representations the way we want them done. Those can be taught. Those are skills that can be developed. But I can’t make someone be more personable or have more of that personality. Now I can fine tune it as time goes on by just simply what I would consider the professional development which can be anything as simple as having them researching books, right.

I mean I think the whole year over sales always been How to win Friends and Influence People. I think if you’re a sales person and you haven’t yet read that book, I mean you’re just doing yourself a disservice. And some of the character traits in that book are just so basic and now ingrained in all of us that they just become the way. So while it’s difficult to completely shift or change a personality, it can be molded, right. If I’ve got someone who’s got a baseline. Again basic personality presence, they’re pleasant to be around, then I can teach them to press [inaudible] [10:04] whether it’s the reading, whether it’s the mentoring, whether it’s the role playing. I think role playing is a critical piece that might not be utilized as much as we need it to be because the fact is it’s hard.

It can be a little bit awkward. It can be a little bit embarrassing. And it’s easy to think, “Ah you know we can’t bother about that, that seems elementary.” But the truth is just like we’re sitting here talking now, you don’t know what it sounds like until you listen to it on the backend. And you may think you come across one way, but your audience hears it a different way and you can only know that by role playing and giving that person honest direct feedback that’s respectful and it’s always in the vein of helping. It’s not to critique them and to knock them down or to cut them personally. It’s saying, “Hey just if I you know when you walk into a room. You’re not making eye contact like you need to.”

And they may just not be aware that it’s not they’re rude individuals, they’re just unaware of what they’re [inaudible] [10:53] does when they walk into a meeting or you know something as simple as teaching them hey treat everyone at your clients and everyone along the way to your place as if they’re your customers. From the person who answers the phone, who’s at the front desk receptionist. You know he or she should be treated as if they’re the C.E.O. And if you do that with everyone, that becomes a habit and you are just now a naturally more likable person than the person who… There’s nothing worse than we’ve all done this or have this done to us where we’re not treated like a customer until we give those signs of buying…

Josh:     yeah

Chris Dale:     … and then we’re treated like gold. And they were resentful, right. You’re like wait a minute you know before it’s… if think you didn’t think I was gonna spend any money with you today, you’re [inaudible] any time today now it’s like … it’s fake. So you can’t help teach people to be genuine part of that and is in yourself being genuine you know being vulnerable. I think if you set the example of the sales manager that you’re humble, you’re always learning yourself, you’re showing that you’ve got coaches and you’ve got mentors, I think that sets the tone for the team that they can be vulnerable and lead and help shape that likeability factor if you will.

Josh:     Yeah, you brought up that point about always being… mistreating everybody you run into with respect to their customer you know even if they aren’t a customer yet. It’s actually brings up an interesting point around what’s going on a lot of schools today with bullying and that kind of thing. I know you have two awesome kids. Do you think that trait is something that someone’s either born with and has because of their parenting, how they’re raised, or do you think we could hire a sales person that doesn’t necessarily have that trait and we could teach that to them at an older age?

Chris Dale:     I think it definitely can be taught. I think like anything if you put enough effort into something, if I don’t give [inaudible] [12:35] with this. If a person is intrinsically motivated and obviously, I mean they are just naturally driven to be successful and whatever definition that means for them. Because not everybody is motivated by the same things whether it’s money, whether it’s prestige, whether it’s like mission.

It doesn’t matter what it is. If they have that motivation to change, then I think they can be taught, but I think that’s the key factor. Like they gotta want to change just like anything else. If you want to lose weight and you wanna get into shape naturally, there’s plenty of things out there that help you do it. But if [inaudible] [13:03] best for the world, but if you don’t step forward at the gym, you’re not gonna make any improvement.

Josh:     Yeah, I made some hiring mistakes in my day of believing in some people that seem like they really had it. I think if I look back at mistakes I made in hiring, it’s that I believed in people too much because I like them. I think they had a good presence and they were likeable in the meeting, but they lacked that self-motivation. And I think it’s because I’ve always relied on my ability to… I feel like I could really be the cheerleader and pump people up and drive them. But a big lesson I learned over the years was you need to hire people that are already motivated. You can’t motivate somebody.

Chris Dale:     that’s right

Josh:     So what’s your take on that? How do you in an interview, in a brief meeting with someone before you hire them, the prims in the pudding? How do you find out someone’s motivated or not?

Chris Dale:     Yeah that’s an awesome question. It’s one of probably the hardest things I think to identify. And in that same vein of like how do you figure out if they’ve got really work ethic. That’s hard to prove until they actually do it. Well I think several techniques that I found are a bit more successful than others are I think things like asking them even [inaudible] [14:08] okay, when you were in high school and you had your summer breaks what did you do. [Inaudible] question figure out and that’s gonna tell you a lot. And it’s… this is where you have to be really gray in the sales manager world because you can hire somebody who has had to really roll up their sleeves and help contribute to the family dollar because it didn’t come from a lot and that obviously gives them an intrinsic motivation.

But I found extremism [inaudible] some people that had very wealthy parents too and they’re self-motivated because they want to go out and accomplish the same things their parents accomplished. So there’s no two like perfect demographic support from. And I think you learn a lot you’ll learn a lot about hey when I was in a school you know, summer breaks I worked. I don’t care if they made ten dollars a day. Like it has nothing to do it with [inaudible] [14:49] is the fact that they could have you know sat at home, played video games or just hang out with friends. But they chose, they made a positive choice sometimes, their parents nudge them to go out and do anything. You have a paper route, you know wait tables or dust tables; whatever might have been and same question for while in college.

What did you do when you weren’t in class? Asking them about challenges they faced, and challenges that they’ve overcome, and really getting deeper that. You know beyond oh I had a really tough paper. You know my senior seminar I had a [inaudible] [15:16] at our library. Like that’s okay they’re not talking like can you tell me about a bad time in your life. Like you really got kicked and not down and you had to do something to overcome it and what was it like, how did it shape or change you? Your question; you hear me ask a hundred times in every process is just simply, what are you motivated by?

Period; and listening to that answer and I think sometimes you get the stock answer. You know success or this or the other. I personally am a big fan of the good old fashioned [inaudible] [15:44] money. And about you know what I mean? Like what you know no one comes to work for free and especially in sales roles where you are paid commensurate to your success. Money is already of time a winning factor and I love a good sales person that’ll just come out and tell me hey, I’m driven by money because I know that’s person is somebody I can take and mold. And if I show them the path, they will go get it.

Josh:     Totally, I totally agree with that. You know and I… You know curious about a lot of people I run into are in a situation where they’ve made the mistake. They’ve hired the wrong person already. And by time that I get to them within their business to talk about what do we do now, how do we untangle the wires, how do we get things the right path. Most people we talk to are really frustrated with salespeople.

I know the natural answer is… I want to ask you. What do you do with those people when you know you made a mistake? The natural answer is cut them obviously. But my question to you is, when do you know that you’ve spent enough time in developing someone? Like when is it the sales person who’s struggling fault and when is it that they haven’t been given enough management or time to develop?

Chris Dale:     Yes, good question. I think really that’s a look in the mirror conversation that every sales manager has to have. And I go back to a kind of our initial discussion today which is can I ask myself first of all have I made a clear correct definition of an expectation [inaudible] [17:13] person. Can I… can they say… can they tell me right now if I say to them, “What are your top three responsibilities in your role?” Can they tell me what those are and they’re exactly in line with what they should be? That’s number one. And then and I ask myself again have I taught this person how to execute on the game plan we’ve agreed upon?

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Have I sat with them and role played scenarios or coached them on whatever that actually might be; cold calling, client presentations, closing techniques; whatever the skill set might call for. Have I put in the personal time to teach this person how to be successful? And then at last again, have I followed up? Have I mentored this person daily, weekly if needed to make sure that their activities are the right targets, that the conversations they’re having are the right targets or right conversations? And if all those boxes are being checked yes, and I can look at the mirror and say I have done this. And I don’t even think it’s about like the time.

I think we can make a mistake and say it’s just [inaudible] six weeks … What does that mean? Again am I gonna actually walk shoulder to shoulder with them every six weeks and put the effort in myself? And then maybe six weeks is enough or maybe six days is enough. Who knows? But when I can look in the mirror and answer all those questions hey, I’ve done everything in my power to either give them the right mentor, be the mentor for them, give them the coaching, the teaching, the guidance, and the follow up, and accountability. If all those things are done and they’re still not meeting expectations, it probably goes down to a desire or some sort of trait that cannot be changed and it’s time to [inaudible].

Josh:     That’s really great. And I know from personal experience. I know you definitely do is a lot of times, you’re scared to have that conversation with that struggling salesperson. Like really scared because you probably like them, and they’re trying, and you think that they’re gonna blow up. And usually that conversation is like they’re feeling the same thing you are.

Chris Dale:     exactly

Josh:     They usually know what’s not a fit either and you walk [crosstalk] [19:01]

Chris Dale:     And almost every single one of those instances, people wanna leave. And frankly if they are the right person and they’re just maybe not creating the right habits or they need some extra teaching more often than not, they’re thankful that you cared enough to say, “Hey the direction you’re heading right now isn’t getting the results that you want or I want. But I believe in you. I care about you as a professional friend. So let’s work together to fix that and I’m committed to you that I’m gonna do my part to help you get there.” And for the right to pull they go, “Yeah thank you appreciate it. I appreciate that. I mean please I don’t like my paycheck right now. I love if it was double. How the hell do I get there?”

Josh:     100 percent and you mentioned this earlier you know you’re an old school guy. I’m like you. I’m old school in that. One… I’ve noticed over the last three to five years a theme in teams and management in just the business world as I’ve gotten more used to talking to more people that I feel like the world has gotten a bit soft in terms of old school accountability, having direct conversations, telling it like it is, giving people direct feedback. Have you seen the same thing? If so, how do you see that hurting organization or [crosstalk] [20:10]

Chris Dale:     … same thing. And I’ve had the privilege now to work for three large companies and three very different companies and there are some consistent trends. And you know I wish I could answer why as my ideas to why answer might be a generational thing. I don’t think it’s just about the age of the employees. I think it’s just the kind of the time in the world that we live in. Sometimes, we’re so spoiled by the technologies and the advances and every part of our lives that we try to kind of tend to lean that into our work lives too. And good old fashioned roll up your sleeves hard work doesn’t become attractive anymore because we don’t have to work for so many other things.

We have 500 channels at our fingertips. We have a whole shelf of encyclopedia with one click of a button, right. So I think that’s just kind of the trend and I see especially in sales teams where the ability or I guess really desire to just flat out want to work harder in a competition is gone by the way. And I think they don’t mistake too many sales teams make is trying to find that one easier path to get rich quick kind of thing or if I make this one phone call it’s gonna unload this entire book of business. If I do this one activity is gonna do this.

And you’ve probably heard before my biggest one might be a puppy is the team that does pyrolysis by analysis. We spend days and hours and weeks strategizing around territories and key account plans and what’s in that let’s study up on the product lines of every account that we might call on one day and you know. And to a certain degree you just gotta fucking pick up the phone and make the phone call. [Inaudible] [21:50] just fucking do it.

Josh:     I get frustrated sometimes on that point of you know… I think the number one question I get from younger people that reach out to me is like Josh hey, is there any books you recommend for you know… I want to be a great salesperson or motivational books. And granted I am a big fan of self-improvement, reading books. But I want to reply these people like just go, do it. Like quit reading about it and go do it. So I think it’s the same way as I think. So I want to change tunes a little bit.

So when we go out and the way our philosophy at Alcor is when I look at a company or a team. I really look at it in three ways. I can go into a team and analyze it by looking at three core things. Like I wanna hear your thoughts out of these. I look at the people as number one. So you’ve gotta have the right people in any teams. So any sports team, you have to have the right athletes on a field in the right positions. Secondly, you need to have the right process. They need to be following the right sales process for how you’re attacking your customers.

And then thirdly, you gotta have the right culture. So if all three of those things are working together, the team is gonna win. So I know you’ve been a part of a lot of teams that have had ups and downs. You’ve been a part of a lot of really great organizations and teams that have dipped a bit and teams that were not as good that grew with that people process and culture kind of thought. What are some themes you’ve seen of why great teams fail or why average teams do not [crosstalk] [23:22]?

Chris Dale:     I think if I were to add to your bucket of three and I think your kind of [inaudible] with the people. But I would put a exclamation right there and say the right people, but also the right coach; the right leader. I think that’ll be the one pillar there because to your point where I have seen branches, offices, groups of sales teams succeed or fail, it is almost always come back to the right or the wrong leader in that seat. And you’re an example of that. When I have to [inaudible] [23:54] to move to San Diego to make some changes, it changed everything. And if you remember we did change a few of the people, but we didn’t change all the people.

We had a lot of the right people. We just maybe the wrong leader in that seat and injecting you in there made a big difference and you’ve seen it you know and promotions that you’ve had any of you. You know the wrong promotion to a leadership role can make or kill a team. And so I think people culture, that’s key. I’m trying to think if there’s anything else. I think it really does. I think it’s coming out to that leader. You hear a lot of times there’s no bad teams, there’s bad leaders. There’s some great books out there about Navy Seals who they’ll take one boat leader and move them around to six different boat teams in training and that leader seems to win every time. You know regardless of what team members they put underneath that person, they win regardless.

Josh:     Totally, so we have a lot of listeners that are business owners, so they are the leader. But they’re trying to grow a sales team or trying to get one started and they’re wearing ten hats, but then they’re also trying to be the leader of the sales team. And usually, if it’s not working just not chemically and there may come at what they’re good at. They’re entrepreneurs, they build businesses, they’re visionaries, they’re not in the weeds managing the team. What it… like what advice would you have for a business owner who… Like what should they be looking for in a leader? What is to you, what do you see are the best characteristics of a great leader for sales team?

Chris Dale:     To me, a couple things. I mean if at all possible I wanna find someone who’s got a proven track record and who’s done that multiple times, has led people to success. But I also you know and again you’re included in this list. I have hired and trained plenty people who don’t necessarily have a proven track record, but have the X factors and have the qualities I’m looking for. So those qualities are things like again going back to it a high level of personality presence, right. That’s what I look for in my sales person, that’s also what I look for my sales leader.

My sales leader is someone that if I’m sitting across from them, they will literally change my energy [inaudible] [26:01] because they’re just so motivating, captivating, charismatic. They are the person who can light up the room, who brings the room up, brings people up around them. They literally walk into the room with a smile. And yet, they still have the savviness and inspire to get seriousness in the times when it’s called to be serious. When I look at like who’s my perfectly leader, it’s that person who’s charismatic, people are drawn to them, people are loyal to them because this leader has their team’s best interest at heart.

The leader is there for the team not just there for themselves. They’re not there just to give their own bonus. They’re there because they want everyone on their teams to be successful and make a lot of money and be productive knowing that of course that ultimately reward them as well. But that intrinsic motivation. And to your point again, it’s actually not to motivate people so I’m [inaudible] [26:49] to I want inspiring leaders. Well because inspiring leaders, they’re gonna take your unmotivated team, inspire them to be great, inspire them to get …. So that’s [inaudible].

Josh:     Love that, love that. Does that leader need to be the best salesperson you think?

Chris Dale:     Absolutely not. You know if you look at any great quality coach in the NFL or any major sport rarely were they the top athlete in that field. Usually they came from the field is that they play the games because they gotta know the game, but very rarely were they quote-unquote best player on the field.

Josh:     Yeah, I remember speaking of the inspiration part. I remember you quite remember the stories because I think you got in some trouble with Chelsea your wife. You threw a goal out to us; the big team that we had hit some… I forget what it was. Some big quarterly goal or monthly goal. And you said if you did it, if we hit it, you would shave your head in front of the whole company at some conference. Just something like that. I remember we hit it, you did have to shave your head. So that was always a good story in [crosstalk] [27:48]

Chris Dale:     One I didn’t tell her that I [inaudible] goal. And two when you guys achieved the goal, I didn’t tell her it’s happening. So it wasn’t till that night after I got home from the sales conference that I was greeted at the door with a very not impressed faced.

Josh:     Well you have a head of hair and face for radio and for audio. Like that’s why we’re not doing a news stations broadcast. All right cool. Well I wanna end on a little bit of a personal note. I think it’s a good inspiration for a lot of people. It definitely was for me. You know without going to the details. You’ve had a tough last year, year and a half with some health issues that were kind of a scare for you and you’re on the up and up right now.

You really… you bit them and you probably have a whole different perspective on business, life, motivation; a lot of different things. Would love to hear just a couple of things from you about maybe a different outlook you have right now or some advice for some people out there that are going through some really hard time whether it’s physically or financially or anything coming out in the [crosstalk] [28:56]

Chris Dale:     … those who don’t know. I was diagnosed with [inaudible] failure in October of 2016. Came completely out of nowhere, hit me like a ton of bricks. No family history of that, no personal history of that. And doctors still to this day really don’t quite understand why. And I went through a lot of trial tribulations and a lot of complications you know health wise because of that diagnosis. At one point, I was on the heart transplant list. And thank God I’ve been fortunate enough to recover from that and I’m still not completely out of the list. I still have to follow [inaudible] [29:31] schedule in terms of health and exercise, and medications. But because of I’m a person of faith, so I believe that I got that as well as the best care in the world [inaudible].

And I tell you I was talking to somebody about this the other day, it’s crazy that sounds as much of a journey as I was to go through. And not that I love what had happened. I’m grateful that it happened in a way because a lot of takeaways came from it. One of which is the obvious is the immediate breaks the [inaudible] and life being slowed down from you know, I’m a 100 mile an hour guy and working in an industry that’s 100 miles an hour. And immediately the brakes gets put on it and it’s like whoa, you also in your face of the real reality and whatever challenges or stressors you might have thought you had yesterday at work just got completely real.

But the two big things for me that I learned. I think one is the power of the mind. And in this I take with me still in terms of just whatever my personal goals are, my business goal are, the power of your mind to literally and chemically change your body and specifically not to get wishy washy unlike what we think is gonna happen is gonna happen and on the book a secret. But to a degree, there are truth in the sense that if we think we’re gonna lose, if we think we’re gonna get sick or we’re gonna get hurt, or we think the negative is gonna happen, you know our body releases chemicals to protect us in that fight or flight mode and we literally break our body down.

And that’s what causes things like depression and weight gain and all kinds of stressful disorders and addictions and all kinds of challenges versus when we find pleasure in life and we’re grateful for life and we think positively. We can literally change the chemical makeup because our brains releases different hormones into our bodies. And a lot of the times when my doctor to tell me like you know this is gonna be the outcome and you’re gonna have to have this. I would literally tell them, “No, I’m not. I’m going to heal. I’m going to get better. My body is gonna heal.” And I would want to release those positive dopamine to my body. And dopamine actually acts as a healing chemical part of it.

You know again, I don’t think what I experienced was some wacky miracle. I think it was again great care, great doctors, frankly a lot of good luck, and being blessed. But also, my mindset was I was going to get better. I was not going to die. I was not gonna have a heart transplant. I was gonna get through this with friends and family supporting me. And it leads me to kind of my second point which was as a leader… and one big professional take away. When I was first in the hospital, (I don’t know if you know the story). I was first in the hospital for a couple weeks and the company I was with at the time had employees nationwide and they were gracious enough to write me handwritten letters.

You know and some were short and sweet. Hey, thinking about you. Get well soon. Some were a little bit longer. And one in particular from a young lady who had worked with me at the time for about six years. She wrote me this was a wonderful heart felt note. You know just about how she was feeling and wishing me the best. You know she was thinking about me, praying about me and letting me know that I’ve been such an impact in her life and she just really appreciative to have known me. And she had attached in there a copy of an email that I’d written to her boss six years prior at the time because her and I had done a role played together and I thought she really did a good job.

So I emailed her manager that time saying, “Hey you know this girl just did a [inaudible] [32:55] role play. Please keep [inaudible] on her, please give her some additional attention. She’s gonna be a rock star for us one day. You know definitely like let’s make sure we’re giving her attention.” And her manager forwarded it to her to say this is what the vice president thought of you. You did a really good job. And she said in her note, she said, “I just you know, I kept that email that you sent not to me, but about me in my inbox for all these years. And I’ve had on three different occasions thought about quitting, thought I wasn’t right for this business. You know lots of goals, I’ve got struggles.

And every time I go back to that e-mail and I read those words that you wrote and it re-inspired me that you know hey, I am good at this job, I can kick ass in this business and I’m reinvigorated.” And it actually… you could have knocked me with a feather you know because to be very frank, I’ve forgotten that I even wrote that email. It was six years prior. And to be honest, I write tiny emails like that. [Inaudible] [33:44] all the time. So that transaction that we had was something for me that was kind of an everyday occurrence. But for her, it potentially changed to the trajectory of her career and it really hit home with me on two fronts. One, holy crap!

We got a lot of responsibilities as leader because what to us is an everyday activity, you know, you role play, give someone feedback, boom, next. But to us, that’s like… just like you get in your car and drive to work. But to the person that we’re helping, we’re either making or breaking their day and particularly their career. And this is not just say praises. I certainly didn’t. She earned everything she got. But the fact that I had even one little percent of influence in that in a positive way really made me feel good number one. And also reminded me like oh my gosh is that the first they also thought about was, “Wow! How many times have I not done that? Have I not given someone some encouragement? And maybe if that’s led them to [inaudible] their career, or end their career before it should have.

So it really gave me perspective of like how much responsibility we have as leaders that we might take for granted that for us it’s a little… it’s a compliment that we didn’t give or we did give that changes somebody’s day, changes somebody’s month or year. And how much responsibility we have to really be mindful of that. And I try to now make that a part of my daily routine. If I see something someone does that’s positive, let them know. It’s easier to find a [inaudible] [34:58]. It’s easier to find something to criticize, but it’s challenging to tell somebody a simple hey, great job on that. Again to us it costs nothing. It doesn’t take ten seconds, but it could change their whole outlook. So that was a big takeaway; crazy situation.

Josh:     That’s really awesome and I appreciate that story you were definitely… you’re a influence to… big influence to a lot of us that watched you fight through that and take such good takeaways out of that, positivity out of that. So let’s close on this one question. The sales role is competitive, it’s hard, it’s a grind. You know waking up, getting your ass kicked some days, hung up on.

It could be the lows could be lowest, the highs could be highest as we all know. What is one piece of advice, everything you learn in your career, in your personal life, the struggles? Let’s take that struggling sales person out there. They wanna be in sales, they want… they’re motivated to make money, they’re good at it, but they’re just having the worst month, the worst quarter ever. What’s the one tangible piece of advice you can give us someone in [crosstalk] [36:05] to get out of it?

Chris Dale:     It’s a [inaudible] not you know not having the best time, quarter, day; whatever. If I look back to the particular time in my life where I certainly fell on that category. The thing that got me out of that was taking a step back and really analyzing; am I really working as hard as I think I’m working? Am I calling the right people, am I having the right activities, am I aligned to myself and thinking that I’m having the right activities and the only person you know [inaudible] is myself. And then taking that steps say I have enough.

I’m not gonna put up with my own bullshit anymore. I’m not gonna lie to myself anymore. I know what I need to do to be successful. Whether that’s a certain list of customers I need to call on, a certain level of activity I need to have. At the end of the day, I shouldn’t have… my sales manager should be the least of my concerns. I’m gonna hold myself accountable to having really quality activity, to having high expectations for how I’m gonna play my game and how I’m gonna carry myself through my day. And I’m going to reach whatever goal is in front of me. And taking a step back, taking restock and figure it out.

Josh:     I love that. Just give it a little bit more. I love that. So I read an interesting stat the other day that if you wake up one hour early, just one hour earlier than you usually do (which any of us could do) for an entire year.

Chris Dale:     How much?

Josh:     Do you know how much time you gain back there in that year?

Chris Dale:     Wow!

Josh:     15 days! If I wake up one hour earlier than everybody else. I got 15 days of my year all over. So Chris thank you so much. This is awesome and you are obviously business mentor to me, but also a life mentor, my friend [crosstalk]. Love you to death. Thanks so much for joining us today.

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