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Self-Directed Sales Coaching? with Ralph Barsi [Episode 809]

Ralph Barsi is Global VP of Inside Sales at Tray.io and one of the most respected voices in modern sales. He’s one of my favorite people to talk with about books. He’s an incredible reader. About sales. About anything.

In today’s episode, in addition to books, Ralph and I discuss how much responsibility sellers have for their own development. One of my favorite topics. There’s a burgeoning movement called self-directed coaching. In other words, individuals taking responsibility for their own coaching. Ralph and I dig into this whole topic. It’s important because no one cares about your career and your success more than you do. So, what are you going to do about it?

Episode Transcript

AP: Ralph Barsi! Welcome back to the show.

RB: Thank you, Andy. How are you?

AP: I’m doing well, you know, it doesn’t feel like we’ve known each other forever.

RB: It does, thank you for saying that the feeling’s mutual.

AP: How many times have we actually seen each other in person?

RB: I think once,

AP: I think once, you know, there’s people in life that you meet, you think, you know, we could just talk about anything forever and we may do that today. It may not, it may not be about sales, but we’re going to talk forever.

RB: You know, I’ve often likened life to, uh, you know, rooms full of tuning forks. So when you walk in, you know, you’re, you’re set to the same pitch as maybe a few others in the room. And you’ll only resonate with a few, uh, where others won’t even know you’re in the room. And, uh, you know, you’re one of the guys who’s clicked with me pretty much every single time.

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AP: Yeah, well, likewise. Yeah. It’s it’s it’s yeah, there are those, these people you meet in life, that’s like, Oh yeah, I can spend a lot more time with that person. So unfortunately we’re separated by most of the time by 3,000 miles, but whatever. All right. So one of the things we share an interest is reading. Now we talk about books a lot.

And when you’ve got on your personal website, the list of hundred books people should read. Um, but I just thought, okay, we got, let’s start off talking about books. We’ve read recently, cause I’m sure you’ve got a bunch and I’ve got a number that I’ve read that, that, uh, I want to tell people about as well. So, so give me one of yours. Well sort of trade.

RB: Sure. Uh, so at this very moment, I’m reading a book called The Millionaire Real Estate Agent, by Gary Keller.

AP: Ah, Keller Williams. I take it.

RB: That’s it. So he also wrote the one thing, which is a fabulous book and introduces what’s known as the domino effect. Maybe we could talk about that later, but I just liked his style, his approach, and I’m a nonfiction fan.

I like business. I like reading about leadership sales and, uh, one thing I I’ve loved about Gary’s books and books of this nature are they, they don’t avoid the topic of mindset. It’s always at the forefront of the book. And I think it’s so critical to write about mindset, talk about it. And this is just one of those books that just nails it.

AP: Yeah. I think when people hear mindset and I know I’m sort of like this, you know, and they tend to think about motivational speakers and so on, which, you know, I liked some of that. Some I don’t like, uh, you know, sort of self help type thing, but, but for me, mindset is also curiosity.

RB: That’s right.

AP: And, you know, for, for me, that’s, that’s been my primary way of navigating life.

RB: Yeah. It’s being curious. Inquisitive. You know, uh, wanting to grow and develop, you know, hone in on certain skills competencies. I think you’re right. It falls into that same umbrella.

AP: And, and was just having a conversation with somebody right before we got on is, is resilience. Yeah. Again, I think there’s another part that’s for me, it may be the top two characteristics perhaps you want to have in sellers is curiosity and resilience.

RB: Without question and a attitude, a great attitude, you know, you’re going to hit more rough patches than not. And you know, you’ve got to have that, that. Purpose from within, that’s driving you to just pick yourself up and try to try to gain traction and momentum. And that requires attitude.

AP: Well, I think it’s one thing, cause you can learn from sports and I’m always sort of a little leery of sports analogies in sales. Cause I think they’re overdone but times, but, but, but the fact is, yeah, you hear baseball, professional baseball players talking about this general. They play 162 game season.

Can’t get too high. Can’t get too low. Cause if they got it amped up for every single game, they’d be an emotional wreck by the end of the season.

RB: I love it.

AP: And it’s just, you have to have this, you know- But they take losses hard and I’m sure that eats away at coaches. Why I’d never want to be a professional sports coach, but, um, you gotta bounce back and, and they’re constantly trying to master their craft.

I mean, they go out and do batting practice every day. They, you know, pitchers, you know, practice, uh, you know, various drills everyday, as well as pitching multiple times a week when they’re not pitching or throwing multiple times a week when they’re not pitching. It’s like, yeah, they’re working on constantly working on their craft.

RB: that’s all right. Yeah, that’s right. Uh, did you Andy ever read the book by Jim Collins, Great By Choice.

AP: I read Good To Great. I’m not sure. I read Great by Choice.

RB: It was the follow on to Good to Great. But anyway, I’m bringing up that title because he introduces the 20 Mile March in that book, which is, yeah, you never get too high, never get too low. You stay very consistent day by day. Uh, are you familiar with the fable? Like I could tell you in a minute, it won’t take too long. So let’s say, you know, you’re in San Diego, let’s say the two of us are standing bare feet in the water on the coast of San Diego. And we decide, you know what, we’re going to get to the Northeast corner of Maine in a, you know, as fast as we can get there. And I set out for the Northeast corner of main and I go 50 miles in one day, then 10, the next 30, the next, then none the next. So on and so forth. If it’s raining, I’m not doing anything. If it’s sunny outside, I’m going as far as I can go, where you, on the other hand, no matter what happens, you’re going 20 miles and the next day you’re going 20 miles. So on and so forth. Well, by the time I get to the Northeast corner of Maine, you’ve already been there like three months. Because you were even keel, you, you, you knew where your thresholds were and where your limits were on the high part and on the low part. And you never surpassed either one of them and you know, you were Steady Eddie all the way through, and it’s very similar to that. It’s just grinding it out every day. I’m a drummer. So it’s going over the fundamentals and the rudiments of drumming over and over and over again, to polish the chops. And to your point, master the craft.

AP: Yeah, you bring to mind a favorite quote of mine, which I found, I think in Forbes magazine in my twenties. So yeah, about a hundred years ago. And, um, it was a quote from, you know, the back  of Forbes, the back page was always full of quotes and other things. And, um, it was from Paul Tillage who was American philosopher- theologian and this struck me, I cut it out and I think I have the original, still somewhere on a refrigerator for, for a long, long time. And the, and the quote was, to the point you just made is the awareness of the ambiguity of one’s highest achievements, as well as one’s deepest failures is a definite symptom of maturity.

RB: The awareness of the ambiguity.

AP: Right. Of one’s highest achievements as well as one’s deepest failures. And that just stuck with me. And that’s really been sort of a guiding principle for me throughout my life. My work life in particular. In the grand scheme of things, what does it really mean? Right. To win a deal or to lose the deal? You know, it’s not, no, it’s not a judgment on me as an individual, but also it’s just keep it in perspective.


RB: define you as a person, you know, those events, whether they’re great or not so great. Uh, also, it, it kind of behooves you to detach almost emotionally and kind of see yourself as objectively as you can so that you can learn from the successes and the losses. And you could take those learnings to teach others, you know, pay it forward. That’s the way I see it.

AP: Absolutely. Absolutely. Well, a book I read recently that I. Really enjoyed, um, was by one of my favorite authors is a guy named Michael Bungay Stanier who wrote a book called The Coaching Habit, which to me is such a marvelous book. It’s really, it’s a great sales book. When you, when he takes you through with his seven questions that you’re asked to coach somebody.

Yeah, it’s the same questions you would ask if you’re, if you’re working on a deal and talking about the customer, but he wrote a follow on book to that called The Advice Trap. And again, for managers, it’s talking about be humble, stay curious and change the way you lead forever. And, and it’s talking about, you know, how do you, how do you avoid, you know, displaying your knowledge, as opposed to helping somebody find an answer to their problem. Right. And and he talks about what he calls The Advice Monster. We all become, we want to make recommendations. We make suggestions as opposed to following the questioning habit to enable people sort of say, Oh yeah, well, that’s what the problem is.

And this is why it’s important to me. And yeah, you could maybe help me do this, but this is why, you know, this is what I’ve learned about how to, how to address it.

RB: Let’s, let’s get into that a little, because first of all, I’m those are two books I now have to buy and read, that’s number one. Number two, is it suggesting or is he suggesting rather that we’re, uh, we’re sharing advice and guidance based on the answers to questions that we’ve asked first?

AP: Well, no. Advice Monster is basically, yeah, you aren’t asking the questions, right? I mean, there it’s coming from a position of making it about you as opposed to the other person. Um, which I think is a common failing of managers. And, and secondly, is, is you, are you there to identify the problem and solve it for somebody or you’re there to help them solve this problem?

RB: You definitely want to teach them how to fish.

AP: Yeah. And in Michael’s books, as I said, sort of just lay it out so clearly. So, uh, yeah, both The Coaching Habit I’ve been raving about for several years now. And he’s he sold a ton of these books. I mean, it’s, it’s amazing, but, but I’m sure The Advice Trap will be as successful for him.

RB: Well, I’ve noted them both, and they’ll probably be in the mail within the next 24 hours because I do love reading and I, I, I appreciate you even bringing up the whole topic of books cause I do love them.

AP: Yeah, well, I figured, so I think I’d calculate, I don’t know. I wrote this recently in a post, but I think during the, during the first two months of the shutdown or month and a half, two and a half months as read 31 Business books and like 18 novels or something like that. I mean, it’s just, I mean, I sort of read yeah, that’s a little faster than I normally write, but yeah, if I’m doing a couple hundred interviews a year on this podcast of a lot of people written books, then yeah. You read a lot of books.

RB: Yeah, you just devour them.

AP: Yeah. Well, it’s fun. I mean, another one I read recently is really interesting. And he’ll be on the show, we’ve interviewed, but we held off on the publishing the interview because the book got held up for publishing because of the pandemic, but by a professor from Wharton, um, Jonah Berger, the book called The Catalyst: How To Change Anyone’s Mind, and another excellent book, um, and actually was as much as about, not really being persuasive as much as about how to engage other people in ways that don’t erect barriers to change. So, you know,  as he said everybody has a persuasion radar or persuasion resistance, I think, as they called it that’s yeah. How do you, how do you engage? How do you find that common ground?

How do you find that middle ground? The set of shared experiences, perhaps that enable you to talk with somebody who maybe has a completely opposite point of view from you on something. And it gives a great several great examples about, uh, how this happens and, and, uh, yeah. Some from the political arena even cause, you know, we talk about how polarized we are as a society these days.

Well, how do you have conversations if you’re polarized and he gives some great examples about what people are doing canvassers going door to door, uh, you know, finding common ground with the people they’re talking to, that, that they are, you might think from the surface have nothing else to share.

RB: I think it’s beautiful and what great timing for him to be publishing this, this title.

AP: Yeah. And also very sales oriented. I mean, he has a great quote toward the end of the book, which I love. He quotes this behavioral scientist, Kurt Lewin, who once noted, “If you want to truly understand something, try to change it.”  But Berger goes on to say, the reverse is also true to truly change something you need to understand it.

RB: Ooh,

AP: deep.

And that, that, that should be on the wall of every sales person in America.


deep. Uh, it reminds me of seek first to understand then to be understood

AP: Right. Stephen-.

RB: Stephen Covey. That’s

AP: Yes. Yeah. Um,

RB: So good.

AP: yeah, another one. That’s on one of my list. Um, I heard an interview with, uh, Dan Heath,  of the Heath brothers, his new book Upstream- and  I remember hearing him on the Armchair Expert Podcast, which is my favorite favorite podcast. And, um, yeah, it’s about systems thinking is about, you know, understanding how to solve problems. And, and there’s a great quote I remember he talked about in the interview, which I went home and looked up, I was out running at the time, but I think it speaks those perfectly to what goes on in sales is from Edwards Deming, who is the quality control guru, uh, whose quote was quote. “Every system is perfectly designed to get the results it gets.”

RB: It’s very true.

AP: It’s so true.

RB: I’m writing it down. That’s why I’m quiet. Cause it’s so, it’s so true.

AP: Think about it. If something speaks to a sales processes in spades, that is it right there.

RB: That’s the one. And it also, again reminds me of, uh, you know, systems over goals.

AP: Yeah. Yeah,

RB: Gotta be gotta be dialed in with systems and processes if you want to get anywhere sustainably.

AP: Yeah. Well, and so that’s something that’s always, when I talked to so many people in sales as I do and, and, you know, live in that world, but it’s like, yeah, we have processes that people follow, especially in sort of the SaaS world that to my way of thinking don’t produce great results in general. Right. I mean, I think abnormally low close rates, and it’s not true across the board, but it’s sort of out there.

Right. And it’s like, so our answer is oftentimes as, you know, if we, we, we know what our conversion rates are all the way through the funnel. And we know that if we put a certain number of stuff or crap, as I like to call it, in the top of the funnel, we’ll get X amount out at the bottom. And so the answer to growing is, but if we want to grow 15%, we got about 15 or 30% more crap into the top of the funnel in order to hit that growth number. And instead of saying, well, wait a second. What if, what if we say, let’s start at the beginning, instead of closing, one of every five deals is I’ve having a 20% win rate, let’s try 25% win rate. What would the impact be on going backwards on every step of our process? And I’ve yet to run into a CRO that says, Oh yeah, yeah, let’s look at it that way. I’m sure there must be somebody out there, but it’s like, let’s start there.

RB: Yeah, those are the outliers.

AP: Right. Let’s look at systems. Let’s look at our system. Let’s not just take it for granted this is the way it has to work.

RB: Well, we tend to measure we’ve started at least measuring, uh, our teams on their adherence to process because it’s that important.

AP: And so how do you do that?

RB: Uh, well, in my team, we have what we call standards of excellence. It’s four pillars or four P’s rather: performance, process, proficiency and professionalism.

And, uh, in the process column on a monthly basis, uh,

we allow our reps to do self-assessment and ranked themselves five to one in categories that are beneath each of those headings. A five being, you know, they’re just exceptional. They’re experts sought out by their peers, uh, where one is the complete opposite, where we’re constantly managing them. Uh, they’re pretty close to not having a clue of what’s going on. Uh, so they’ll self assess and then, uh, the, the leaders will assess along with them and then they’ll, they’ll come up with an overall score, which essentially ranks them among their, their colleagues for a given month or quarter.

And what’s really, really good about this is specifically for let’s take sales development reps. Most, if not, all of them are aspiring to become salespeople. They want to be AEs at some point and hiring managers in subsequent roles, whether it’s in the field organization or otherwise can take a look at the patterns over time of how well they did in process versus how proficient they got over time and how they evolved as representatives of that company and the offering, you know, how well they did in performance. And are they carrying themselves professionally to discern whether or not this is someone who’s going to produce sooner rather than later, once they’re hired into this new role.


And, and it just so happens that, um, I’ll come back to center here. Uh, that that process happens to be one of those key pillars. So we’ll take a look at, you know, their, their CRM maintenance or their meeting hygiene, for example, or if they’re adhering to the touch patterns that we asked them to adhere to et cetera. And I think it’s a game changer.

AP: So process and then proficiency. What do you look at there?

RB: Uh, the difference between process and proficiency.

AP: When they’re assessing their proficiency? What are your, what are the things that heading.


RB: Sure. We’re taking a look at, um, their product knowledge. So we’ll certify them and you know, different facets of the product and, uh, we’ll, we’ll. Um, allow them to self assess on how well they know it. Uh, communication skills is another, so many times they have to present whether it’s from a front of a small group or large group.

Uh, now it’s all online. It’s pretty much all on zoom, for example, how well can they convey the message? Uh, what are their communication skills like in that venue? Another thing is just time management, organization productivity, taking ownership of the calendar, et cetera. That’s that’s what we would measure under proficiency

AP: What about performance?


RB: performance is, uh, the, the black and white quantifiable metrics of how are they doing against a monthly or quarterly quota? How are they doing against their activity? Uh, metrics, et cetera. Phone calls, emails, social outreach. That’s that’s all under performance. And then, um, finally professionally awesome.


His leadership skills, their coachability. So for example, if we were to take the five or the seven questions that you mentioned in that coaching book, how well are they? How well are those questions? I’m reaching the wrap. And how are they, how are they applying? What they’re learning? Um, are they, are they team players?

And if so, how, what, you know, what, what can they demonstrate or illustrate in terms of, uh, being great team players that that would fall under professionalism?

AP: So question about performance. I mean, are you read the same stats that I do? Yeah. 50% of reps are making quota, yada yada, yada, yada. Um, is quota still relevant?

RB: Wow. Well, let, let’s take the opposite. What, what if it, what if it wasn’t relevant? What if you just didn’t have to hit quota?

AP: Well, what else would we measure by performance? That’s what I really was getting at with that question. What are the things we could, what are areas we could measure that, um, maybe have more relevance. Yeah, I’m familiar with like Goodhart’s law is a British economist who said that, you know, when a put forces theorem apparently has been proven out with studies and so on, is, is that when a measure becomes a target, it loses all value as a measure because you optimize your process to achieve the target. So you’re not really measuring, you know, it’s not really become a true measurement at that point.

RB: Yeah, it reminds me of John wooden. You know how he didn’t have the UCLA Bruins looking at the scoreboard. He instead wanted to optimize each individual player on his team. You know, hold them to very high standards. There was no quote quota, you know, that they had to attain, but they had to be optimal in X number of areas and collectively they would win. And that’s exactly what happened. It was, you know, sticking to process. now you got my wheels turning.

AP: Well, cause all right. So let’s, let’s dive into this. Isn’t that the topic I’ve taught,

RB: in, in me, my,

AP: so,

RB: plus year career in sales, it’s just always been close to.

AP: Oh, come on. You haven’t been in sales that long

RB: I have, I had a full head of hair, Andy.

AP: when you started. Yeah. It’s just migrating stuff. So, so, um, so yeah, one of my things that I advocate for and I’ve managed. High growth sales teams using this is what I call true productivity, which is dollars of revenue generated per hour of actual sales time. And for me, that, that became a metric that gave me more information to use, to correlate what we’re doing to what was succeeding and what was working for us and on an individual level, as well as organizational level, I, it gave me a more accurate way to sort of, calculate what our actual capacity was to sell because yeah, for a limited by time, if I know how much revenue I can generate in a per unit of time, it gives me a better sense of, okay, what can we or truly do?

And, you know, cause I always am amused. I tell a story. I was speaking to a group of CEOs of portfolio company of a private equity firm and this was last year and I said, well, you know, I’m sure you’re all planning on raising quotas this year. Yeah. Yeah, we are great. Why don’t we start with the room and, yeah. So I’ve got an average and I think the average turned up to about 12% across these 10 companies. That’s a great, I said, so let me ask the question. So have you all invested to make your salespeople 12% better crickets? Right.

RB: Yeah, of course.

AP: So there’s the no correlation between the goals we’re setting and the way we’re trying to enable our people.

RB: Yeah. That’s a big, big point.

AP: And so it’s like, okay, well, we could deconstruct that, but, but it’s sort of true with productivity is, is, you know, I’ll ask a CEO or a VP of sales, I say, okay, well, on average, how many hours does it take sales, actual sales hours from initial point of contact to closing a deal. No idea, no idea, but that’s our, that’s our, that’s our limiting resource. So sellers this time. So how can you not know this? Somebody says, I said, well, what’s your, what’s the length of your sales cycle two months? I said, no, it’s not how many sales hours did it take? That’s the length of your sales cycle?

RB: Right, right. Wrong indicators.

AP: Yeah. And this is, but we’re still managing sales by these things. Yeah, it’s sort of like, and I’ve been talking about this for a long time, but it’s, but it’s sort of like a, as a reinforcing, uh, opinion piece of New York times last year, sometime Dave Leonhard a great writer people should follow. And, and, but talking about why are we still using GDP as a measure of economic productivity because the economy has changed so much yet. We’re still using these, these metrics from the thirties, and we’re doing this in sales as well. It’s 2020 let’s change. That’s why I asked the question. Why quota? If I could measure somebody’s productivity and say, I’m going to help you increase your productivity. Not that the quantity of things you do, but the amount of revenue you can generate per hour of being quote unquote in front of a customer.

RB: Well, definitely shines a bright light on our friends in enablement because this is where they can really step up. Uh, what, what you’re talking about reminds me of two concepts. One comes from Mark. Leslie, the sales learning curve. Oh that he published, I don’t know. ’05 or ’06 in the Harvard business review.

AP: I read that article.

RB: I got to see him present his idea about the sales learning curve at a luncheon hosted by Sequoia Capital. Uh, I once worked for a company that was backed by Sequoia. So I got that opportunity and it basically, it helped me put the, um, leader cap on and take a look at the ROI that a business expects from an individual contributor. Um, what it doesn’t talk about is the enablement of those individuals attributors to meet those goals sooner than later. The second concept is Mike Watkins. First 90 days, book where, or which I highly recommend where he talks about the breakeven point, where you will arrive at a company, for example, as a new individual contributorand you are a consumer of value. And until you become a contributor of value, I E close your first deal. Uh, you’ve not yet hit that break even point where that return on investment starts to be shown. So, uh, I just think that quota is going to allow to measure you know, progress in the sales learning curve, and it’s also gonna help measure hitting the break even point sooner than later. Uh, but it, it requires enablement without question, maybe that’s why, you know, a lot of companies, especially in the enterprise segment are looking for a lot more seasoned account executives who they don’t really have to train you. You know what I mean?

AP: ot that they ever were trained. Right. But yeah.

RB: Right. That assumes

AP: Yeah. I mean, train is, since I have experience.

RB: Yes.

AP: But not

RB: trained by life,

AP: trained by life school of hard knocks. Well, I mean, I think that’s, that’s true, but at the fact it does, you know, there’s a limited number of those people,

RB: True.

AP: right? I mean, everyone wants, everyone wants to hire superstars. It’s like, I mean, I, again always get amused by books as you know, how to hire, hire superstars, quote unquote. And it’s like, There just aren’t that many of them, I mean, and so, as a question, I’m interested in your take on this is when did, when did good become bad? Right.

RB: When did good become

AP: bad?

Cause right now it’s, you know, we’ve tell somebody.

RB: great.

AP: Yeah. Yeah, it has to be exceptional. What happened to good? I give me a, give me a team of 10 good salespeople versus a team of 10 that are three excellent and seven okay. I want good. What’s wrong

RB: You’ll

AP: good.

RB: day.

AP: What is wrong with good. And yet this has become, you know, we’ve made cause we feel the need that sensationalize everything, but it’s like, yeah, I hadn’t reached for the superstars.

Like yeah, yeah,

RB: You go do that.

AP: yeah. You go do that. Because first of all, superstars, as you’ve probably seen this, they’re contextual. I mean, And this whole thing is, yeah, I’ve been great at these three other companies selling this type product or coming over here. It’s like, yeah. I just don’t think that person’s gonna make it here.

RB: Well, I think it’s, um, you know, it’s, it’s relative, you know, their, their sales leaders. For example, since we’re talking about that, that just, they just have different standards for what or definitions rather for what they think good is versus great. You know, some, someone who thinks somebody’s great could just be good in someone else’s eyes.

It just depends on who you’re asking.

AP: Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. But I mean, so, sorry, go ahead. I’m sorry.

RB: know. I was just gonna say, I, I, I don’t know when though, to answer your question. Good. Became bad. That’s that’s a really good question.

AP: So let me ask you, who taught you how to sell.

RB: Oh, a number of people. My grandfather

AP: Well, let me, let me phrase, let me, let me phrase the question differently. So I’ll give you five choices and, you know, add them up to a hundred. Is who touches, sell coaches or mentors? That’s one to your peers. Three, your customers for company provided training five self development and experience.

RB: And I can only give you, I can’t say all of the above.

AP: The fraction is to total up to a hundred.

RB: Oh, interesting. Okay. Oh boy. Um, coaches and mentors would be the, the like 60%. I think, um, customers is probably

a good 15%. Um,

I would say self is 10, um, then peers and then training somewhere in there.

AP: You’re almost identical to me and

RB: Am I really,

AP: Oh yeah. Yeah. I’m 60% coaches, mentors, uh, customers, number two for me training last. So, so let me follow, let me follow that up. Cause we were talking about enablement, right?

RB: We were in here, here. We both stack right at the bottom.

AP: And so, so, um, Yeah. If you look at, if you look at a sales improvement, sales, performance improvement as a process, okay. And every process has a rate determining step for how fast the process can go is. My belief is that we can improve individual seller’s performance no faster than at the rate in which we improve the performance of their sales managers. So we’re spending. $20 billion a year on sales training in the U S of which about 5% gets spent on management training. You know, the average, average sales, average manager, not sales specific, but average manager receives their first management training after they’ve been on the job 10 years. So, um, yeah, that was from a book that was just published.

I had the author, Peter economy was on my show. Um, So if we’re spending $20 billion a year training 5%, shouldn’t we flip flop that should we make it, that we spend 90 to 95% of that on training the managers? Because they are this rate determining step by which the improvement, the individual contributors is based.

RB: Yeah. It’s teaching people how to coach. It’s teaching people how to lead.

AP: And especially if, if you’re like me, we learned from our coaches, that’s what we learned. We didn’t learn from training. So why are we spending this money on training? We should make these people. And I’ll go a step further. And I don’t know, maybe you do this, but I would propose that. Why don’t we just have a position on the staff that are coaches?

Why are managers, coaches? Why not? Why don’t we hire people that are trained to coach?

RB: You get me fired up, Andy,

AP: That’s what I’m here for.

RB: I’m going to go recalibrate some of our job descriptions and we’re going to probably start steering in another direction.

AP: Do you want to I’ll come consult, I’ll come consult. You can, uh, you can, you can pay him for that, but it’s, you know, we have to rethink these things, right? I mean, you look at professional sports teams and, and listeners know. Those are listening all the time. Probably rolling their eyes. When I start down this path is that, is that you look at soccer, which is one of my favorite sports.

And by the way, uh, Liverpool during while we’re recording one, the premier league for the first time in 30 years, just FYI for soccer fans out there,

RB: Did they really.

AP: want Manchester city lost to Chelsea on the strength of a goal by American Christian Pulisic and livable crown champion Liverpool. Okay. So. Here we go, you look at a staff of a soccer.

They’ve got like, you know, you’ve got the head coach manager, but then they have all these people like performance coaches, nutrition, health, performance, mental health, you know, mental psychology, sports, you know, sports, psychology coach. You know, these people are specialized knowledge about what they’re doing.

And we, we, we imbue sales managers with the surf heroic quality since we promoted them, you know, they must know everything about. Coaching performance. Well, they don’t know anything about coaching for us, coaching, you know, whatever they’re responsible for. We assume they’re experts in it and it’s unfair because they’re not trained in it.

So why don’t we get specialists in these things with coaching so important? Let’s let’s hire coaches.

RB: Yeah, why don’t we, it goes back to what we were talking about, right? At the beginning of our conversation about mindset, you know, you have people who are focused on helping you develop the mindset to be a great competitor,

AP: What do you ever, what, yeah. What, and do you ever watch the show? Have you ever watched the show? Billions.

RB: I have. Yes.

AP: Okay. Why doesn’t every sales team have a Wendy on it?

RB: right, right. Great question.

AP: I mean, w we know it’s important. We know mindset is important. So here’s the show. If people don’t watch a billion’s about a hedge fund and all the intrigue around it, but one of the key employees is a psychiatrist. A therapist. And when the traders are feeling down, they’re off their game, they’ve done it.

They go see her. I mean, why, why we assume that, you know, since we, you and I, at the beginning, talk about resilience, being such an important quality. Why should people be afraid to go ask somebody to help them become more resilient?

RB: Yeah, it’s a pretty logical move. If you ask me.

AP: I just been, I’ve been thinking about these things more and more as you can tell.

RB: No pun intended, but it’s a no brainer.

AP: Yeah. But you just, you know, it’s like, okay, maybe you have to be in sales for 40 years to sort of get to the point to look back and say, we’re just doing it all. We’re doing it all wrong.

RB: yeah. That’s where the epiphany usually hits.

AP: Yeah. And it’s like, Oh my God. Yeah. I think, you know, we should, we’re just completely focused on the wrong things.

RB: Oh man, Andy, we need to, we need to get this conversation in front of a lot of people. Don’t we.

AP: Yeah, because it’s, we have to, we have to be willing to confront. And I, you know, the, this idea about managers being the rate, determining step for improvement for frontline sales managers, that rate determining step is dictated by their supervisor. And then by the CRO V CSO, VP of sales, and then by the CEO. Yeah, we are, we are a sales because that’s somewhere up the line. They’ve decided this is okay.

RB: I have a question for you. So let’s go back to the ranking, you know, the coaches versus peers, et cetera. Would you put, would you put books in the kind of self development category

AP: yeah, yeah.

RB: Okay. The reason I ask the reason I ask is because I think it could, I mean, indirectly could also fall in the.

Coaches and mentors category, authors that you follow listen or, or listen to like your podcast, for example, and you are indirectly a coach and, or a mentor to a lot of people. So I think it could kind of go into, you know, maybe straddle those two categories.

AP: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, yeah. And thought about it, but yeah, but I just, you know, I look back on my own careers is developing. Individuals is, yeah, I estimated I probably spent 40% of my time. Coaching mentoring individuals, not, not talking about deal specifics, you know, entirely as them. Right. And I know for the people that I learned from that, that’s what I was like.

Cause you know, I had two people yeah. In particular, very, very important early in my career that, that, uh, you know, learn to tongue from. That I’m sure I modeled a lot of, I did even though not different personalities than I am, but modeled a lot of I did after them in my own way. Um, and then customers, I mean, I learned so many lessons from customers who are willing to take the time to basically tell me how to sell to them.

RB: Yeah, it’s the, it’s the, um, it’s the true representation of the quote, the champion that you have in a deal when, when you’ve experienced having a true champion in your deal as a, as a seller, you understand how powerful that is. Someone who’s very candid with you and constructive and, uh, yeah, there’s no question.

You’re going to learn from those people and get even better.

AP: Yeah, it was, it was a, okay. I told the story recently. It does, you know, it’s trying to sell to this one retail chain and as are pretty early in my career and, and the owner and I. Yeah, we, we hit it off and I, again, I have no idea why. I mean, I said I was 22, 23 and look 12. And, um, but you know, it’s interesting as a business to, to me helping them with this decision. But, you know, the order wasn’t coming. And I started getting increasingly antsy about it and, and perhaps forgetting some of the basics. Cause you know, we had had this great personal relationship and finally, one day after I’d gone out to see him, like the dozens time thinking I was gonna get the order and not getting it, he basically told me, he says, you know, problem is you want it too much. It’s like he was holding out on me intentionally the, teach me the lesson.

RB: Wow. Did it stop you in your tracks?

AP: Hell yeah, it was right about that same time I got that quote from tillage. It was like, it was like, Oh, got it. Right. I mean, I’d done everything right. With built the relationship, you know, great connection. And then, yeah, I just got to point around the order so much that I serve stopped asking about him and his family and you know, the human side of it and so on.

And, and, uh, Yeah.

RB: That happens all too often in a lot of different respects where people are just, they’re so wrapped up in themselves, they’re offering their company, their company’s history, that they just completely steer their focus away from their, from their prospects and customers and partners, et cetera. It’s, it’s too bad and you can see it, you know, as you get older and wiser, you see it from afar.

It’s you win a little bit.

AP: Yeah. But at the same time we see that in wince. We also think you and I, since we’ve been there for a long time where I was like, yeah, I don’t want to go back and do that again.

RB: Uh, no, no, thanks.

AP: Nope. Did that been there, done that?

RB: That’s all right. Thank you.

AP: Oh, all right, Ralph. Unfortunately have to cut it off, but, uh, gosh, look, let’s not wait again as long.

RB: Done. Yeah, I could talk to you for hours and would love to reconvene sooner than later.

AP: definitely do that.

RB: Yeah,

AP: So if people want to connect with you talking, they do that.

RB: Sure. Um, best way on LinkedIn it’s uh, Ralph Barsi B a R S I, you could check out the blog is Ralph barsi.com. Uh, Twitter is at our Barsi pretty simple.

AP: Do it, I heard it looks for the Paul Guy. I encourage you to do it. Alright, Ralph, we’ll talk to you soon.

RB: Thanks so much, Andy.

AP: Alright, Alex, are you there?